Insurance Post

Frustration over development code

The insurance industry's trade body has voiced its frustration at the government's failure to take a...

The insurance industry's trade body has voiced its frustration at the government's failure to take account of climate change in its proposed code for sustainable development, and conceded that convincing officials to do so represents one of its "biggest challenges this year".

The Association of British Insurers' head of household and property, Jane Milne, told Post Magazine: "When this code was first talked about two years ago, Environment Agency chairman Sir John Harman was put in charge of coming up with some principles for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister regarding the sustainability of buildings.

"We worked hard to get people to think about the importance of how sustainable buildings are when weather impacts on them, as well as the buildings' impact on the environment. We felt that Mr Harman understood where we were coming from so, although the bias was on factors such as energy efficiency and the use of renewable materials, this issue would be addressed."

However, when the proposed code was published for consultation on 5 December, it categorically failed to address the problem. "Apparently there is a reference to resilience in one of the annexes, buried at the back," Ms Milne quipped. "To that extent, this document makes no advances on the voluntary codes that are already out there. So the question is: why has it taken two full years not to get anywhere on this?"

In the ABI's formal response - due to be filed with the ODPM by 6 March - it plans to provide as much evidence-based research as possible to push its case and, where no statistics exist, ask pertinent questions.

The ABI is also working with the Building Research Establishment on a standard known as LPS 2020, which it is trying to develop for modern methods of construction, Ms Milne revealed: "We are talking to them about the need for greater resilience in these methods and materials. For example, if you have a building system with lots of external cladding, what happens if high winds rip all this off?"

For full interview, see pp22-23.

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