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Last edited 10 Dec 2015

BSRIA support study into Australian solution to performance gap

There is significant evidence to suggest that buildings do not perform as well when they are completed as was anticipated when they were being designed. The difference between anticipated and actual performance is known as the performance gap.

Developers, owners and occupiers of new and refurbished buildings expect that compliance with the Building Regulations will produce a building that is energy efficient in operation, but in practice, the actual performance of most buildings falls well short of the design intent.

In November 2015, BSRIA announced that it would back a four-month feasibility study to develop a prototype UK scheme intended to deliver the standard of energy performance specified in client briefs.

The study adopts a ‘design for performance’ approach, first pioneered in Australia, where offices now routinely achieve a ‘very energy efficient’ rating. The performance gap can be eliminated for new office buildings in Australia by clients and their teams signing up to a ‘commitment agreement’ protocol to design, construct and manage buildings to achieve agreed levels of in-use performance. This process is underwritten by the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS). As a result of the approach, a strong market has emerged in Australia for the highest-performing buildings from investors and tenants.

The feasibility study is being funded and overseen by:

  • British Land.
  • Legal & General Property.
  • Stanhope.
  • TH Real Estate.
  • Laing O’Rourke.
  • EDSL.

It also has the support of:

  • Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).
  • British Council for Offices (BCO).
  • British Property Federation (BPF).
  • UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC).
  • Better Buildings Partnership.

Technical assistance will be provided by the Usable Buildings Trust (UBT) who are also funding expert input from Paul Bannister of Energy Action, Canberra, who helped to develop NABERS Energy.

Julia Evans, Chief Executive at BSRIA said, “Energy efficiency in buildings is essential to the industry, to BSRIA and its members. And any such research is vital. We totally support the feasibility study and the research that is taking place by all the organisations involved. The building performance gap is specifically a key concern to BSRIA – so we hope this study yields some useful results. As an industry, we aim to achieve the best sustainability in buildings possible. This must be a priority.”