Council and Public Sector Buildings, Including Schools
This element of the South Somerset Sustainable Construction Project was slow in making progress initially, but has developed well in the latter stages.
Most progress has been achieved in integrating sustainable construction into the standard working procedures of the SSDC architect, as well in introducing SC considerations into the Corporate Priorities programme and recognising the direct links made by DETR between sustainable construction and Best Value.
- The sustainability of Council buildings (SSDC and SCC) needs to be addressed in a comprehensive and committed way. The Councils have to demonstrate by example if they want to promote sustainable construction - this will also increase efficiency in energy and water (lower running costs), and healthier buildings (for staff, other users);
- To achieve progress on Council buildings there is a need to focus on the type of building projects that constitute the majority of the Councils building programme (i.e. light industrial / commercial units and schools), as well as any ‘showpiece’ public buildings (e.g. Council offices, libraries).
- Free Design Advice Consultant’s Report (DETR funded via BRE) should be used where ever possible;
- The Councils need to make clear to preferred or approved partners involved in construction projects (e.g. architects, engineers, QSs and contractors) that sustainable construction issues must be addressed as a matter of course;
- The Councils must recognise that every single building project they are involved in should now be seeking to be a good practise example of sustainable construction, and that this is not a special consideration. This is a policy that Government guidance indicates should follow automatically from Agenda 21 and Best Value commitments.
This project has demonstrated that officer’s attitudes, standard working procedures, ‘up-to-dateness’ in thinking and corporate priorities are critical in determining the progress of any attempt to enable Council practises to evolve.
An exemplar eco-business park is under consideration. This offers the opportunity for ground breaking work and demonstrating that sustainable construction is appropriate in any situation.
- Council and public buildings offer a major opportunity to introduce a variety of local exemplar sustainable construction projects.
Recommended Targets for 2001:
- Formal adoption of an internal SSDC Guide to Sustainable Construction for Council and Public Buildings;
- All SSDC building projects to seek sustainable construction exemplar standards
- County Council adoption of sustainable design and construction for all its construction projects county-wide, with at least one exemplar project initiated in each District
- All SCC projects in South Somerset to seek exemplar standards
- The Councils should formally adopt policies that ensure that sustainable construction is the starting point for a) all local authority building projects, and b) local authority maintenance and refurbishment programmes.
- Schools should be a major focus for the County Council, but this should not mean avoiding sustainable construction for other County Council construction projects.