There are tools available to us to help meet our own aspirational targets and ensure our buildings are properly accredited to approved ‘measurable’ standards. For instance, the long awaited BREEAM non-domestic refurbishment scheme was published in October 2014. This new tool assesses the environmental impact of refurbishing or fitting out existing commercial buildings. Neelum Mohammed reports …
In order to provide flexibility and accommodate the wide range of projects that might be carried out in existing buildings, the scheme is based on a modular set of criteria which can be selected to match the scope of works being carried out. These criteria include:
- fabric and structure
- core services
- local services
- interior design.
This approach allows the BREEAM assessment to reflect the specific aspects of a building that are the respective responsibilities of a developer, the landlord or any tenant, as well as accounting for the varied life expectancy of each component of the building. Interior finishes, for example, are typically replaced on a 5-10 year cycle; the fabric and structure may only be upgraded every 60 years or even longer.
The scope of the project will determine which parts of the scheme can be assessed. The modular basis offers a more sophisticated assessment, focused on what improved performance can be achieved within a defined scope of work. It creates more achievable sustainability goals.
To obtain an accreditation under the scheme, even though the assessment will be based on the relevant parts of the building alone, minimum standards of performance still have to be achieved. The overall BREEAM rating from Pass to Outstanding has not been changed from the new building benchmarks but the environmental ratings of each BREEAM target do differ in each module. This new tool allows landlords and tenants to work together to agree appropriate strategies for setting common sustainability goals. It also opens up the opportunity to consult with employees to understand what they expect from an internal environment that is stimulating and motivating to work in. This approach can also help asset managers focus on maintaining asset value, as well as helping with the preparation of tenant fitting out guides and giving a clear distinction between landlord and tenant responsibility.
This flexible tool enables the stakeholders in any building to influence sustainable performance in a coordinated way. It is a step in the right direction to showcase sustainable performance as a key differentiator in an ever-increasing competitive real estate market.
Neelum Mohammed is a Senior Sustainability Consultant within CBRE’s Building Consultancy and Planning department. She has strong sustainability expertise and experience in developing achievable solutions that meet and extend clients’ aspirations. Neelum works across a wide variety of projects in the UK with a focus on embedding sustainability principles throughout the lifecycle of a development, including the provision of BREEAM consultancy services and the delivery of BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes assessments.