Wellbeing

Sustainable buildings: climate adaptation and whole life costing

As investors and occupiers place sustainability outcomes higher on their strategic priorities, TFT advice is helping project teams align their sustainable and commercial agendas. Here, we talk about climate change adaptation and whole life costing – two topics which directly marry up commercial and the sustainable concerns.

There are many opportunities to contribute to more sustainable outcomes across the building life-cycle, and to prove the commercial benefits of doing so. TFT Sustainability Associate, Oliver Morris, spoke at the RICS conference on this topic, drawing on TFT’s experience in project teams and as client advisers for building investors and occupiers alike.

Looking for an introduction to aligning commercial and sustainable outcomes? This article explains the importance of long-term thinking and TFT’s approach to design for performance, here.

In this article, we’ll discuss two issues which affect the whole project team and directly impact building longevity and value.

Climate change adaptation

One of the most acute risks to sustainable building performance for investors and building owners is the impact of extreme weather patterns.

The obvious impacts can include physical damage from wind, rain and flooding. But more extreme seasonal temperatures could negatively impact thermal comfort, or increase HVAC use to keep occupants comfortable through the year, which means more frequent plant maintenance or replacement.

Mitigating these risks means designing and building with future weather and climate projections in mind. The most adaptable and durable buildings will maintain their physical integrity and the comfort and wellbeing of its users – adding up to a better-performing asset in the long term.

Whole life cost analysis

In following a strategy for in-use performance, and factoring in the risks of climate change on a building’s future, whole-life costing analysis can help identify the value of building materials in terms of their contribution to a more useful lifespan.

Whole Life Costing allows us to understand the full picture of a building’s requirements across its lifecycle. It provides a commercial basis for improving specification and justifying sustainable materials or systems which improve the financial outlook across a building’s life.

By providing more transparency of potential costs through a building’s life cycle can give investors, development and asset managers more confidence in moving towards business ‘as unusual’ and realising the economic benefits of embedding sustainability as a core design principle. With the increasing Net Zero Carbon agenda within the industry undertaking Whole Life Costing with Whole Life Carbon (Confusingly the same acronym) assessments can highlight the relationship between reducing a building’s operational and embodied carbon emissions with operational costs.

These areas impact all aspects of the building lifecycle, and we at TFT have the scope to identify the opportunities and drive collective responsibility for acting on them. Challenging project teams and other stakeholders to move away from business as usual will be crucial to help us all advance better buildings for the future – and not a moment too soon.

Would you like more information on any of the subjects discussed in this article? Contact Mat Lown, TFT Partner and Head of Sustainability.

The latest WELL Health-Safety Rating: what you need to know

The International Well Building Institute (IWBI) has published the new WELL Health-Safety Rating. This certification is recommended by TFT as a tool to prepare workplaces and other facilities for use in a post-COVID-19 environment thanks to its specific and practical guidance, which can help build trust among building users and visitors as we transition to increased building usage and seek to mitigate future risks.

TFT is embedding these principals and the interim guidance, published by the IWBI in May 2020, for our offices and in best practice guides for our clients. Our teams are here to help occupier organisations and building owners understand the certification and provide a higher standard of well-being by applying it.

What is the WELL Health-Safety Rating?

WELL Health-Safety Rating: an evidence based and third-party verified rating for all new and existing buildings

The WELL Health-Safety Rating is an evidence based and third-party verified rating for all new and existing building and facility types. The rating focuses on operational policies, maintenance protocols, occupant engagement and emergency plans across six themes, including:

  • Sanitising Procedures
  • Emergency Preparedness Programs
  • Health Service Resources
  • Air & Water Quality Management
  • Stakeholder Engagement & Communication
  • Innovation

The full set of requirements are now available on wellcertified.com.

Get in touch with our team to find out how those apply to your organisation or building.

Does the WELL Health-Safety Rating deal with COVID-19 risks?

The IWBI is clear that the latest certification doesn’t make an organisation or building COVID-proof. However, it was developed in response to the pandemic and details interventions at a building and organisation scale which help reduce the risk of infectious diseases transmission. Furthermore, the strategies it contains apply to numerous health and safety issues relevant today and in the future.

What types of building can attain the WELL Health-Safety Rating?

The rating applies to any type of building, as well as any type of single-use or single-owner space within a building. Multi-use spaces such as stadiums, airports and shopping malls can also be certified by the same themes, but the application would take a different form due to differing requirements for the various uses of the space.

WELL Health-Safety rating applies to all building types, including office, restaurant, hospitality, education, retail and industrial sectors

Will it help me achieve a full WELL certification for my building?

Yes! While the Health-Safety Rating is a certification in its own right, and achieving it is a significant step for an organisation’s well-being journey, it will also support an application to become fully WELL-certified.

Given that it deals with a very immediate concern for employees and other building users, embarking on this process is timely and a good future-proofing step for your building or organisation.

Do you have other questions about the latest rating from WELL? Get in touch to learn how it could help you progress your organisation’s well-being journey.

TFT at BCO Conference 2019

BCO Conference 2019 will be held in Copenhagen

The British Council for Offices (BCO) kicks off its annual conference next week (June 5-7) in Copenhagen. We at TFT are proud to support the event and to join its focus on the theme of arbejdsglæde, the Danish word and principle of ‘joy at work’.

Employers are increasingly diversifying their workplaces to represent their culture and to help occupants feel more ‘at home’ while at work. But the built environment can do more to improve the joy and wellbeing of occupants of offices and other kinds of spaces, by improving how we create, manage and inhabit buildings.

Three TFT partners attending the BCO Conference share some of the issues they’ll be interested to discuss in Copenhagen, when it comes to creating and maintaining the office of the future:

Alistair Allison: customer experience becomes building performance

As a recent judging chair for the BCO’s Southern Awards, it’s fantastic to see a more confident marketplace emerging which puts all the familiar buzzwords we’re used to hearing about, at the heart of a client brief. The outcome is attributes like sustainability, wellbeing, flexible working and so on aren’t just for marketing messages, but built in to the office from the outset.

I expect to see this become more mainstream as customer experience becomes widely adopted as a defining criteria for building performance. What could that look like? To start with, a more consultative process where building owner and occupants define these performance metrics together, to make sure the ‘lived-in’ space is well tailored to those who use it.

In our ongoing work for 400 & 450 Longwater Avenue, this speculative development is deliberately designed for flexibility to serve a diverse set of occupier needs, including close working with the building management team to ensure that the building would perform as required for different kinds of occupiers through its life.

Mat Lown: linking better buildings with social value

What would a ‘better workplace’ contribute to the city’s wider agenda? BCO’s 2019 venue in Copenhagen recognises the relationship between buildings, the urban ecosystem and our cultural/social needs – in that spirit, I want to explore the social value buildings can bring not only to their occupants but their neighbours too.

Where to start? Taking a Danish cue, offices can do more to support sustainable transport infrastructure with the appropriate facilities in-house for changing, storage, equipment maintenance and so on, all of which make it easier for travellers to choose to cycle, for instance, rather than get the train or drive.

Otherwise, stimulating greater biodiversity inside and out, understanding that we feel more relaxed and happier with natural greenery around us. Offices in particular could also contribute directly to the city’s clean energy credentials fairly simply, with photo-voltaic panels on a roof supplementing the building’s energy use or even feeding power to the grid.

There are many more opportunities besides – realising them is less a question of building type or function than the priorities of its owner for long-term wellbeing of occupier and local community alike.

Dan Henn: realising sustainable value in legacy buildings

It’s tempting to think that the greatest opportunities for better buildings lie in new development, where we can start from scratch and implement best practice from the outset. But repurposing and refurbishing existing buildings is for many cities a more sustainable means of meeting the needs of modern businesses and the talent they rely on.

There are efficiencies and savings to be found and more scope for alteration than many might believe. Our work on the likes of Wellington House and Pinnacle House in London highlight the scope to grow an existing space and upgrade a building for a better occupier experience. The considerations to do so run the gamut from engineering challenges, conservation and keeping the surrounding area (including businesses and residential communities) running as normal.

Finding the right project management skillset is crucial to navigate these challenges, where collaborative and attentive specialists can make sure the office spaces of the future find a productive home in legacy buildings.

Sustainability and wellbeing standards re-aligned: WELL Crosswalks

The International Well Building Institute (IWBI) has released an update to the WELL crosswalk tool following the release of WELL version 2. The update aims to make this certification more accessible, impactful and better localised to its users around the world, by aligning WELL with sustainability assessments like BREEAM and LEED.

The latest release enables WELL version 2, as a standard for human health and wellbeing, to mesh with the most updated version BREEAM 2018, the leading sustainability assessment in the world – on which we advise many clients’ strategy and implementation across their schemes.

There are few synergies as connected and complementary as sustainability for both our planet and for people everywhere. Longevity is at the heart of the term “sustainability” – preserving and enhancing what we have now for generations to come.

From IWBI’s introduction to their latest WELL v2/ BREEAM crosswalk tool

But what impact does this have on our work, and for client projects?

Simply, the crosswalk tool insures that WELL version 2 and BREEAM New Construction 2018 cater to new developments across the UK, meaning that requirements for both are better aligned and can be met more efficiently.

Looking further ahead, this latest update shows the power of engagement with standards bodies. We have been proactive in communicating with IWBI for the WELL building standard to adapt and evolve for a better fit with other industry standards within the UK.

Our voice, along with those of other outspoken users in the wellbeing and sustainability community, has been well heeded by IWBI, which is clearly interested in developing its work to fit the needs of its users, and in providing a flexible standard for a globally developed WELL community.

It’s a great sign for continued advancement – both of the standard and therefore the quality of the buildings it contributes to.

Wellbeing in Retirement Living

With a growing and ageing population, it isn’t a surprise that the retirement living sector is expanding to meet this demand. The housing market is already stretched, and this is overlaid by the need to provide housing suitable for an ageing population.

Successful retirement developments address the need to provide an environment that actively encourages wellbeing through social hubs on site; such as clubhouses, restaurants, wellbeing centres and swimming pools, etc. These facilities, which promote social wellbeing, are then combined with onsite health and domiciliary care services and supporting technology.

This technology provides comfort and reassurance through 24-hour alarm call systems, site wide messaging, medicine reminders, appointment and facilities booking, bed sensors and automatic lighting, staff log in, access control and site events calendars. All managed through technology and applications from within the dwelling.

Successful developments should aim to provide a flexible and tailored environment to be able to provide just the right amount of help and support that people not only require now, but will also require as their needs change with age.

David Medcraft, Technical Partner at TFT, is currently part of a team working on all development phases of Great Alne Park, a luxury retirement village in Warwickshire,which has just celebrated the launch of its clubhouse.

Energy and Sustainability team grows at TFT

TFT, independent property and construction consultancy, has made a further strategic appointment in its industry-leading energy and sustainability team.

Chang Zhang Chin, formerly of ChapmanBDSP, joins TFT as an Energy and Sustainability Consultant in the London office.

He is already assisting an institutional investor with a large office refurbishment in south west London where his role is to ensure sustainability targets are secured during the redesign and following developed and technical design phases.

Mat Lown, Partner and Head of Sustainability, TFT, said:

More and more of the most high-profile and well-respected names in UK commercial real estate are turning to TFT for advice and support about energy and sustainability. Chang’s arrival helps TFT to meet an increasing demand for passive energy advice, particularly for the thriving build to rent sector. His expertise in air quality is welcome, too, and adds to TFT’s wellbeing expertise.