RPS BREEAM Goes from Strength to Strength

27.08.10

In January, members of the BREEAM team from RPS’ Brighton office launched the BREEZE through BREEAM Guide for Planners and Design Teams. The response was tremendous and generated many requests for copies of the brochure. Architects were particularly interested and often act as key BREEAM business contacts leading to numerous opportunities to bid. The campaign has led directly to the provision of numerous fee proposals including four healthcare projects in Wales and completion of a predictive assessment for the West Cardiff Community Mental Health Team Centre. The formal assessment is anticipated to be progressed in the near future.

Since 1 July 2008, all health authorities in the UK (Department of Health, Welsh Health Estates, Health Facilities Scotland and the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety) require that healthcare buildings seeking Outline of Business Case (OBC) approval commit to achieving an Excellent rating and all refurbishments commit to achieving a Very Good rating.

In March and April 2010, an offer to receive a free copy of the BREEZE Guide was sent to approximately 400 companies in the South East across a broad range of service disciplines and ranging from smaller, very specialised businesses such as architectural practices to large commercial groups such as supermarkets. A high level of responses was received requesting the guide and warm leads are being pursued. From those with whom we followed up the response was very favourable, citing how useful it was to have the basics explained by an assessor in an accessible format which focused on the stages of assessment and top tips for achieving a certificate.

In April RPS also achieved a ‘Very Good’ Certificate at the Design Stage for Safestore’s new development in Barking and Dagenham. RPS has been working with Safestore on this project since 2008 and is due to begin work on the Post Construction review soon. Each project is different so the potential mix of credits applicable to the scheme will be scoped at the predictive stage and then analysed in order to aim to maintain the achievement of the 'Very Good' standard for future projects. Further work has also been secured through the mechanical engineers for Safestore: the Jones Partnership, to work on a mixed-use refurbishment project in central Camden providing office accommodation for a local charity and student accommodation over four floors.

In May 2009 RPS reported achievement of a ‘Very Good’ Design stage certificate for a new-build workshop and showroom in Braintree for Ernest Doe & Sons, a supplier of construction and agricultural machinery and parts. We are pleased to announce that the rating has been confirmed by the successful completion of the Post Construction Review by RPS which completes the certification process.

Efforts are being sustained to create a core repository of BREEAM experience within RPS which all assessors can call on. Options are also being examined for expanding the information available about BREEAM on the external RPS website.

The RPS BREEAM license is coordinated by Charlotte Brewin in RPS’ Oxford office. Charlotte says “The requests for BREEAM services are increasing all the time. We have developed a core group of BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes Assessors across RPS to provide the necessary skills and experience required to advise developers and complete assessments, which is proving to be very successful.”