If we want an effective way to rate refurbs and fit-outs we need the BRE and the RICS to work together, argues RICS head of policy

The findings of the UK Green Building Council’s BREEAM consultation make for interesting reading. As one of the leading building environmental rating tools that is respected around the world, it’s absolutely vital that the industry is offered a forum through which it can help shape its ongoing development.

Of particular interest was the reference to the challenge of rating refurbishments and fit outs. As a sector that accounts for around £6.9bn of UK construction spend - or around 11% - it’s an important area of focus that, until recently, has been ignored.

The UK GBC correctly points out that BREEAM “does not address fit out issues effectively” and suggests a collaboration between BRE and the RICS as a potential solution.

This suggestion comes following the RICS’ launch of the Ska Rating, the first environmental measurement tool designed specifically for fit outs, at the end of 2009. It’s an interesting proposition.

The Ska Rating is already growing quickly and being adopted by a series of major occupiers ranging from RWE npower to the Audit Commission.

It’s extremely encouraging that the Ska Rating, which was developed over the course of the last few years by a group of designers, architects and fit out businesses before being adopted by the RICS, is being accepted and recognised by the industry so quickly.

It’s also encouraging that the UK GBC is suggesting BREEAM could benefit from some kind of collaboration. RICS has also discussed with the UKGBC the possibility of reviewing Ska Rating in the future and would welcome further feedback from the sector on its performance. The Ska Rating is freely available at www.rics.org/ska.