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Is our energy rating system sustainable?

THE FACT THAT energy performance in use often fails to match up to energy performance predictions is an uncomfortable truth for the industry. A large part of the problem is lack of data and lack of incentive to uncover it: there’s rarely an effective feedback loop between the design and construction team and the occupier paying the energy bills. But these days, it’s easier to assess the

operational performance of public buildings by looking at mandatory Display Energy Certificates. When Roderic Bunn of BSRIA gathered this publicly available information on recently completed secondary schools, the gap between actual energy consumption and design predictions set out in the Energy Performance Certificates — and backed up by BREEAM excellent or very good scores — was often embarrassingly wide (see page 12). BREEAM is, of course, in the spotlight,

given that education secretary Michael Gove is apparently planning to remove the requirement for new or refurbished schools to achieve top ratings. Of course, BREEAM covers far more than energy performance — it measures sustainability holistically, from energy to materials and rainwater policy to cycle sheds. Nevertheless, from the Department for Education’s point of view, it’s clear that schools’ ongoing running costs and operational carbon footprints are the main issues, and the results of Bunn’s desktop

➜ Online poll

This month Would your company be able to tender for a project where using BIM was a requirement? Vote now at:


study suggest that top BREEAM scores are hardly a reliable indicator of future energy performance. No one wants to see BREEAM disappear

from the schools sector, or public buildings in general. But if today is all about efficiency and doing what works — for the clients’ needs in 20 years and not just for the obligatory BREEAM press release — then surely the standard needs to be more closely aligned with energy performance and revalidated post- occupation. And fast.

Situation normal... Projects finished on time, defect free and exceeding clients’ expectations. Out-turn costs shrunk by 15%, lean thinking embedded in the delivery process. Disputes and litigation running well below historic levels. The industry finally unlocking the pent-up potential of BIM. Are we in a construction nirvana? No, it’s just that we’ve arrived at the New Normal. Today’s prevailing conditions have turned many of the industry’s long-held aspirations into reality. Of course, it has been achieved at an extremely high price: thousands made redundant, thousands of firms in insolvency. But we’re in this climate now for at least another two years, if not longer. That provides the industry ample chance to consolidate some of the efficiency improvements it is chalking up and gear up to meet new challenges ahead fitter and leaner.

Last month Is the CIOB right to

rethink construction management

qualifications, as set out in the Strategic Plan?



Comments posted on CM’s website in the past month

In response to new SUDs requirements adding £2,500 to the cost of building a home From Chris Blythe Will it really add up to £2,500 per new house, how is this calculated? I suspect new homeowners would prefer to have a house which is floodproof than either have to pay a fortune in insurance or not even get insurance.

From Bob Irving Building a proper SUDs scheme into each development would save them connecting to the rest of the storm drain system. Would that not save developers money?

On the comment piece from Mukesh Kashyap suggesting the CIOB leave qualifications up to universities From John Williamson Please find me a university that I can attend, in the evenings to advance from HNC to BSc (Hons) within the Greater Manchester area? I bet you can’t.

Keith Skelton FCIOB I would like to see a greater growth in courses for young people who can become the next tradespeople, foremen, site supervisors, site managers, estimators and the like . We need to encompass the core

requirement in the new plan going forward. If not the CIOB then who will provide the training and expand the future CIOB membership?

From Michael John Davies When you say you are conducting your own exams what are these exams? Are you still conducting your own Part 1 and 2 exams in construction followed by the Project Evaluation and Development thesis? This could be another option for younger people who cannot afford to go to university because of the increase in fees. Once they had passed all of the above and had the relevant experience they could sit the professional review interview to gain MCIOB status.

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