Exploring the Relevance of a Sustainability Champion

As part of the development of the Home Quality Mark scheme (HQM) we are exploring the relevance and possible benefits associated with a Sustainability Champion role to support achievement of quality and sustainability objectives for the development being assessed.A key driver for consideration of the integration of this role into HQM is the identification of opportunities to support reduction of ‘performance gap’ related issues. These are proven to arise between design, construction, marketing, handover and occupation of the home, and covers much more than energy. A Sustainability Champion role would ensure that a holistic view is taken of the development to minimise risks of under-performance.

A further driver is BRE’s continued aim to support the smooth and efficient delivery of methodologies like HQM in the construction process and achieve quality and sustainability outcomes for the home occupier. This is in line with other BRE methodologies within the BREEAM family of schemes.

The introduction of the Sustainability Champion role would be new for the new-build domestic scheme however, it is a role that has been included in BREEAM schemes including BREEAM UK New Construction 2014 and BREEAM UK Refurbishment and Fit-out 2014 for non-domestic buildings as well as BREEAM UK Domestic Refurbishment 2014. A similar survey regarding the Sustainability Champion role for these BREEAM schemes with the aim of broadening the relevance and value of the BREEAM credits associated with this role closed on the 20th April 2015.

The role of the Sustainability Champion versus the HQM assessor

The HQM assessor and the Sustainability Champion would perform different functions in the HQM process. The key role of the Assessor is to carry out the HQM assessment. This will involve gathering information and evaluating the HQM method against the development being assessed, assigning a rating, and submission of the assessment to BRE Global for independent third party verification and certification.

The role envisioned for the Sustainability Champion is more hands-on, with greater engagement during the design and construction stages, working closely with the design and marketing teams. They would be seeking solutions that achieve a reduction (or where feasible) elimination of performance gap related issues to deliver performance objectives and targets of the development. The role could be linked to functions such as client supervisor, clerk of works, site manager or potentially a role that Building Control could expand into.

Where conflicts of interest can be managed, the Assessor might also be able to act as the Sustainability Champion.

Overview of current development work

In exploring the relevance of this role and to establish clarity for their applicability to the HQM process an aim, definition and competency requirements have been drafted for the Sustainability Champion role.

The proposed aim of the Sustainability Champion is to encourage an integrated design and construction process that uses the HQM as a framework for establishing, agreeing and achieving the desired level of sustainability performance for the project. The Champion should provide HQM-related advice to the design team to facilitate timely and successful target setting, scheduling, prioritisation and monitoring of HQM compliance relating to the design and construction of the dwelling. In addition it is also envisaged that they should provide value to the design, specification and construction process by providing support and assistance in identifying and exploring options for complying with HQM requirements, meeting targets and seeking innovative solutions in a project specific, cost effective and timely way.

In order to carry out this task, they would need to maintain their knowledge and skills both of HQM and of the processes that they are seeking to influence, be that building design, construction or management.

The current definition of the Sustainability Champion within BREEAM is as follows:

Individuals who are trained and qualified to provide BREEAM related advice to the design team to facilitate timely and successful target setting, scheduling, prioritisation and monitoring of BREEAM compliance relating to the design of the building.

See the table below for an outline of the proposed Sustainability competency requirements.

Your Input

The survey is now closed. Thank you for your participation – your views and comments will be valuable in helping us further explore the relevance of this role to HQM.

A summary of the survey results will be published in due course.