Housing – guidance

Housing quality indicators

Housing quality indicators measure the quality of housing schemes funded by the Homes and Communities Agency.

The housing quality indicator (HQI) system is a measurement and assessment tool to evaluate housing schemes on the basis of quality rather than just cost. They incorporate the design standards affordable housing providers receiving funding through the 2008 to 2011 National Affordable Housing Programme (NAHP) and 2011 to 2015 Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) are required to meet.

What the indicators measure

There are 10 indicators that measure quality. Each indicator contains a series of questions that are completed by the applicant organisation. These indicators are:

  1. location
  2. site – visual impact, layout and landscaping
  3. site – open space
  4. site – routes and movement
  5. unit – size
  6. unit – layout
  7. unit – noise, light, services and adaptability
  8. unit – accessibility within the unit
  9. unit – sustainability
  10. external environment – Building for Life

It is important that the design of housing takes into account how people want to use their home and the surroundings in which it is placed. For this reason, the indicators look not only at the home and its design in detail (indicators 5 to 9), but also the home’s context and surroundings (indicators 1 to 4 and 10).

Full details of the HQIs are available in the Housing quality indicators form (PDF, 467KB, 68 pages) .

HQI assessments

We will continue to use HQIs to measure the quality of schemes receiving funding through the HCA’s Affordable Homes Programme 2011 to 2015. HQI scores must be submitted at start on site and practical completion stages via our Investment Management System (IMS), alongside the input of other scheme information.

Delivery against the HCA’s affordable housing design standards, measured by HQI scores, will form part of the quarterly contract review meetings with AHP providers.

A full HQI assessment is required to be undertaken prior to funding draw down to help us to evaluate, compare and monitor the quality of housing developed under the AHP (and earlier NAHP).

HQI calculator

We have developed an HQI calculator to help partners complete HQI assessments. The calculator can be used as a stand-alone evaluation tool, and does not require access to IMS.

Please note that the calculator provides an indicative score, is not linked to IMS and does not replace the full HQI system. HQI assessments have to be completed through IMS prior to funding drawdown from the Affordable Homes Programme or earlier programmes.

Current version – for use with all new schemes (first published June 2010)

Housing Quality Indicator calculator (corrected) (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 4.15MB)

The National Archives hold previous versions of the HQI calculator

Please email any queries regarding the calculator to paul.mcgivern@hca.gsi.gov.uk

Using the calculator

Macros must be enabled to allow the spreadsheet to function fully and security settings set to medium or low.

If macros are enabled after values have been entered into boxes where the macro should be triggered it will not have run. To correct this, select another option (eg EcoHomes if you are looking to do a code assessment under the sustainability tab, or “No” for Question 8.3.1 under the accessibility tab) and then reselect the correct option.

There are compatibility issues when using the HQI spreadsheet with Macs. We do not have a specific Mac version and therefore Mac users should access IMS (either as an investment partner or a consultant) and use the primary tool for undertaking HQI assessments in IMS.

HQI online learning tool

We have developed a set of free online learning resources that will help to guide you through the HQI process.

You can use these HQI learning modules as a one off resource, or you can treat it as a user guide that you can keep coming back to help you complete your HQI bid.

HQI online guide: instructions to log in (PDF, 264KB, 2 pages)

There are nine modules:

  1. introduction to HQI
  2. HQIs and the funding process
  3. bidding
  4. the HQI methodology in IMS part 1
  5. the HQI methodology in IMS part 2
  6. the HQI methodology in IMS part 3
  7. storage requirements
  8. approving an HQI project
  9. HQI calculator spreadsheet

The whole resource should take between 60 and 90 minutes to complete, but you can choose to do it in smaller chunks and the system will remember where you got to in each module.

If you are having difficulty accessing or seeing any of these resources please email learnatHCAadmin@hca.gsi.gov.uk for technical help.