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New report reveals majority of housing providers are not prepared for Future Homes Standard

With less than 18 months from full implementation, more than two-thirds of decision makers in the housing market are not prepared for the Future Homes Standard (FHS), according to a new survey by REHAU.

In its latest market readiness report, Future Homes Standard: Preparing UK Housing for 2025, leading polymer window profiles manufacturer REHAU has revealed just over half of respondents are ‘somewhat prepared’ against the FHS timeframe.

Compliance with the Future Homes Standard is mandatory from 2025. However, REHAU’s survey of 200 decision makers for building products in local authorities, housing associations social housing and housebuilding also found that 79% said it was going to be ‘somewhat challenging’ or ‘very challenging’ to meet the FHS timeline.

To help housing providers, REHAU is committed to raising awareness about how PVCu door and window frames can help address the challenges of being ready for the FHS. This is especially important as no respondents to REHAU’s survey were aware of a window system capable of meeting the 0.85 W/m2K U-value standard required under the upcoming legislation, with 65% saying ‘no’ and 35% saying they were ‘unsure’.

Martin Hitchin, CEO at REHAU UK, comments: “Reaching a point where all new homes produce between 75%-80% less carbon emissions than previous standards is a huge challenge, though clearly necessary if the UK is to have any chance of achieving net zero by 2050 – a target that is now legally binding. The UK’s position is also concerning because the FHS comes into force in less than two years.

To date, discussion has understandably been dominated by the new build market, but there’s a need for the housing industry to consider how existing properties can be improved. There is a huge amount of legacy building stock that will remain occupied for the foreseeable future, especially by social housing providers. The feasibility of net zero rests in part on addressing the retrofit challenge.

On top of the shortening timescales, our report also shows that there is an overriding lack of awareness in the market. No one knew of a window system offering a FHS U-value of 0.85 W/m²K. However, these U-values can be achieved with the right design and specification. REHAU, for example, can deliver exceptional thermal performance without compromising on design or finish.

To help housing providers get ahead, Martin advises that research, a reliable supply chain, and collaboration with manufacturers like REHAU, is key. He also warns that just because windows are labelled as ‘high-performance’, they still may not meet the full FHS requirements.

“Researching the current market to establish a reliable supply chain for the products you’ll need for a typical development is more important than ever before,“ said Martin. “It’s important to collate information and certification from manufacturers like REHAU – which already has several products ahead of the regulatory curve.

“Something we see a lot is supposedly ‘high-performance windows’ failing to meet the requirements set out in the FHS. There are several reasons why high-performance windows that are compliant on paper might fail. Poor surveys that overlook the building structure and removal of existing frames is one area that could lead to errors. It’s important to work with suppliers to help overcome these issues.”

To read REHAU’s report, Future Homes Standard: Preparing UK housing for 2025, click here.