It’s now commonplace across the construction industry to make new-built houses as energy efficient as possible, with highly specified glazing, high levels of insulation and low air permeability rates all combining to reduce the emissions released by our homes.  However, gas heating is still the preferred option for most house builders, be they individuals or large-scale developers. As we reduce our reliance on fossil fuels in other areas, heating for our homes is lagging behind.

Well, what a drop! You’d be forgiven for thinking that a Brexit-busy government wouldn’t have time for a building regulations update like the Future Homes Standard released this month – but it looks like they’ve taken some very substantial steps to solve some of the system’s current problems.  

Let’s analyse together the most significant update to Building Regulations L and F (still in consultation, technically) since 2006.

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 embodied impacts 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.