First move by new boss is to ensure housebuilder meets silver Building for Life criteria across portfolio

Berkeley Group has committed to making all its developments meet an industry-recognised benchmark for sustainability, in the first move by new group managing director Rob Perrins to create a 10-year vision for the company.

From 1 May this year all planning applications submitted by Berkeley will have to achieve the “silver” standard from the Building for Life criteria, run jointly by design quango Cabe and the Home Builders’ Federation.

Now-defunct regeneration quango English Partnerships had previously required developers to meet this standard on its land, but Berkeley is thought to be the first developer to aim to meet the criteria across its entire portfolio.

The move is the first major chance former finance director Perrins has had to stamp his mark on the business after being appointed to take over when founder Tony Pidgley became chair last July.

Perrins said: “As a group we’ve been great believers in creating places as, if we get it right, the right returns will follow. But creating a positive legacy is also the right thing to do.”

The decision was welcomed as encouraging by Cabe and the Homes and Communities Agency. Cabe chief executive Richard Simmons said it was a “shrewd move” that would create “consistently good places”.

Perrins said the move would be followed by a plan called Vision 2020 in the next few months, which was also likely to include commitments to ensure homes were built above minimum environmental standards.

The Building for Life criteria rates developments on 20 criteria based around design, sustainability, public realm and provision of amenities. To reach a silver rating a development must score 14 or more.

Meanwhile, Perrins said Berkeley was in discussions with “at least three” councils over taking on another large estate regeneration scheme. Berkeley Group is already developer for the £1bn regeneration of the Kidbrooke estate in Greenwich and the 4,400-home Woodberry Down estate in Hackney.