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Corporate Professional Local

Surveying sustainability: a short guide

for the property professional

June 2007

Greenfield / Estate

Demolition and Planning and

remediation procurement

Occupation and use

(including refurbishment) Construction
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Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional


Foreword to Surveying Sustainability 04

Executive summary 05

Part 1 Introduction to sustainability and the property lifecycle 06

1.1 Overview of sustainable development 06

1.2 Issues for property professionals 07

Part 2 Sustainability and your area of practice 09

2.1 Land group 09

2.1.1 Planning and development 09

2.1.2 Rural practice 11

2.1.3 Environment and minerals and waste management 12

2.2 Built Environment Group 13

2.2.1 QS and construction 13

2.2.2 Building surveying 15

2.3 Property group 16

2.3.1 Residential property 16

2.3.2 Business property 17

2.3.3 Valuation 18

Part 3 Further resources 20

3.1 General sustainability 20

3.2 Natural environment and biodiversity 20

3.3 Climate change 20

3.4 Sustainable design 21

3.5 Land use and transport 21

3.6 Construction 21

3.7 Community development and social inclusion 21

3.8 Economic development 21

3.9 Energy 21

3.10 Main tools used in the UK and Europe 22

About the authors 23

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

Foreword to Surveying Sustainability

by Dr Ann Heywood, Chair of the Presidential Commission on Sustainability

The RICS Commission was show (as a minimum requirement) that they can
established at a time when demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how and why
Sustainability and Climate Change sustainability seeks to balance economic, environmental, and
were just beginning to enter the social objectives at global, national, and local levels, in the
public consciousness. A small group context of land, property and the built environment.
of members came together under
The Commissioners have also actively sought to engage
the auspices of President Barry
with other professional bodies, government and industry
Gilbertson in 2005 to champion the
and have spoken at many seminars and events on the
cause of Sustainable Development within the Institution
importance of sustainability for professional practice in the
and to act as ambassadors for the profession.
21st century. The commission led the RICS delegation to
Early on we elected to join with Forum for the Future Vancouver to develop the Vancouver Valuation Accord in
in developing PiPS (Professions in Partnership for March 2007, which seeks to move towards a valuation
Sustainability), a project aiming to share best practice methodology that has regard for market attitudes towards
in sustainable development across the professions, part all elements of sustainability.
funded by DEFRA. We saw the value in working with
Going forward the Commission is committed to further
Forum, as well as with other Professions to deliver a fully
developing the knowledge of existing surveyors in the
integrated vision of sustainability, and we were the first to
areas of sustainability that are most applicable to them.
join this programme.
To do this we will be working closely with all Faculties,
In part this led to a period of self reflection for all the and this guide is the beginning of that process.
institutions, and for the RICS the rapid realisation that it
I would like to give my personal thanks to each
was critical to devise and implement a sustainability policy
Commissioner, Presidents Gilbertson, Chase, Tuffin and
for the Institution. This policy was written by the
those to come, as well as the staff of the RICS Faculties,
Commission and adopted by the RICS International
and Forum for the Future, without whom the Commission
Governing Council in July 2005.
could not have achieved so much in such a short space
As part of embedding sustainability within the Institution, of time.
the Commission worked with Faculties and Education to
Dr Ann Heywood
develop a new mandatory APC/ATC competency in
Reading June 2007
Sustainability. This was adopted in July 2006, and from
that point forward all incoming Chartered Surveyors must

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

Executive summary

Chartered Surveyors are facing a new challenge that of As a Chartered Surveyor your clients expect that you will
embracing the practical implications of sustainability. But provide them with the most relevant, appropriate and up
what does this mean for each of the wide variety of to date advice which in the current market includes all
disciplines that make up the surveying profession? This aspects of sustainable development. Although climate
guide is intended to: change is currently occupying a prominent position as
a government and industry driver, successful sustainable
development considers the Triple Bottom Line of
provide some clarification of the subject environmental, economic and social issues.

help you formulate appropriate responses to the This guide is aimed at surveyors in practice, and in
changing duties of a Chartered Surveyor training, to show how the overarching concept of
sustainability relates to the entire range of practice
direct you to further information aimed at helping
disciplines that make up the surveying profession.
you to develop your knowledge of sustainable
The guide is intended to act as an initial point of
reference and provide further sources of information.
It is not intended to be comprehensive or legally
binding guidance.
The terms sustainable development, sustainability,
corporate social responsibility (CSR) are widely used but When considering proposed interventions aimed at improving
are often confusing to those who are not experts in these sustainability it is also important that we understand our
areas. The most commonly accepted definition of limitations both personally and professionally. Using the
sustainable development is from the 1987 UN Brundtland guide to help understand the key contributions from other
Commission Report: disciplines should help highlight when it is appropriate to
seek specialist guidance and advice from others.

In all aspects of your day-to-day activities surveyors have

[Development] which meets the needs of the
the opportunity to question and challenge opinions and
present without compromising the ability of
decisions to ensure that appropriate long term strategies
future generations to meet their own needs
for delivering sustainable development are defined. You
also have a role in promoting sustainability within and
outside the property profession.

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

Part 1 Introduction to sustainable development and the property lifecycle

Sustainability is about making sure all our businesses, When presented with a wide range of options, the choices
public services, natural resources, economy and you make should be deliberate and seek to balance
communities have the capacity to continue into the future. economic, environmental and social costs and benefits
While we are adept at thinking about their future financial at a local and global level.
sustainability and investing in economic resources, our
society has been less successful in looking after the
human, social and environmental resources that we rely 1.1 Overview of sustainable development
on. Sustainable development is best thought of as a
process for growth that understands, invests in and RICS Members believe the most important
maintains not just financial resources, but human, social sustainability issues are energy supply, land
and environmental resources, all at the same time. Only by contamination, resource efficiency and transport.
avoiding the damaging consequences of trading one off
against the other can the goal of sustainability be met. The most important drivers for sustainability for
RICS globally are legal compliance, responsibility
In a sense the RICS has always been focused on to protect the environment, and ethical and moral
sustainable development. The Royal Charter states that reasons.
surveyors must act in the interest of the public good.
Sustainability can be as simple as making conscious A Green Profession? RICS Members and the
decisions about how to approach a project. Sustainable Agenda (RICS Research).

Triple Bottom Line methodology

There are two commonly accepted models of sustainable development based on the Triple Bottom Line
methodology. In the Three Pillars model , sustainability is seen as the merging of economic enterprise, social well-
being and environmental integrity. In the alternative model, often referred to as the Russian Doll model, economic
capital is placed at the centre as the basis of wealth creation, which drives the development engine (ORiordan et al,
2001), but at the same time is constrained by environmental and social considerations. Increasingly the three
dimensions are being underpinned by a fourth dimension, which comprises the institutional and governance
structures needed to make sustainability work.
From A Green Profession? RICS Members and the Sustainability Agenda (RICS Research).

Three Pillar Model Russian Doll Model




Social Environmental


Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

The UK Sustainable Development strategy was the first 1.2 Issues for the property professional
to join public service agreement targets for all major
Government departments in a sustainable development The RICS recognises that sustainability should
framework. be considered throughout the property lifecycle.
The interrelationships of the five phases in the property
The four priorities of the strategy are:
lifecycle are critical to achieving a sustainable built
environment. By considering the consequences of
decisions in relation to the three pillars of sustainability,
sustainable consumption and production
as well as the impact decisions will have on the other
climate change phases of the property lifecycle, it is possible to develop a
better framework for decision making. The accompanying
natural resource protection
chart maps some of the inter-relationships and impacts
sustainable communities. each phase of the property lifecycle has on the three main
pillars of sustainability. This chart is meant to be indicative,
rather than exhaustive. Further specific and technical
Legislation and standards will increasingly require guidance is being produced by the RICS which will
surveyors to consider sustainability but there is also provide more comprehensive direction.
increasing demand from investors for development to
In the next section we will examine the influence points
match increasing demand for sustainability from the end
of a chartered surveyor in the main areas of practice.
consumer. This will create a wide range of business
opportunities for the surveying profession, as well as
change the way we think about some current practices.
The property lifecycle
Many organisations report their corporate responsibility
performance, and subscribe to global investment indices
such as the FTSE4Good and Dow Jones Sustainability
Index. This has been encouraged by rising consumer
interest, investor concern and growing coverage in
mainstream media. Businesses are recognising growing
pressures from resource depletion and increased
legislation to rising customer expectations and exposure
Greenfield / Estate
to criticism from NGOs and the media. management

The changes required if we are to follow a path of

Demolition and Planning and
sustainable development will require more than just remediation procurement
technical expertise on the part of professionals; it will also
require that we as individuals work within our own
communities to promote the principles of sustainability.
Issues such as climate change and social inclusion are Occupation and use
(including refurbishment)
high on the public agenda, with government and individual
organisations working to raise awareness within the wider
public. It is important that professionals engage with local
communities on all projects to ensure that there is buy in
at an early stage. Often residents and interest groups can
provide valuable insight to the professional which can have
a positive effect on development plans. This too is part of
sustainability, which seeks to engage people at every level
with the world around them.

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

Impacts of sustainability on the property lifecycle

Property lifecycle stage Social Environmental Economic

Greenfield/Estate A safe, secure integrated Maintain and enhance Improved land and asset
management development, rural natural amenity and values, stimulate local
regeneration, public access biodiversity. Use of land investment, intrinsic value
and rambling rights as food plains and non tangible assets
of open space amenity

Planning and Provision of local labour, Minimise energy demand, Local economic
procurement development of local skills renewable energy supply, generation, responsible
through training initiatives, minimise environmental and profitable growth.
quality urban design impact, increase use of Attracting investment
and public realm, planning recycled materials, ethically and build local capital
sustainable communities, sourced products and
community involvement services, enhanced public
at the design stage transport and walkability

Construction Better Design, Respect for Carbon amelioration, waste Use of local suppliers
people, Minimisation of minimisation, maximise and labour. Quality of
disruption, noise, dust light, recycling, Construction design and materials as an
considerate contractors Environmental Management agency tool or selling point
scheme Plans

Occupation and use A better quality of life, built Energy efficient operation, Use of local suppliers and
(including refurbishment) to last, clean, working and effective maintenance, contractors. Increase in
friendly occupier recycling schemes, occupier productivity
greywater etc. through sustainable
facility management

Demolition and Minimisation of disruption, Maximise recycling, minimise Improved spatial use,
remediation noise, dust light, considerate waste to landfill. On site improved land value and
contractors scheme, remediation, creative use economic uplift from urban
improved amenity of demolition waste infill. Presumption in
favour of development on
brownfield sites leading to
a shorter planning period

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

Part 2 Sustainability and your area of practice

The time for debate and rhetoric is over!

The RICS Sustainability Policy (adopted by International In this chapter we have specifically outlined the
Governing Council in July 2005) states that RICS implications of sustainability for Planning and
members are uniquely placed to contribute towards Development, Rural, and paired Environment and Minerals
sustainability and to judge the viability issues that will & Waste Management.
determine how sustainable development should be
Geomatics, or land surveying, has not been outlined in
delivered. It is important that awareness and
detail; however, mapping and measurement are critical to
understanding are developed to ensure that practical
developing an understanding of the physical environment
actions can be taken to make a difference.
and changes that occur due to climate change. It is also
In the following sections we outline the different areas of essential as a management and policing tool; for example
practice and apply the principles of sustainability that are the use of thermal mapping and integrated geographic
drawn from the Sustainability Policy to show what you information technologies for the purpose of identifying
should consider when undertaking your work. The areas of energy inefficiency. Geomatics surveyors will be
Sustainability Policy is available on the RICS website. involved in managing the macro-scale information on
sustainable development in either the public or private
Global leaders in terms of engagement with
sustainability and sustainability tools are RICS
members operating in Australasia, South 2.1.1 Planning and development
America, Canada and the UK.
Planning and development (P&D) surveyors have a crucial
Faculty leaders include: Planning and
opportunity to influence and promote the development of
Development, Facilities Management,
sustainable communities, as they are involved at every
Environment, Minerals and Waste Management,
stage of the planning and development process.
Rural and Project Management.
P&D surveyors are able to survey, record and evaluate
A Green Profession? RICS Members and the
the wider and longer term social and environmental costs,
Sustainability Agenda (RICS Research)
values and consequences of development and place them
alongside more narrow market costs and values. Social
and environmental judgements are increasingly
recognised as an important component of investment
2.1 The Land Group decision-making.

In order to manage developments that can bring positive

The RICS Land Group consists of 5 faculties
benefits to society, the economy and the environment,
Environment, Geomatics, Minerals and Waste
P&D surveyors understand and apply the core principles
Management, Planning and Development, and Rural.
of sustainable development:
The main points of impact within the property lifecycle
for these specialities are:
Protection and enhancement of the natural
Greenfield/Estate management environment: Surveyors should assist public and
private clients to acknowledge that social and economic
benefits that can be achieved through protecting the
Planning and Procurement environment and regenerating areas of social, economic
and physical degradation. As well as recognising the
Demolition and remediation impact a development will have on the direct site,
surveyors will understand the indirect effects of
construction on the natural and built environment
at local, regional and even global levels.

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

Encouraging the sustainable use of resources: Promotion of sustainable design, development and
in terms of spatial planning, land is one of the most construction practices, including whole-life costs
fundamental natural resources and needs to be treated and value in the built environment. Surveyors need
as such in the planning and implementation of an adequate understanding of sustainable building
development plans. In addition, P&D surveyors and their techniques and materials so that they can promote
clients can acknowledge and manage the impact of the them across the different professions and clients.
construction industry on the use of natural resources. Meanwhile, in their own practice, whole life costing
They can minimise the use of resources and lowering should be used in development planning this refers
the carbon footprint of both the construction process to management methods that account for the social
and use of buildings. Surveyors should also promote and environmental benefits and the wider long-term
the regeneration of existing buildings and areas. advantages.

Reduction of waste generation and the responsible Promotion of community development and social
disposal of waste: within the design of all new inclusion: looking for and making positive additions to
buildings, the re-development and refurbishment of the public realm are currently very much at the forefront
existing buildings and the way people use open spaces, of planning and development practice. P&D surveyors
the ability for people to reduce and manage their waste can contribute to local planning authority community
should be both encouraged and controlled. based strategies and ensure any new development fits
within a truly sustainable vision. They can also ensure
Reduction of energy consumption: P&D surveyors
that there is full participation and engagement in
should be aware of the need for efficiency and
planning sustainable communities.
reduction of energy, as well as being able to identify
and promote passive forms of energy production when
planning any new development. Most increases in
No longer seen as a nice to have, sustainability
energy efficiency are delivered through buildings in
is now an integral and inescapable part of the
terms of lighting, heating and power, but energy
planning and development process.
reduction also relates to transport use in terms of
providing safe and reliable public transport. Significant It is about respecting people and the
energy savings can also be made at the design stage environment in the broadest sense, and
and when choosing building materials. approached in the right way it creates wide
spread and long term value to clients and
Promotion of sustainable land use and
society as a whole
transportation planning and management: this can
be done in all forms of development by linking the use Paul Collins MSc (Urb Plan) MRICS
of the land to the requirements of people, the habitats MBIFM FInstCPD
of fauna and vegetation. In addition, P&D surveyors can Member of the RICS Planning & Development
interpret and understand the transport requirements of Faculty Board and Head of Designed
people and goods and promote and provide the Environment, School of Architecture,
infrastructure for travel with a low environmental impact. Design & The Built Environment,
Nottingham Trent University

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

2.1.2 Rural practice

Rural practice surveyors close involvement with Promote sustainable land use and transportation
landowners and the environment means they are at the planning and management: in the provision of advice
forefront of planning, developing, managing and assigning on the value of land, property, crops, machinery, livestock
value to our natural, economic and social resources. and trees. Also in promoting growing crops for energy
such as biomass and biofuels, in a sustainable way.
The following sustainable development principles apply
to all professional advice and work of rural practice Promotion of sustainable design, development and
surveyors; this would include the provision of advice to construction practices, including whole-life costs
government bodies, local authorities and other interest and value in the built environment. Surveyors need an
groups on policy issues and the impact of new legislation. adequate understanding of sustainable techniques and
materials so that they can promote them across the
Protecting and enhancing the natural environment:
different professions and clients.
this will be a key component of overseeing the
development of farming and leisure facilities and Promote community development and social
making sure they are working efficiently as well as inclusion: in discussing with clients the most effective
being part of all aspects of managing rural estates, way to market and sell their property, and other assets;
estate staff, farms, tenanted dwellings, and businesses. and in building and maintaining good relationships with
the rural community and being well informed on all
Encouraging the sustainable use of resources: this
issues affecting the countryside, such as affordable
would apply not just to managing rural estates and
rural housing.
facilities, but in helping clients who wish to buy rural
properties by providing detailed information about the Minimise any negative social or environmental
property, the land, and other economic, social and impacts of development: the prevention of particular
environmental assets. impacts can be built in to contracts issued by the rural
practice surveyor for various aspects of land
Reducing waste generation and responsible
disposal of waste: farm accounts or rural businesses
should explore opportunities for innovative waste
Sustainability has become an increasingly
Reduce energy consumption: reducing energy important part of my daily work, promoting
consumption should be integral to the provision of affordable rural housing and sustainable rural
advice to clients, for example, on farm accounts or the villages that retain community spirit. At the
value of property or machinery. Rural practice surveyors moment, were working on a green development
can also encourage the use of new energy efficient of combined leisure, business and residential
products and services such as: combined heat and uses including using biomass and geothermal
power boilers, biomass, geothermal rock technology, to produce heating for the district, affordable
water boreholes and wind generated electricity. housing and to create local business
opportunities and rural work opportunities

David W Coulson Broadley & Coulson,

Co. Durham.

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

2.1.3 Environment, minerals and waste management

Environmental surveyors develop and conserve Promote sustainable land use and transportation
environmental assets and aspects of land and property. planning and management: in creating strategies
They carry out contaminated land surveys and conduct for restoring any industrial site for re-use and for
scientific surveys of natural habitats, identifying, recording landfill management and in creating strategies for the
and monitoring plant and/or animal species present. re-use of previous development sites. This sustainable
Environmental surveyors can also undertake audits and development principle is especially relevant to surveyors
impact assessments. Environmental surveyors have the who work as representatives for environmental
potential to act as a key interface between environmental consultancies.
science and real estate by articulating environmental
Promote sustainable design, development and
issues and considering these alongside land value.
construction practices, including whole-life costing:
Minerals and waste surveyors work in the minerals in providing effective and useful environmental
extractive industries, quarries and the waste/remediation information for this purpose. For mineral surveyors,
sectors. A minerals surveyor provides valuation services in managing and overseeing the development
related to developing mineral resources, waste of waste management sites, mines and quarries.
management sites, mines and quarries. Through this role In equal measures, the surveyor has to focus on the
they are well placed to address sustainability at both the development of the site and the restoration of the
beginning and end of a project, as well as the sensible landscape after extraction is complete. Environment
management of resources more generally. & minerals and waste surveyors commonly devise
restoration programmes for land used for quarrying,
Protecting and enhancing the natural environment:
mining and mineral extraction.
through promoting the management of the natural
environment and recognising the triple bottom line Promote community development and social
benefits in doing so. This can also involve developing inclusion: in liaising with members of the public and
restoration programmes for land used for quarrying, local authorities. When acting as a site manger the
mining and mineral extraction. surveyor can encourage the client to ensure that the
development provides benefits to the local community,
Encouraging the sustainable use of resources:
and address any effects the proposed development
in the effective application of technical environmental
might have on the surrounding area and residents.
information. This may involve checking the levels of
mineral deposits for mineral extraction companies or Minimise any negative social or environmental
interpreting contaminated land assessments. Practicing impacts of development: through liaising with clients
mineral surveyors have the unique opportunity to work throughout the duration of a development. All activities
with clients and encourage the efficient use of should take account of the environmental issues of a
resources across the property lifecycle. development and promote the most effective way in
which to manage these.
Reducing waste generation and responsible
disposal of waste: in all aspects of site management
and overseeing developments. Some environmental and
The Chartered Environmental Surveyor
mineral surveyors manage whole sites for the owners,
is at the heart of the decision-making process
and hence are well-placed to introduce effective on-site
because of their abilities to understand how
waste reduction, recycling and disposal systems
environmental protection and sustainable
and procedures.
development add value to all forms of activities
Reduce energy consumption: in all aspects of site involving land, property and construction
management and overseeing developments, and in
Philip Wilbourn Environment Faculty Board
providing environmental expertise for future
Member and Wilbourn Associates

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

2.2 The Built Environment Group 2.2.1 Quantity Surveying (QS) and construction

The Built Environment Group consists of four faculties: Quantity Surveyors manage all cost and commercial
Building Control, Building Surveying, Project Management aspects of a building project, from initial calculations
and Quantity Surveying (QS) and Construction. The main to the final figures, and in the procurement of goods and
areas for influencing the sustainability of a project are the services. QSs seek to ensure value for money, whilst still
following points of the property lifecycle: achieving the required standards and quality. Lifecycle
costing, cost of alternative materials, renewable energy
schemes, recycled content schemes, the ethical sourcing
Planning and procurement of materials and labour should all be considered by the
QS throughout the lifecycle of the project. QS and
Construction Surveyors should promote performance
measurement as a means of driving continual
improvements in building performance. They should be
Occupation and Use (including refurbishment) aware of the main Environmental Assessments schemes
and the impacts these can have on proposed projects.
Protecting and enhancing the natural environment:
This document covers Building Surveying and QS and
as part of the clients team, construction surveyors are
Construction in detail. However, both Project Management
in a unique position to encourage best practice in
and Building Control are very influential in the processes
aspects of sustainability to ensure that we live within
of sustainable development. Project Management
our environmental means. This can include waste
surveyors can influence the clients objectives and
management (and minimisation) during construction;
priorities, ensure that the brief is developed along
protection or provision of wildlife habitats; ecological
sustainable lines and ensure project compliance.
surveying to assess the impact of construction on
In establishing the budget and methods of procurement
habitats, landscapes and species; measures to prevent
they are therefore able to effect how a budget is spent
water pollution and so on. More and more planners are
in relation to sustainable development principles.
requiring these issues to be addressed at the early
Building Control surveyors ensure that building regulations stages of the project and they may even become
are observed in the planning and constructions stages a condition of approval.
of new buildings and most property extensions and
Encouraging the sustainable use of resources:
conversions. For complex projects they may be involved
in the provision of advice on design options. QS and
at the pre-applications stage to offer advice on design
construction surveyors can promote appropriate
issues. This is particularly important in relation to
investment in sustainability, including alternative
sustainability, as they have a key advisory role to play
technologies, use of recycled materials and sustainable
in ensuring that environmental standards are met.
resources, for example, briefing clients to procure
sustainable buildings, giving advice on the latest
sustainable engineering practices and appropriate
methods of supply chain management. Cost advice
for sustainable design options and materials should be
included in any client cost/advice report. Appraisals and
benchmarking may also be carried out during and
following the completion of the building project.

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

Reducing waste generation and responsible Promote community development and social
disposal of waste: in checking applicants plans inclusion: in assessing an application, QS and
to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, Construction surveyors can promote the use of the
construction surveyors are in a unique position to local workforce and materials and encourage applicants
encourage best practice in waste management and to consider their impact on the local community (will it
minimisation during construction. This can be a cost- add character and quality to the area?). Construction
saving incentive for the developer and the surveyor surveyors can also encourage applicants to involve the
may carry out site inspections to monitor performance community in decision-making through effective
throughout the duration of the project. Appraisals and consultation and engagement. Such engagement
benchmarking may also be carried out during and post with the community can also assist with supply chain
the project. management.

Reduce energy consumption: in the provision Minimise any negative social or environmental
of advice to clients and during site inspections, impacts of development: QS and construction
construction surveyors are able to provide; advice on surveyors are in a position to ensure compliance
aspects of legislation including Building Regulations, with the minimum standards at all times but can
energy performance certificates, grants and taxation also encourage more sustainable practices. Higher
and encourage strategies that minimise energy demand standards could become a condition of approval as
and maximise thermal efficiency (e.g. microgeneration the industry moves to meet consumer demand.
technologies, on-site renewables), post project
appraisals and benchmarking. In addition to energy
efficiency strategies, investments in sustainability QS and Construction Surveyors are ideally
should be considered against potential carbon placed to develop their core skills and provide
reduction efficiency. support and advice in any or all aspects of
sustainability within the built environment and
Promote sustainable land use and transportation
must rise to the challenge, embrace and accept
planning and management: construction surveyors
this growing area of interest to ensure an
are in a position to support developments that make
enduring legacy for all
the most of existing infrastructure, encourage people
to use public transport, walk or cycle and reduce Jerry Percy Head of Sustainability for Gleeds
the need/desire to travel. Whilst on site, ensuring
appropriate facilities and information is provided will We all need to exploit opportunities
enable this. to work closely across the built environment
Promote sustainable design, development and disciplines and with our respective clients
construction practices, including whole-life costing: as commissioners of built assets in order to
in the provision of advice on design issues at the pre- demonstrate we are meeting the challenges
application stage, QS and construction surveyors can of the 21st century
advise on appropriate procurement and supply chain Barry Harper Partner at Davis Langdon
processes that support the achievement of sustainable
goals. Also the use of whole-life costing techniques to
ensure the long term environmental and social costs
of the development are incorporated into construction
plans. Construction surveyors can offer advice on the
latest sustainable technologies to reduce these costs
and ensure best value for money. Appraisals can also
be made at the project completion stage.

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

2.2.2 Building surveying

Building surveyors can advise clients on a wide range Promote sustainable land use and transportation
of sustainability issues ranging from energy efficiency planning and management: building surveyors are in
to enhancing the character and quality of buildings for a position to support developments that make the most
the local community. In promoting sustainability, building of existing infrastructure, encourage people to use
surveyors can help ensure their clients save money, avoid public transport, walk or cycle and reduce the
prosecution and delays and ultimately stay in business, need/desire to travel.
and meet growing demand for corporate responsibility
Promote sustainable design, development and
from stakeholders and shareholders, and mitigating the
construction practices, including whole-life costing:
environmental impact of buildings.
building surveyors can advise on whole-life costing
The following sustainable development principles apply techniques to ensure the environmental and social costs
to the work of building surveyors: of the development are incorporated into construction
plans. Building surveyors can offer advice on the latest
Protecting and enhancing the natural environment:
sustainable technologies to reduce these costs and
in their advice to clients, building surveyors can promote
ensure best value for money. Surveyors can also advise
practices that will minimise environmental impact,
on new practice such as carbon credits, and how
particularly during construction, and recommend using
to assess the reduction in emissions in line with
contractors, designers or procurement experts that have
government targets.
sustainability expertise. Surveyors should also ensure
that the advice that surveyors offer takes full account Promote community development and social
of the changing regulations and acknowledges the risk inclusion: building surveyors have the opportunity
of giving inaccurate or misleading information. to engage the community in decision-making during
planning, construction and in the ongoing maintenance
Encouraging the sustainable use of resources:
of the development. They can also promote bio-diversity
in advising clients, building surveyors can suggest
and interpret local Sustainable Development plans into
alternative technologies that encourage the sustainable
tangible developments.
use of resources, for example, briefing clients to procure
sustainable buildings, or giving advice on the latest Minimise any negative social or environmental
sustainable engineering practices. Surveyors can also impacts of development: building surveyors have
advise on the availability of grants and subsidies for an important role in advising on the preservation and
improving the environmental performance of new and conservation of historic buildings. Building surveyors are
existing buildings. responsible for ensuring compliance with the minimum
social and environmental standards at all times but can
Reducing waste generation and responsible
also encourage more sustainable practices. Higher
disposal of waste: with the advantage of being on-site,
standards could become a condition of approval as
building surveyors can encourage and oversee best
the industry moves to meet consumer demand.
practice in sustainable waste management and
minimisation during construction and operation.

Reduce energy consumption: building surveyors With the profile of environmentally-responsible

can carry out feasibility studies to demonstrate potential development ever higher on the public and
savings associated with reducing energy consumption political agenda, and the raft of new legislation
and improving energy efficiency. Building surveyors can dictating the way in which we build, modify and
promote the use of energy performance certificates use our buildings, there has never been a
and encourage strategies that minimise energy demand greater challenge for surveyors to meet their
and maximise thermal efficiency (e.g. microgeneration clients expectations
technologies, on-site renewables). Building surveyors
Daniel Salisbury MRICS, of Surveying and
have an important role in advising on the future
Sustainability Services, is a Chartered Building
management and supervision of maintenance of the
Surveyor specialising in sustainability
buildings, which is an opportunity to ensure energy
efficiency long-term.

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

2.3 The Property Group 2.3.1 Residential property

There are eight faculties in the Property Group; Arts For many years residential surveyors have advised vendors
and Antiques, Commercial Property, Dispute Resolution, and purchasers (both formally and informally) on factors
Facilities Management, Machinery and Business Assets, that affect property values, including location, original
Management Consultancy, Residential and Valuation. construction, existing condition and energy conservation.
The main areas of influence in terms of the property Since the early 1990s such advice has frequently
lifecycle are: included an Energy Efficiency certificate (NHER
Certification) which identifies the propertys existing rating
and includes cost effective suggestion as to how this may
Greenfield/Estate management be improved.

The advice outlined above assumes a property is pre-

Planning and procurement existing. However, residential surveyors are frequently
asked to provide advice at a land acquisition stage. In this
role they advise developers and contractors on factors
Occupation and use (including refurbishment)
that will affect market value before construction begins.
This can include influencing the choice of materials, layout
and specification that are fundamental in the future
This document covers Residential and Valuation in detail
sustainable performance of new homes.
and has taken elements of Facilities Management,
Management Consultancy, Machinery and Business This advisory role is, in future, likely to require that
Assets and Commercial property and covered this under residential surveyors have a working knowledge of the
the more general heading Business Property. Code for Sustainable Homes, EcoHomes ratings, and the
affordable housing agenda.
Arts and Antique Surveyors and Dispute Resolution
Surveyors are not covered in detail, but both have a Protecting and enhancing the natural environment:
role to play in the wider sense of sustainability. Arts and through providing information on issues such as
Antiques Surveyors play a vital role in preserving the biodiversity, tree preservation orders, land use and
heritage of society, and creating links with communities the provision of open space. It may include advice
through material artefacts. Similarly dispute resolution on retaining or promoting natural features on managed
surveyors must have reference to the current legal and developments which may be of benefit when marketing
regulatory frameworks and how they relate to the wider a purchase or sale.
sustainability agenda in order to use their professional
Reduce energy consumption: through advising clients
judgment in an impartial manner which is in the best
as to the energy efficiency measures that they can
interests of the public.
implement on both existing and new properties.

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

Reducing waste generation and responsible

disposal of waste: through managing developments
Clients and the public are becoming
responsibly, advising on design layout and operations
increasingly aware of sustainability issues and
to eliminate waste to landfill and promote recycling.
are taking these into consideration when making
This principle can be in direct conflict with the principle
decisions. New legislation, stakeholder interest
on reduction of energy consumption. The surveyor
and consumer choice require the residential
has to be aware that sustainability is complex: waste
property surveyor to investigate, understand,
generation through the demolishing of an energy
and be able to communicate to all parties
intensive building might outweigh the environmental
involved in property transactions all aspects of
benefits of building an energy efficient structure.
sustainability to maximise potential and ensure
Surveyors should also advise developers on the
a bright safe and prosperous future for all
importance of providing a responsible waste strategy
for the future residents of a development, to encourage John Foddy Partner King Sturge LLP
recycling and waste minimisation during occupation. Planning & Development
Promote sustainable design, development and
construction practices, including whole-life costing:
through liaison and continuing dialogue throughout the
development process, from green field to foundations 2.3.2 Business property
and completed building. Knowledge and consideration
of building orientation, insulation, energy sources and Like all surveyors working towards a sustainable future,
renewable energy, materials selection which when business property surveyors will need to consider social,
considered as part of the whole life costing aspect can economic and environmental issues, and the use of
contribute to sustainable development. This principle natural resources when acting as a professional
mainly applies to new build. Whole life costing requires consultant for clients in the public and private sectors.
benchmark data of costs in use.
The following principles should apply to all owners
Promote community development and social and occupiers of commercial property, as well as
inclusion: in valuing properties and potential their professional consultants. This includes property
developments by applying expert knowledge and management, and those surveyors undertaking investment
awareness of the local property market. Residential appraisal, performance measurement, and analysis
property surveyors can flag up the need for affordable of commercial property. This also includes the work
housing in any given area and can have a real impact of surveyors in the public sector.
for those members of a community that live on modest
Reducing waste generation and responsible
incomes. Developments and housing schemes must
disposal of waste: in assessing readily available
ensure that they provide amenity and opportunities for
disposal systems and channels in relation to client
social interaction and are integrated into the wider
activity. This might be of particular importance if the
clients core activity entails the production of particularly
Minimise any negative social or environmental high-volume waste streams or hazardous waste.
impacts of development: through assessing the
impact of a major development in terms of economic
viability and environmental impact. Ideally, the surveyor
knows the local area well enough to be able to identify
all the possible negative impacts of a development.

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

Reduce energy consumption: through responsible

property management procedures. The surveyor has
to be aware of the variety of opportunities that are
available for different clients and work with them
to select the most appropriate solution.

Promote sustainable land use and transportation

planning and management: in assessing transport
options together with the property itself: How will
building occupants get to the site? How will the
increased traffic impact the local community?
This principle is another demonstration that business
property surveyors have to consider as part of a triple
bottom line approach to sustainability.

Promote sustainable design, development and

construction practices, including whole-life costing:
during all stages of development, from green field
to foundations and completed building. Red Book
Valuations should take account of the five capital assets
of sustainability (natural, social, manufactured, financial
and human). A commercial practice surveyor has to
recognise that each business property will have
different strengths and weaknesses in each of
these areas.
2.3.3 Valuation
Minimise any negative social or environmental
impacts of development: in assessing the impact In accordance with International Valuation Standards,
of a major development in terms of economic viability Valuation Surveyors are duty-bound to reflect the markets
and environmental impact. The loss of Greenfield interpretation of the manner in which Sustainability is
sites is of particular importance in this context: impacting on value or price. In providing an opinion
major developments that are located on previously of value, they have absolutely no mandate to bring
undeveloped sites might be economically viable personal prejudices to bear with regard to Sustainability
though they might come with high environmental costs. or indeed any other such issues. Nonetheless, it is a clear
responsibility of Valuation Surveyors to ensure they
understand the principles of Sustainability and its evolving
Better education on sustainability is vital
interrelationship with Worth and Value.
if we want to achieve higher levels of social
well-being and security through a greater Valuation Surveyors will increasingly be required to
understanding of environmental values and interpret the valuation implications of a broad range
responsibilities and respect for others. The of triple bottom line issues. Such issues are likely to
commercial surveyor is in the right position with include the provision of low-carbon buildings with reduced
the right skills to influence, educate and enforce operation costs and the perceived improvement in
decisions, which not just reduce our carbon living/working standards delivered by property with strong
footprint but also have a significant impact on sustainability credentials.
the effectiveness and quality of our daily lives
Valuation Surveyors are often required to provide appraisal
Philip Challinor Member of the RICS advice in order to assist with the development of
Management Consultancy Faculty Board and investment/development strategy. Factors that are likely
RICS Presidential Commission on World Games to become increasingly important in the provision of such
advice include:

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

Protection and enhancement of the natural

environment: Appreciation of strategies that
Without doubt, the concept of Sustainability
incorporate and enhance the natural environment.
is one of the key challenges currently facing
Recognition of the local, regional and global benefits
valuers. Promoters of Sustainability point to the
of environmental management and potential impact this
added,or premium value such properties can
may have on a propertys economic performance.
offer, other observers the accelerated degree
Sustainable use of resources: Developing an of obsolescence non-Sustainable stock may find
understanding of the techniques and materials available itself subject to but it is for valuers to provide
to improve resource efficiency in constructing and the authoritative opinion.
operating buildings as well as acknowledging the
Whether providing valuation advice in
regeneration of existing buildings as an effective use
connection with a decision-making process
of materials.
such as the formulation of investment strategy,
Reduction of waste generation and responsible or submitting an opinion of value for loan
disposal of waste: within new and existing property. security or accounts purposes, Valuers will
Understanding future-proofing benefits and need to ensure they are accurately reflecting the
opportunities in achieving waste reduction in the markets approach to Sustainability. Developing
construction and operation of buildings. Valuers will a knowledge-base from which to provide this
increasingly be required to know what to look for on judgement is a fundamental responsibility for
site visits and appreciate the implications of waste all valuers
management systems as an operational tool.
Philip Parnell MRICS, Partner Investment
Reduced energy consumption: Understanding the Valuation and DJ Sustainability, Drivers Jonas
implications of buildings offering low energy credentials,
including total occupancy cost analysis and occupier
appeal/retention appreciation.

Sustainable land use and transportation planning

and management: Full appreciation of the location and
accessibility of the building, including the relative merits
of proximity to public transport, cycle routes and safe
walking tracks, as well as the transport needs of an
operational occupier business.

Sustainable design practices, including whole-life

costing: when considering the investment potential of
a property, valuers should offer an understanding of
sustainable design practices and the triple bottom line
benefits of incorporating long-term social and
environmental benefits into cost/worth analysis. The use
of such practices should be accounted for in appraisal
advice in terms of recognising the potential long-term
savings that are available from sustainable buildings.

Community development and social inclusion:

Valuers should increasingly refer and have regard
to the contextual fit of a property in its local and
wider community.

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

Part 3 Further resources

The resources below are intended to provide a starting Practice

point for further reading on sustainability. In general we Property Sustainability Matters: King Sturge,
have included websites or online documents in order to
provide ease of access, but the RICS is not responsible for A Green Profession?: RICS members and the
the existing content of these websites, or their continuity. Sustainability Agenda. RICS Research
Red man, Green Man Performance Indicators for
Urban sustainability: J Cox, D Fell, M Goodwin
3.1 General sustainability available through RICS Books 2002
One Planet Living by WWF and BioRegional
Points of contact
Association for Environment Conscious Building Development Gateway Foundation: Urban
(AECB) Environment: Challenges to Sustainability
Society for the Environment
English Partnerships urbanenvironment
Housing Corporation Sustainable Practice for the Facilities Manager by
Centre for Sustainability Sunil Shah published by Blackwell Publishing 2007
Sustainable Development Research Network. Lutzkendorf, T and Lorenz, D. (2005) 'Sustainable property investment: valuing sustainable buildings
RICS Findings in Built Environment Research Series through property performance assessment', Building Research & Information, 33(3), 212-234 O'Riordan, T, Cameron, J, and Jordan, A. (2001)
Environment Agency Reinterpreting the Precautionary Principle, Cameron
May, London
World Commission on Environment and Development,
Our common future (The Brundtland Report),
3.2 Natural environment and biodiversity
(Oxford University Press, New York, 1987)
Securing the Future UK Government Sustainable TCPA Biodiversity By Design Guide
Development Strategy. www.stustainable- _guide_lowres.pdf
UN Commission on Sustainable Development Friends of the Earth
Kyoto Protocol Community Biodiversity Development and
London Government Conservation Network Guiding Principles for Biodiversity in Development
Sustainable Development International enviornment
Scottish Executive Sustainable Development Policies Community Biodiversity Development and Conservation Network
Welsh Assembly Sustainable Development Policies 3.3 Climate change
The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review
Northern Ireland Sustainable Development Strategy
available from Cambridge University Press or
TCPA Climate Change By Design Guide

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

Climate Challenge 3.7 Community development/Social inclusion
Community Development Foundation
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working
Group report
Academy for Sustainable Communities
RICS Climate Change and UK Agriculture Report
Neighbourhood Renewal Unit
Government Respect Task Force
3.4 Sustainable design
Office of the Third Sector
Commission for Architecture and the Built
Environment (CABE)
Creating Sustainable Cities (Schumacher Briefings)
by Herbert Giradet published by Green Books 2006 3.8 Economic development
Centre for Sustainable Design
UNEP Financial Innovative Financing for
Sustainability CEO Briefing: The Materiality of Social,
Design Council
Environmental and Corporate Governance Issues to
TCPA Sustainable Design and Construction
Equity Pricing
Sustainable Urban Design
UNEP Finance Intiative property work stream
Regional Economic Development
3.5 Land use and transport
SusTrans UK Invest
Department for Transport
RICS Transport Development Areas Report 3.9 Energy
Human Hub
TCPA Sustainable Energy By Design
Sustainable Land Management
DEFRA Sustainable Energy
Sustainability, Land Use Planning and the
Environment: M Stallworthy available through RICS
books 2002
Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development
National Energy Foundation
3.6 Construction
Energy Linx
UK Green Building Council
World Green Building Council Energy Savings Trust
WRAP Construction programme Carbon Trust
Sustainable Construction http://www.sustainable-
BRE Sustainable Construction
Constructing for Sustainability, Construction Industry
Council 2003
DCLG Code for Sustainable Homes Guidance

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

3.10 Main Tools used in the UK and Europe

(this table is adapted from A Green Profession?: RICS Members and the Sustainability Agenda RICS Research 2007)

Key: Soc Covers Social Sustainability

Env Covers Environmental Sustainability
Econ Covers Economic Sustainability

Tool/Technique toolkits, other Property type Description (sustainability coverage)

BRE sustainability Checklist/toolkit Commercial and This checklist provides practical tools and indicators to
checklist for residential measure the sustainability of developments (both buildings
development and infrastructure) at the site or estate level (Soc, Env, Econ)

BRE green guide Specification Commercial, The Green Guide to Specification is an easy-to-use
to specification guide residential, publication, providing guidance for specifiers, designers
public and their clients on the relative environmental impacts of
over 250 elemental speficifations including roofs, walls,
and floors (Env)

BRE office scorer Rating system Commercial The tool compares major or complete refurbishment with
complete redevelopment, and redevelopment within an
existing faade (Env, Econ)

BREEAM Rating system Commercial BREEAM stands for the Building Research
and public Establishment Environmental Assessment method.
BREEAM is a method for assessing the environmental
quality of buildings. It considers design issues that affect
the global environment, local environment and the health
and well being of occupants (Env)

Ecohomes Rating system Residential EcoHomes is the residential version of BREEAM.

and public It provides a comprehensive rating for new, converted or
renovated homes, and covers both houses and
apartments (Env)

Envest 2 Software All Envest 2 is a software tool that simplifies the otherwise
tool/toolkit very complex process of designing buildings with low
environmental impact and whole life costs (Env)

Environmental Set of All International Association for Impact Assessment is a

Impact Assessment techniques forum for advancing innovation, development and
(IAIA) communication of best practice in impact assessment
(Env, Soc, Econ)

SEEDA Checklist/toolkit All This checklist is designed to be used by those

sustainability involved in planning or building sizeable developments
checklist from estates to urban villages and regeneration projects
(Env, Soc, Econ)

Surveying sustainability: a short guide for the property professional

About the authors

RICS Rachel Fisher

RICS is the leading source of land, property, construction and related environmental knowledge. We support 130 000
members worldwide, promote best practice, represent consumers interests and provide impartial advice to society,
businesses, governments and global organisations.

Forum for the Future Liz Coll and Lorna Pelly

Forum for the Future is the UKs leading sustainable development charity. We aim to show that a sustainable future
is both possible and desirable.

We work with forward looking organisations in business and the public sector to find practical ways to build a future
that is environmentally viable, socially just and economically prosperous.

Gleeds Jerry Percy

Gleeds has over 120 years experience in the property and construction industry and currently employs over 1250 people
in 18 countries across 5 continents making us one of the world's leading management and construction consultants.
Gleeds vision is to create a business that attracts the very best clients, projects and people in the industry. We are
committed to minimising any adverse impact on the environment and believe in creating a sustainable future for all.

RICS Presidential Commission on Sustainability

Chair: Dr Ann Heywood, Principle College of Estate Management
David Saul, Consultant
Jerry Percy, Gleeds
Philip Parnell, Drivers Jonas
Tim Lawrence, Taylor Woodrow
Jim Green, Baylight Properties
David Roberts, Igloo
Graham Capper, School of the Built Environment, Northumbria University
Barry Harper, Davis Langdon
Kathy Green, Consultant
Daniel Salisbury, Consultant
RICS Staff: Rachel Fisher
With thanks to: Philip Wilbourn, David Coulson, Paul Collins, Miles Keeping, Philip Challinor, Paul Bagust, Jill Craig,
and Rosemary Elder, for their support and contributions.


RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) is the largest

organisation for professionals in property, land, construction and
related environmental issues worldwide. We promote best practice,
regulation and consumer protection to business and the public.
With 130 000 members, RICS is the leading source of property
related knowledge, providing independent, impartial advice to
governments and global organisations.

RICS Asia Pacific

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