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Frequently asked questions

For home buyers

How can I get details of new properties on a Built for Life Development?

From the home page of the website, select the new housing development in which you are interested.  At the top of the scheme page is a tab marked 'Send an Enquiry'.  If you click on this tab, a window will open containing a form with which you can send your details to the HomeBuilder. Let them know what you are looking for and they will contact you wth more details.

Is Built for Life a government funded scheme?

Building for Life is an independent initiative, created within the home building industry to promote improved standards within the industry.  It was developed by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), with partners the Home Builders Federation, the Civic Trust and Design for Homes.

For more details on the history of Building for Life see this Wikipedia article

Why should I consider buying a home on a Built for Life commended development?

If a new housing development is awarded a Built for Life commendation, the HomeBuilder will have had to meet 12 stringent conditions, ranging from integration with the local community infrastructure, to use of local design elements, and provision of adequate parking, and local amenities. Simply put, a Built for Life home should offer a higher quality of Life and be a better long term investment.

For communities

How does Built for Life affect existing communities?

Most people do not like change, and a new housing development in your area can be a cause for concern.  Will the development be unsympathetic to local the local area, or will it overstretch local facilities, and will there be any new homes for local people?

Building for life is an initiative by the housing industry which attempts to address these concerns, by setting standards which developers have to meet in order to achieve planning approval. As such it has been adopted by many local authorities for planning approval.

Homebuilders have to show that they are integrating with the local community, via existing road and public transport links.  They have to provide local amenities, including car parking spaces, within the scheme, and provide a mix of property types including homes suitable for local people.

You can find out more about your local Built for Life housing development and how it meets the Building for Life 12 criteria on this website.

In short, a Built for Life commended housing scheme aims to be a better neighbour.

For homebuilders

What does the application process involve?

Applications are a two step process. The first step is to register on this site and send a small amount of information by posting it online. This will be assessed for its potential and an applicant will then be invited or not to present in person to a local Built for Life™ forum for independent, expert assessment. Where successful, the applicant will then be sent details of how to build their case study, as well as a suite of materials for use in marketing the development.

For the initial online submission, we require your contact details, the scheme's planning application reference number, postcode or Ordnance Survey location, links to any marketing website, and some diagrams and information commonly found in a Design and Access statement. This includes a layout map/masterplan (scaled, ideally to 1:250) showing proposed buildings, streets, open spaces and landscaping; a site context map and access routes; and elevations or other indicative examples of its appearance. Creating a user account on this website and uploading this basic information about your scheme should take about 15 minutes. The website is designed to handle a variety of image formats and does not require any advanced IT skills.

What happens after the online application?

The information submitted will allow the Building for Life partnership to identify whether your scheme is likely to achieve accreditation – typically only 1 in 4 of all schemes across the country will so there is some risk here and that is why we do not want anyone to spend hours filling in forms – we’ll advise you whether additional work is needed.

Once you have identified who you are and what you want assessed, we shall be able to link you to the nearest Built for Life™ forum and its next assessment dates and submission deadlines. At this stage, you must submit additional materials from the Design and Access Statement via a Dropbox, at least 20 working days before the Forum meets. It is highly recommended to structure the submission against the 12 Built for Life™ questions and provide as much information about the development and its wider context – including topography, local planning policies, site schedules, CAD models, renderings and photographs where available.

How is the assessment conducted?

Members of the forum will then consider your scheme and assess it. There are likely to be areas they don’t understand or perhaps are not comfortable with and because designs are often driven by constraints of all kinds, they will ask you to come to the forum to explain particular aspects of your scheme. Because this may mean you need to find out such information, or perhaps you will need to bring a specialist consultant to explain their reasoning, you will be sent details of any areas for particular attention at the forum at least 10 working days before it takes place.

Forums are managed by regional partners of the Design Network and comprise two or more independent experts with urban design, architecture, planning, highways engineering and/or landscape expertise. They convene 6 times a year and will typically offer three assessment slots at each meet, each of an hour, where you can present your scheme against the BFL questions in detail. At the end of the hour-long forum, you will be advised by the forum Chair of whether or not you have achieved Built for Life™ accreditation there and then and what level of accreditation you have achieved.

What will it cost?









































How BfL12 is used

BfL12 can be used as a framework for any design support conversation in procuring services. 

BfL12 can be the framework for design reviews, workshops and place analysis  on how to improve proposals through the planning system.

We can use the BfL12 questions as a framework to ensure better quality outcomes.

The BfL12 framework can be used to assess a scheme once planning is granted (after full/reserved matters).

BfL12 is used on completed schemes for post-build evaluation.

BfL12 used as the template for submission to Design for Homes.


Review of a site to highlight key design requirements for the development brief. 















2 panel members 

Design Review to advise on quality of emerging proposals.




Engagement with Homes England, the LPA, Highways, etc. 




Site visit






3 or 4 panel members 

If an earlier Design Review has been held, then a follow-on session will highlight the quality and acceptability of proposals.











1 or 2 panel members

BfL12 validation of the final approved scheme.
















1 or 2 panel members

BfL12 assessment of the final approved scheme.




Engagement with LPA and developer 





Site visit






2 panel members 


Indicative costs*


£2,250.00 to £3,500.00

£2,250.00 to £3,500.00





The Quality Mark and promotion of the scheme is a chargeable service. The Built for Life™ licence fee is separate and is charged at a rate for each home - 0.0002% - or £30 on a £150,000 home, with a cap on the upper limit chargeable of £3000 per development.

*Costs are determined according to site size and sensitivity. Fees are reduced if a returning scheme, or reductions are given if more than one scheme is being considered. 

My scheme is accredited – what next?

Return to and follow these three easy steps:

  1. Upload your ‘Statement of Accreditation’ letter from the Built for Life™ panel
  2. Build a case study of your development
  3. Pay the required licence fee (TBC).

You will soon receive your licence, Built for Life™ marketing artwork and usage guidelines.