Moving away from energy as the badge for building performance
As great as it is to have standards such as BREAM to signal an Excellent or Good design it is really just that – a design.
A challenge faced by all occupiers is that until a building is occupied the question around if it will operate as designed remains unknown. Therefore, as an industry our challenge has to be to establish the ability to ‘continually commission buildings’ and attribute post-occupancy value in more than energy terms. This should in no way conflict with the larger goals of environmental sustainability but, rather aim for a more measured approach to building performance. We need to create greater visibility and clearer building performance metrics to enable occupiers to make more informed decisions about their working environments, while also broadening the image of building performance.
When thinking about change taking an external perspective and learning from other industries can help guide and accelerate change. The car industry makes a highly technical and confusing issue relatively simple (if you overlook the recent emissions manipulation). When buying a car most individuals look at simple metrics like 0-60mph, MPG and Euro NCAP safety standards help make more informed decisions. However, we have nothing similar to allow similar comparison for occupiers in terms of how a building’s performance benefits an occupier’s health, wellbeing and productivity. I believe that should we be able to provide similarly transparent metrics on performance, those buildings consistently delivering against a broader building performance profile, would increase in value to both owners and occupiers.
Obviously, and quite rightly, sustainability will be one of those measures but, I would like to see air quality, light, temperature and noise included in new measures for buildings, all of which can impact health, wellbeing and productivity. The benefit of this approach is that we can move away from a new build bias on smart technology. A tiny fraction of UK Real Estate consists of brand new buildings designed to include the latest BMS and smart building technology. Therefore, the opportunity is surely in the secondary market where using the new measures we establish a standard for operating buildings post-occupancy. In fact, multi-occupancy or 2nd, 3rd or even 4th generation of tenants/ occupiers that move into a building can then benefit from this way of operating buildings.
Mark Tyson, Head of Property and Facilities Management - Capita
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