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What does the "Built for Life" Commendation mean and how is it awarded?

What does the

Built for Life is a way of assessing the way in which construction companies and developers in England build new housing. Built for Life isn’t just about the houses themselves though, and the idea behind the scheme is to look at all the elements which make up the development including access to local facilities, parking, landscaping and traffic management. The Built for Life mark – which looks like four houses joined together – has quickly come to be regarded as the Gold Standard which proves that a development has been planned to cater for a diverse cross-section of society, and with one eye on the environment.

What is “Built for Life”?

Building for Life is a collaboration between four different organisations – the Design Council, Design for Homes, Home Builders Federation and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE). The campaign was initially launched back in September 2001, and has gone from strength to strength ever since. The Built for Life commendation is supported by the government, and the Housing Minister recently presented awards to the latest developments to be awarded the accreditation. Developers don’t have to build according to Built for Life principles, but there is growing recognition that attractive developments with a good community feel and public areas are much more appealing to homebuyers.

Getting the Commendation

Getting Built for Life commendation is a rigorous process and starts with the developer submitting their approved plans to Built for Life via this website to have them checked over by the BFL team of experts. If the plans are accepted, a case study is then uploaded onto the website with the help of a Built for Life consultant. This gives developers the right to use the mark on their brochures and own website. Many developers use the website and case study as a marketing tool to attract new business.


Developers who are particularly proud of their new housing development plans can ask for their project to be considered for Built for Life awards. All projects will be assessed using a traffic light system against the 12 key benchmarks.  From a developer’s point of view, working towards Built for Life commendation is not expensive, with fees being worked out on a “per house” basis, and being capped at an affordable level.

Why Bother with Commendation?

Planning for large scale developments can be tricky to get for developers, and local Councils are likely to look much more favourably on applications which are sustainably, environmentally aware and cater for a diverse section of the population. Property buyers – whether they are buying a property to live in themselves or to rent out – are also attracted by developments which have a real community feel and which people feel proud to live in. 

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