A guide to design & quality terminology

There are certain build standards and terms that are frequently mentioned regarding mhs homes' new build developments. What do they mean?

In order for the new build schemes to comply with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), mhs homes needs to meet certain quality and design standards including;

  • Building for Life
  • Code for Sustainable Homes
  • Secured by Design
  • Lifetime Homes

Building for Life is a core performance standard for design and quality in social housing. mhs homes use the Building for Life criteria to demonstrate to our funders that the development has been well designed and planned. Twenty criteria are addressed through the design of our properties. Concentrating on the environment, community, character, streets, parking, pedestrianisation and overall design and construction of the development.

The Code for Sustainable Homes is the national standard for the sustainable design and construction of new homes. The Code aims to reduce our carbon emissions and create homes that are more sustainable with reduced fuel bills for our residents.

The Code measures the sustainability of a new home against nine categories of sustainable design, rating the 'whole home' as a complete package. The Code uses a one to six star rating system to communicate the overall sustainability performance of a new home.

Secured by Design is the official UK Police initiative supporting the principles of 'designing out crime'.

Secured by Design focuses on crime prevention at the design, layout and construction stages of homes and commercial premises and promotes the use of security standards for a wide range of applications and products.

The concept of Lifetime Homes isto allow older people and individuals with physical impairments to live in their homes for longer, reduce the need for home adaptations and give greater choice to disabled adults and young people who cannot achieve independent living due to a lack of suitable housing. There are a total of 16 design criteria.  

To view the full criteria and further details please click on the following links:






mhs homes Design Guide

Angela Lemon and Caroline Proverbsmhs homes is proud to share our Design Guide which sets out our ethos on design, sustainability and security for new build developments.

mhs homes wish to lead by example on new build design ensuring that the quality of life of our residents and those living in our neighbourhoods really is at the heart of what we do.

The purpose of this design guide is to establish a minimum, jargon free set of standards and requirements for our architects, consultants and contractors who work with us on new build schemes. The standards laid out in the Design Guide surpass that of building regulations which emphasises mhs homes commitment to high quality schemes.

We have worked in collaboration with Calford Seaden LLP on this document and we have consulted extensively with staff, existing residents and Medway Council.

Angela Lemon, Partner of Calford Seaden and Caroline Proverbs, mhs homes Operations Director are picture above launching the Design Guide on site at the Ash Tree Lane development in Chatham.

Download a copy of the Design Guide (PDF 3300 KB).