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Accreditations may be an important consideration when leasing or purchasing commercial property.
These accreditations assess numerous aspects of a commercial property and provide an important indication of whether a building is suitable for a prospective occupier.
Whether it’s sustainability credentials, energy efficiency or internet connectivity, the following accreditations vary from being compulsory for leased property to something that is desired more and more by commercial tenants across the UK.
Importantly, whilst these are beginning to feature more regularly across the commercial property industry, they tend not to be applied as often to older or more dilapidated property and more on new or premium developments. This is ultimately because the landlord will be less inclined to undertake the process if he is aware that his property will not achieve the higher scores/grades that may be more appealing to future tenants.
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rates how energy efficient a building is using grades from A to G (with ‘A’ the most efficient grade).
However, there is now an A+ rating for buildings that achieve an efficiency level that takes them beyond carbon neutral.
This property accreditation is a legal requirement for all commercial and residential leased property. It is also unlawful for a landlord to grant a new lease, or renew a lease, of a property with an EPC rating of F or G.
This threshold will rise over the next five to ten years in an effort to improve the energy efficiency of all rented buildings.
The NABERS UK accreditation is administered by BRE (Building Research Establishment) Group and is a system for rating the energy efficiency of office buildings.
NABERS essentially assesses the energy efficiency of what a building is expected to achieve compared to what it is actually operating at.
The system originated in Australia (NABERS stands for the National Australian Built Environment Rating System), though its qualities have been widely acknowledged to the point that it is now used in the UK. Over the next few years, its implementation is expected to become more and more widespread in the industry.
BREEAM is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for masterplanning projects, infrastructure and buildings. It recognises and reflects the value in higher performing assets across the built environment lifecycle, from new construction to in-use and refurbishment.
BREEAM assesses an asset’s environmental, social and economic sustainability performance, using standards developed by BRE (Building Research Establishment) Group.
This means BREEAM rated developments are more sustainable environments that enhance the well-being of the people who live and work in them and help protect natural resources.
WiredScore is the digital connectivity rating system for real estate. It empowers landlords to understand, improve, benchmark and promote their building’s digital infrastructure.
The WiredScore Office accreditation scorecard measures five key aspects of a building’s digital capabilities:
SmartScore is a new accreditation, developed by WiredScore, which champions the use of technology in real estate.
SmartScore identifies best in class smart buildings that deliver an exceptional user experience, drive cost efficiency, meet high standards of sustainability and are fully future-proof.
The Scorecard consists of two sections:
Assessing the breadth and depth of smart user stories implemented.
Assessing the in-building technology, processes and procedures supporting the user stories.
Cycling Score will ensure the readiness of workplaces and residential developments to support the needs of cyclists, scooter users, skateboarders, runners and walkers. Ultimately, it rewards buildings with superior active commuter facilities, as these support greater health and wellbeing in the built environment.
Cycling Score acknowledges the shift in the way people are choosing to commute to their workplace and the need to encourage that shift with clear routes to bike racks, lockers, showers etc.
Though not an official accreditation, Walk Score scores a building on the basis of the amenities in its immediate vicinity. These could be transport links, cafes and restaurants or shops; all of these could be important considerations for business staff and operations.
The WELL Building Standard accreditation helps buildings and organisations deliver more thoughtful spaces that enhance human health and well-being. It includes strategies to advance health by setting standards for design interventions, operational protocols and policies and a commitment to fostering a culture of well-being.
The standard was formulated with input from numerous individuals and organisations to highlight the importance of staff and their experience in the workplace.
AirRated provides a certification of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). It uses sensor technology to collect detailed information about a building’s IAQ and then grades it based on leading medical research and industry best practice.
Workplace air quality is considered to have a key impact on health, wellbeing and productivity amongst staff. Minimum standards have been noticeably poor until the COVID pandemic increased awareness of ventilation and airflow around commercial premises.
The technology is used to monitor five key parameters for IAQ:
LEED certification provides independent verification of a building’s green features, allowing for the design, construction, operations and maintenance of resource-efficient, high-performing, healthy, cost-effective buildings.
LEED is the triple bottom line in action, benefiting people, planet and profit. However, this accreditation is far more commonly used outside of the UK, though it is starting to feature more and more across the industry.
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