West Berkshire Council requires all new non-domestic buildings to attain a BREEAM rating of ‘Excellent’. As there is no specific BREEAM scheme for village/community halls and to create a bespoke rating with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) would add significant expense to what are often financially tight projects, a sustainability statement, loosely based on BREEAM principles, is the sensible compromise.The village hall in this example had already considered a number of the sustainability issues that feature under the various BREEAM schemes and in conjunction with the Blewburton Partnership these were expanded upon and added to, to produce a satisfactory report for the local planning authority. This was then reviewed by a post construction survey and confirmation report.
One of the key areas considered in this case included rational and efficient use of water through the specification of dual flush toilets, urinal flush controls and push taps for taps and showers in the sports changing rooms. These installations will not only reduce water requirements, they will also save money. Other areas considered were ‘best practice’ energy efficient lighting, labelled light switches, good quality double glazing, ecological protection of surrounding site, environmentally sound building materials and a solar ready hot water tank, should additional funding become available to install solar panels on the roof.
In this instance the sustainability statement was straight forwards to produce, but in other cases they involve more work at an earlier stage with the client to reach a solution that satisfies the local planning authority and is deliverable on the ground. The Blewburton Partnership is well versed in this type of work and are happy to consider any projects of this nature.