Great Britain’s Green Building Standard: Building for Life

Last Updated:
Mon, 2012-10-29 14:39

The UK Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) strives for sustainable building practices. The group has established a Building for Life initiative, which measures the quality of housing on a 20-point scale. The Building for Life criteria is comprised of 20 questions ranging on the following topics: Environment and Community; Character; Streets, Parking, and Pedestrianisation; and Design and Construction.


Environment and Community

1. Does the development provide (or is it close to) community facilities, such as a school, parks, play areas, shops, pubs, or cafes?
2. Is there an accommodation mix that reflects the needs and aspirations of the local community?
3. Is there a tenure mix that reflects the needs of the local community?
4. Does the development have easy access to public transportation?
5. Does the development have any features that reduce its environmental impact?



6. Is the design specific to the scheme?
7. Does the scheme exploit existing buildings, landscape or topography?
8. Does the scheme feel like a place with distinctive character?
9. Do the buildings and layout make it easy to find your way around?
10. Are streets defined by a well-structured building layout?


Streets, Parking, and Pedestrianisation

11. Does the building layout take priority over the streets and car parking, so that the highways do not dominate?
12. Is the car parking well integrated and situated so it supports the street scene?
13. Are the streets pedestrian, cycle and vehicle friendly?
14. Does the scheme integrate with existing streets, paths and surrounding development?
15. Are public spaces and pedestrian routes overlooked and do they feel safe?


Design and Construction

16. Is public space well designed and does it have suitable management arrangements in place?
17. Do the buildings exhibit architectural quality?
18. Do internal spaces and layout allow for adaptation, conversion or extension?
19. Has the scheme made use of advances in construction or technology that enhance its performance, quality and attractiveness?
20. Do buildings or spaces outperform statutory minima, such as building regulations?


The Building for Life standard is the national benchmark for well-designed housing and neighborhoods in England. The criteria embody Building for Life’s vision of what housing should be: functional, attractive, and sustainable.


Accordia Living, see previous post, earned a rating of 18, the highest rating yet.


Visit the Building for Life web site to learn more.