Building model for life – the future of property
As regulation tightens and landlords are increasingly pressured to ensure their properties are compliant, the commercial property industry must transform. Inefficiency and endless red tape mean that whenever property changes hands or there are significant structural changes to a building, full-scale analysis has to be undertaken. One solution is to create a building model for life.
A building model for life creates a digital library of building specifications, allowing for a range of compliance analyses to be undertaken and stored. This data can be regularly updated to reflect building development or changes in environmental legislation. Once a model is built, it provides the landlord, tenant or independent contractor the data necessary to perform a full-scale assessment.
Ownership of the data would simply transfer between owners at the point of sale, giving the landlord authority to permit energy assessors, M and E consultants, right of light specialists or other contractors to use the data. This is similar to the notion of a property data warehouse, or a property logbook, but one where a whole range of compliance analysis can be undertaken.
With each change to a property and its characteristics, HVAC, lighting, layout and activity will cause fundamental change to the EPC, the O+M, PPM and energy performance. Therefore it should be at the discretion of the property owner as to whether they give access. This could be done under the supervision of a team on behalf of the property owner. When edits are made to the digital building model, key strategic parties would be notified, allowing them to view and assess the impact on the property, streamlining the analysis process.
The process could be used on any type and size of the property. If a prospective tenant has developed a strategy to fit out a commercial property, the landlord could use the digital building model in tandem with the tenant to assess its impact on the EPC rating. The data stored could be used to strategise on how to efficiently use the space.
The value of the data collected would greatly outweigh the initial cost and would reduce the likelihood of nasty surprises and unnecessary landlord costs. One example is the current EPC analysis method. It is rare that we go back to renew EPCs for a property. Instead, we go to buildings where a previous analysis was undertaken by another assessor. Often when using this method we get significantly different results. Using a digital building model would eradicate this issue.
In a situation where a strained relationship has arisen between tenant and landlord, the building model creates a degree of engagement that works for all. Eliminating the long administrative chain would provide greater focus and analysis on the needs of both parties, generating low-cost options for both tenant and landlord.
The increasingly antiquated systems that surround the commercial property are in desperate need of rejuvenation. As legislation shifts further toward preventing climate catastrophe, property stakeholders will also have to adapt. Achievable changes like a building model for life are a necessary first step towards the future of the property.
In light of the target B rating for EPCs for MEES compliance in 2030, the model for life would allow for refinement and upgrade as the building improves along the way, and also allows for the impacts of changes in compliance methodology to be quickly understood.
Tune into the Place North West COP26 podcast episode where MEES Solutions run through five easy ways to improve your EPC rating: