SKA environmental assessment for two branches Nando’s restaurants: New build – 1, Buckingham Parade, Stanmore and refurbishment at 113 Baker St, London
With its well-publicised policy of recycling all its cooking oil, composting its food waste and using reclaimed wood in its dining areas, popular restaurant chain Nando’s is ahead of many of its rivals when it comes to sustainable practices.
But its goal is to go further still and set itself apart from other eateries with its green credentials, a great marketing strategy to boost its appeal, particularly to sustainability-savvy millennials.
Staff are educated in energy issues and patrons regularly kept updated on environmental actions undertaken by the company.
To ensure it has captured all best practice, the chain asked Syntegra to assess two of its branches, a new-build and a refurbishment, informally against a SKA assessment.
SKA Rating is an environmental assessment method for sustainable non-domestic fit-outs, led and owned by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). It allows informal self-assessment of the environmental performance of a fit-out, providing clear guidance on good practice in fit-outs and how to implement them.
It covers eight categories (listed below), each consisting of related Good Practice Measures which provide guidance on implementing sustainable non-domestic fit-outs.
- Energy & CO2
For a fit-out to be eligible for a SKA rating, all Compulsory Good Practice Measures must be met. The SKA Retail Compulsory Measures are:
- Designing Out Waste
- CCS Registration
- Reduce Total Waste In Use
- Building User Guide
- Recyclable Waste Storage Space
- Site Waste Management Plan
- Increase Recycling of Waste In Use
- Reduce Construction & Demolition
- Waste Sent To Landfill
- Increase Recycled C&D Waste
- Reduce Fit-Out Water Use
- Construction Phase CO2 Emissions
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) Monitors
- Display Energy Certificates
- Fit-Out VOC Monitors
SKA can be carried out at three stages – design (the target), handover (what’s been done and how it will operate) and occupancy (a year after completion, a review of how a fit-out has performed in use against its original brief). Gold, silver and bronze standards are awarded according to the number of criteria met – additional marks are available the more optional measures are implemented.
By the end of the occupancy stage, if one has been targeted, it should have a gold rating which shows the operation is how it was envisaged at the beginning.
SKA involves discussions with designers and contractors about specifications the company wanted and what they actually got.
For example, during the handover-style assessment we conducted for Nando’s, we learned the clients had asked for reclaimed wood to be used to fit in with other earthy elements internally. The contractor, in fact, used a mix of reclaimed and distressed virgin wood.
Despite the design intent, this did not meet SKA criteria. It was met in the specification but not in the fit-out itself – this was a key learning moment for the company. Stringent specification is often required to ensure contractors scrutinise their supply chains for the project.
A Syntegra spokesman said: ‘We pointed out the difference between the specification and reality.
‘We make companies aware of what they’re getting – it’s a valuable information gathering exercise which is a benefit to major companies with multiple sites and they can factor findings into their future budgets.’
Many companies don’t realise the significance of building user guides – booklets telling users how the building should operate to achieve all the efficiencies of the design, eg setting boiler timer, how the lights work and how to control consumption. If they haven’t got one staff are aware of, they don’t qualify for a SKA rating.
Assessors check every light fitting and check what is and isn’t SKA compliant. Optimal lighting efficiency typically comprises of low energy lighting and controls, motion sensors on freezers and toilets.
The same level of scrutiny applies to all aspects of a fit-out, even the furniture – What materials have been used in the product? How were these sourced? How and where was it made? Are there better alternatives and why haven’t these been used?
Also for SKA gold, any paint used on site must have an eco label or be 90 per cent recycled content. It has to be certified and documented and made available to assessors.
‘There’s a lot of checking in contractor records and supply chain details,’ a Syntegra spokesman said. ‘We advise where clarification is sought. This highlights what can be done and the level of details needed.’
*While both branches received a theoretical bronze rating according to the process we went through, we advised them that both were capable of reaching Gold by implementing our recommendations.