Scope of the Project
Provide a Home Quality Mark (HQM) assessment report to support a detailed planning application for a proposed housing development in Romford, Essex. The proposed development includes 45 units built in four typologies, and one caretaker’s cottage. The HQM report shows the impact of the proposed development on the occupants’ health and wellbeing, and enables the housing developers to showcase the sustainability and quality of the new homes. HQM has been developed by BRE, the UK’s leading building science centre, and is part of the BREEAM family of quality and sustainability standards.
Tools for Task Implementation
The assessment scored a wide range of criteria based on the key interests of the occupants, developers and planners to demonstrate the quality and sustainability of the project. The results of the assessment showed whether the proposed development met HQM minimum requirements.
Challenges for Task Implementation
As the HQM report was for a proposed and not completed development, some of the criteria could not be assessed until the building work is finished. For example the visual defects inspection to ensure the home is finished and habitable. In some cases the assessment relies on the developer’s commitment to sustainable development rather than actions already taken, such as providing demonstrations to occupants when the move in so that they know how to operate and maintain their home.
The eco-audit gave an action plan based on the six aspects of the centre’s environmental performance, and where it can be further improved by implementing additional sustainability recommendations. These were listed in order of priority as ongoing, short, medium and long-term actions, and included:
- Sustainable transport options
- Ecological risks and opportunities
- Private or shared space
- Flood risk assessment
- Indoor pollutants
- Sustainable materials
- Recyclable waste
- Internal and external water usage
- Considerate construction
- Minimising construction site impacts
- Construction record – inspection and completion
- Site waste management
- Customers experience – sustainable management
- Post-occupancy Evaluation (POE)
The Anna Freud National Centre for Children is an influential local institution. By adopting the recommendations listed in the eco-audit it will not only improve the environmental impact of its own building but inspire local people and organisations to adopt more sustainable practices too. For example, increasing awareness about various environmentally-friendly travel schemes such as cycle to work, bike loan and season ticket loan schemes.
Benefits for Clients
Sustainability is a key element of the Kantor Centre of Excellence, and the building is going through its final BREEAM certification with a target of ‘excellent’ for construction. The centre also aims to show continued commitment to the environment and is considering BREEAM In-Use.
The report shows the Anna Freud National Centre for Children is aware of the environmental challenges organisations face when managing businesses and and buildings, as well as its role regarding sustainable practices. It recommends this is made public by including environmental sections in its annual report.