I want to talk about materials and life cycle assessments (LCA). I’m not a specialist in the area, but I am a sustainability professional, and for me this is an area where we (as the construction industry) can have a huge impact for the better.

The impact of a building in operation is broadly understood by a building owner. They have to pay the water bill, the gas bill, and the electric bill, and so they can see the consumption uses of the building first-hand. But what about the embodiedimpacts of the building? 

Our Mission Statement, Our Values, and Where We Can Improve

Imagine you’re reviewing a number of businesses to decide which one to choose. What’s more important to you: the cost, or the service?

Some might say ‘buy cheap, pay twice’ - and others might prefer the cheapest on the market so that money can be reserved for other things.

Some may feel that high service levels should always come as standard, while others may feel that high service levels come at too much of a price premium.

Whenever a new BREEAM technical manual is introduced, we can be sure it will seek to keep the rating scales of the assessment process relevant, close the performance gap and try to push the industry to be more innovative, sustainable and productive. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that every new version of the manual will introduce a number of new requirements. Often, developers, architects and contractors in the construction industry can design and price new projects based on details from the last successful project; however, if there’s been any recent change in building regulations or sustainability criteria this can prove to be a risky approach. When a new BREEAM technical manual is released, therefore, it’s vital to identify and understand new requirements quickly, in order for the project to run smoothly. 


A more accurate, real-world design informs the updates to SAP calculations.

As we know, SAP calculations are a vital part of building regulation compliance in the UK, and measure the planned energy performance of a new dwelling. Usually updated once every four years, the new SAP 10 won’t be in use until Part L regulations are next updated (likely 2019 or 2020). 

SAP 10 has been released, allowing everyone to review the changes that will be implemented when the building regulations are next updated. However, these changes seem unlikely to come into play until 2019 or possibly 2020. The changes included in SAP 10 have been introduced to better ensure that SAP calculations - and their respective EPCs - more accurately reflect the as-built performance of a dwelling.

A summary of the most important changes to understand are outlined below: