Rider Levett Bucknall Challenging Approaches to ‘Green Building’ Concepts

Posted By Mike Padgett


Sept. 9, 2009

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Global property and construction consultant Rider Levett Bucknall is challenging owners and builders to rethink their approach to green building practices. While sustainable design standards such as LEED, BREEAM and Green Star are a welcome step in the right direction, they only deal with part of what is a much larger problem.

“When considering a new construction project, the real question should be: why are we using finite resources? What are the alternatives?” said Julian Anderson, president of Rider Levett Bucknall. “We are witnessing a new ‘Age of Environmental Thrift,’ where the industry should be considering how the same outcome could be achieved using less resources. This new shift emphasizes preventing waste by making better use and extending the life of existing assets.”

Rider Levett Bucknall is urging the industry to consider new and proven techniques when considering building or renovating an existing building:

• Fully evaluate the service life of a building with a view to preserve and extend its intrinsic value.

• Carefully balance capital costs with ongoing operation and maintenance costs as well as environmental impact.

• Benchmark the quality of buildings to optimize their intended use.

The company is introducing three initiatives to address the challenges faced by owners in this new environmental paradigm. In addition, Rider Levett Bucknall is offering free training on the services to U.S. Government entities, so that they can quickly realize significant cost and environmental impact savings on public projects.

Maximizing the Life of Existing Buildings

As long as a building is still standing, it retains some value. Rider Levett Bucknall has developed the RElifing® model, a mathematical tool that enables an owner to determine how much value and life remains in a building, and how much money needs to be spent to extend the life of the building to certain milestones. When this analysis is compared to the cost to build new, owners have a quantitative tool to determine an investment option that will makes the best use of financial and functional resources. RElifing® saved the State of Arizona $26 million dollars in the first six months alone and has the potential to save considerably more for other government entities or private institutional owners.

Life Cycle Cost + Carbon Modeling

The technique of analyzing the life cycle cost of a building has been practiced for many years in the energy industry and shipbuilding, but has not gained traction with most government or private building construction projects. Life Cycle Cost analysis from Rider Levett Bucknall enables an owner to compare and balance capital, operation and maintenance costs in order to develop facilities that are cost effective to build and operationally efficient over their lifespan. The analysis can also pre-estimate usage of power and water, along with the carbon footprint, to give a true indication of the environmental impact of a building.

Building Quality Assessment.

Through work done in conjunction with Massey University, Rider Levett Bucknall discovered that it is possible to measure the quality of a building; not whether it is aesthetically pleasing or in a good location, but rather if it is a good quality building compared to its peers. This assessment offers a comparative tool to evaluate the relative quality of multiple buildings and facilitate best-value decision making. Rider Levett Bucknall’s Building Quality Assessment offering evaluates building quality based on 31 standard criteria and provides a resulting ‘quality grade,’ along with recommendations to achieve benchmarked standards and identification of areas of deficiency.

“Armed with these new tools, methods and information, building owners can make well informed decisions that represent their best long-term financial and sustainable interests,” Anderson said.

About Rider Levett Bucknall

Rider Levett Bucknall offers independent, unbiased expert advice on all matters relating to the management of the cost and time of construction. As one of the largest global practices for property and construction consulting, the company consists of 2,000 professionals in 80 offices around the globe, serving the four regions of the Americas, Asia, Oceania, and EMEA. Utilizing its vast experience, professionally trained employees and pooled intellectual property across offices, the company provides cost management, project management and advisory services for a multitude of clients at the local, regional, and multinational levels. For more information, visit www.rlb.com.

Sep 9th, 2009

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