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Our sustainable building standards

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This consultation has closed. The Welsh Government response is now available.
Building Regulations set standards for design and construction which apply to most new buildings and many alterations to existing buildings.
The Welsh Government provides a range of grant schemes to deliver our policies and create a fairer, more prosperous Wales.

Sustainability is central to all our policies, strategies, activities, programmes, projects and services.

We want to secure the highest levels and fairest distribution of economic, social and environmental wellbeing for the people of Wales.

Sustainable Building Standards

We ensure that the support we offer and investment decisions we make on providing infrastructure give long term sustainable solutions.  

We require all new buildings promoted or supported by us or our Sponsored Bodies (SBs) meet our sustainable building standards, with some exceptions. This includes projects procured directly and indirectly.

These standards are:

  • For residential development, a minimum Code for Sustainable Homes level 3; 
  • For non-residential development, with some exceptions for smaller buildings, Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) excellent or an equivalent quality assured scheme; and
  • In all new buildings at least 10% of the total value of materials used should be recycled or reused materials or products.

For extensions, alterations or refurbishment, the above are not required, but we require an energy efficient solution.

What types of buildings does this include?

The types of buildings include:

  • buildings we directly fund;
  • buildings by local authorities, public sector, voluntary sector and SB’s funded by one of our specific capital programmes, such as affordable housing, schools, further and higher education, hospitals and other public buildings;
  • buildings on developments where we enter into a joint venture agreement with partners or developers, including the public, private or voluntary sectors;
  • buildings on land for sale, or lease or to be disposed of for development by us;
  • buildings on land we improve or reclaim or through SB funding that is still subject to financial clawback; and
  • Buildings constructed by the private and voluntary sector, other organisations or individuals, under our funding schemes "and programmes",

Design standards

Welsh Housing Quality Standard

We believe that everyone in Wales should have the opportunity to live in a good quality home within a safe and secure community. To help achieve this we published the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS). This standard requires all social landlords to improve their homes to an acceptable level.

21st Century Schools

We are working with the Welsh Local Government Association and local authorities on the 21st Century Schools Programme. It is a major, long-term  capital investment programme. It aims to create 21st century schools in Wales.

Visit: 21st Century Schools Programme (external link)

Sustainable Schools Wales

As part of the 21st Century Schools Standard for Schools in Wales an online guide has been developed to help with understanding and applying sustainable design in school design and refurbishment.

Visit: Sustainable design in schools (external link)


We are keen to modernise the NHS Estate in Wales. It is a key to improving the delivery of healthcare services for the people of Wales. The modernisation of the estate will require the procurement of high quality facilities, appropriate to the current and future.

Visit: NHS Wales: Design (external link)