Home Quality Mark One (HQM One) is the Building Research Establishment’s new benchmarking standard for sustainability and quality.
The Cardiff Interchange, owned by Legal & General, is a 500,000 sq ft development with 12 storeys of offices, 318 flats for private rent, and a bus station beneath. ISG, which has an £89m contract, is expected to complete construction the end of 2022.
It is not only the first project in the world to be certified under HQM One at design stage but is also the first development in Wales to gain any HQM certification.
Building on BRE’s HQM Beta, HQM One places an increased focus on improving a building’s quality, design and energy efficiency. The HQM One assessment is a two-stage process. The initial design stage, which the Cardiff Interchange has passed, makes sure that opportunities to improve the performance of the homes are identified before construction. This could include improvements to energy and water efficiency, better integration with local transport options or tackling indoor air pollution. The second stage, which is when the final certification is granted, assures whether those opportunities have been put into practice during construction.
This final certification is awarded when the dwelling has been independently verified by third-party assessors, using a star rating to assess the development on factors such as how it enables low running maintenance costs, how it supports the health, wellbeing and comfort of occupants, and its overall environmental footprint.
BRE chief executive Gillian Charlesworth said: “Making buildings fit for the future is central to the work we do at BRE and it is fantastic that an exciting new project like the Cardiff Interchange, which will provide homes for hundreds of people, has become the first building to achieve an HQM One certification at design stage.”