Influence of BREEAM on commercial building users of small and medium enterprises in refurbished buildings

Turner, N 2021, Influence of BREEAM on commercial building users of small and medium enterprises in refurbished buildings , MPhil thesis, University of Salford.

Download (2MB) | Preview


BREEAM has been in existence since the early 1990s, currently there are over 550,000 BREEAM certified buildings with over 2 million registered globally (NBS, 2016). According to Rhodes, C, Ward, M (2020) there are 5.9million Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the UK with many of them looking more to BREEAM for a myriad of reasons including Planning requirements and obtaining funding. This could result in the number of BREEAM rated commercial buildings growing exponentially over the coming years. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) suggest that the lifecycle of property is in four distinct stages from planning/procurement to construction to occupation and finally to demolition. The National Building Specification (NBS) estimate the design life of commercial buildings to be around 50 years (NBS 2015). Much of this period relates to occupation, therefore, mistakes and omissions in the design can have a profound affect for the life of the building. Currently, research is limited on how building users feel, behave and interact with environmentally rated buildings. The following thesis analyses the responses from building users who have firstly experienced working in a none-BREEAM rated commercial building, as a benchmark, and now work in a BREEAM rated building. The focus of the thesis is primarily Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) where the take up from BREEAM is gathering traction. Using a case study methodology qualitative data were obtained by conducting in-depth interviews and analysing the supplied documentation across a pilot study and a case study. This included questions relating to; awareness of BREEAM, the services in the building, thoughts around travel and recycling. Interviewees were also asked about their sustainable behaviour at home as a comparison. Responses were analysed using Nvivo. Initial findings indicate that when BREEAM credits are incorrectly selected and applied to the building they have a negative impact on building users. Coupled with this is the level of automation required within BREEAM to achieve the higher ratings, as this was causing levels of discomfort and attracting complaints. It was also recognised that the assessment is seldom integrated into the working lives of the building users when many of them having little awareness of BREEAM. The complaints identified in this study were such that a separate complaints map was produced to capture that data. This culminated in the production of a framework to assist with integrating BREEAM into the daily lives of building users by providing policy interventions at key stages. The study also alludes to a four-pillar decision making process to aide SME’s with environmental sign-posts when acquiring new and managing existing space. The four pillars are namely tangibility, feedback, useable benefits and training. Following refinement and coding of the raw data loose grouping was applied. Emerging themes of each group suggested that; further training on BREEAM features is a need, feedback on the building and wider features of BREEAM is a need, where outcomes are tangible building users are more likely to engage, and finally where building users gain a benefit, regardless of BREEAM but helpful towards implementation, building users are likely to engage. This research provides a foundation for further research in the area of occupation satisfaction in BREEAM rated buildings.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Contributors: Cooper, JC (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of the Built Environment
Funders: University of Salford
Depositing User: N Turner
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2021 14:44
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 14:47

Actions (login required)

Edit record (repository staff only) Edit record (repository staff only)


Downloads per month over past year