The quality of new local authority housing in Aberdeen is set to be among the best in Scotland after councillors agreed to adopt the building industry’s gold standard.
The design specification requires energy efficient technologies that make homes greener and cheaper to run; enhanced sound insulation; increased natural light; improved security; dedicated space for working or study; and storage for an electric wheelchair, pram or bicycle.
The council has agreed the new standard as part of an ongoing programme to deliver 2,000 additional council homes in conjunction with developers - its biggest building programme for more than half a century.
Council co-leader Douglas Lumsden said: “Adopting the gold standard means our future housing stock will help meet the aspirations for people, the place and the economy spelled out in the city’s Local Outcome Improvement Plan.
“We want to deliver homes that support the physical and mental wellbeing of our tenants by satisfying their current and future needs, helping them become more self-sufficient in the long term.
“Once again Aberdeen City Council is leading from the front – investing in social infrastructure to create sustainable integrated neighbourhoods that will be among the finest in Scotland.”
The council says its ambitious council housebuilding programme is being regularly reviewed to determine the changing legislative and building standard landscape within Scotland and the UK to ensure that future housing delivers against emerging standards.
A series of workshops were held last year with key stakeholders, including the NHS and the University of Aberdeen, to help determine how Aberdeen could future-proof housing to achieve sustainable living goals.
The new standard will be promoted to the marketplace and shared with contractors bidding for work. The council will also ask for quality external environments, the current fastest internet access, and electric charging points.
The council also agreed that where the gold standard cannot be achieved within a specific development site, the silver standard must be delivered as a minimum.
Aberdeen’s adoption of the gold standard comes amidst a growing consensus of the importance of building new high quality council housing in the new decade ahead, recognised last year when a Norwich council estate made history by being named as the UK’s best new building - the first social housing project to win the prestigious RIBA Stirling Prize in the award’s 23-year history.