Green building legislation ups costs and confusion

07 November 2007

European and UK legislation on planning regulations and building standards have already resulted in a 14 per cent increase in build costs, a figure which could rise to more than 60 per cent, if so-called, BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) standards of excellence are met.


The revelation by Miller Developments, a division of Miller, the UK 's largest privately owned property development and construction company, will put pressure on the Government to reassess policies such as the Merton Rule which stipulates that new developments must generate between 10 and 20 per cent of their energy needs through onsite renewable power.


Phil Miller, chief executive of Miller development, said: "There seem to be lots of authorities competing with each other to set higher targets without listening to the industry and finding out whether these targets are viable.


"European targets are now coming through in both planning and building regulations, but they are coming though in a very disorganised way."


Miller based his calculations on a notional 50,000sq ft office building. They suggest that just meeting current targets for on-site power generation would add 6 per cent to build costs, and achieving 27 per cent CO2 savings would add an extra 8 per cent.


The extra 14 per cent would be needed to pay for technology such as ground-source heating, high-performance glass and energy-efficient heating and cooling plants. If the new BREEAM guidelines are met, the costs would soar by 60 per cent.


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