When building new developments, a growing consideration for builders, tenants, owners, and investors is the building’s sustainability. Australia has developed a rating system that incorporates a variety of metrics to assess and compare the environmental impact of new developments. Sustainable buildings may cost more upfront for developers. However, this can be reflected in the price for buyers and tenants. This is due to long-term savings on costs such as heating, electricity, and water. But how does Australia’s building sustainability system work? What is the process to get a building certified as sustainable? If you are aiming to build sustainable developments, you may require a quantity surveyor report to assess the environmental impact of the building or undergo cost estimating at the start of the building process.

Rating Systems

The first step in understanding how Australia’s building sustainability rating system works is to look at the different rating systems in use. The most common rating systems in Australia are the Green Star rating system and the NABERS rating system. Vehicle fuel efficiency and appliance energy efficiency also use similar systems and metrics. Architects, builders, property owners, and government agencies make informed decisions when constructing, renovating, or developing a building based on these ratings.

Green Star Rating Systems:

The Green Star rating system is a voluntary rating system that assesses the environmental design and performance of a building. It considers factors such as energy efficiency, water efficiency, health and well-being, and indoor environment quality. The Green Building Council of Australia administers a rating system that is based on a 1–6-star scale, with 6 stars being the highest rating achievable. The legal requirements for new building developments mean they must have a 3-star (average) environmental rating or higher to ensure acceptable environmental quality for owners and occupiers (acceptable insulation etc.)

However, buildings can choose to satisfy certain optional criteria to achieve a higher rating. These criteria include the use of renewable energy sources, the reuse of materials, and the use of green building materials. A 4-star rated building must be “either net zero carbon in operations or a higher performer in energy, water, and health-related issues.” Meanwhile, a 6-star rated building is “highly efficient, fully powered by renewables, addresses a significant number of environmental and social issues and contributes to the community.” Green Star also offers rating systems for homes, however, these follow different criteria.

NABERS Rating System

NABERS is also a voluntary rating system, designed specifically to assess the energy efficiency of commercial buildings, not detached homes. This includes sites such as offices, hotels, shopping centres, hospitals, aged care facilities, and high-density buildings. The rating system is based around 6 stars, administered by the National Australian Built Environment Rating System, a government organisation. There are 5 categories within the rating system: – Energy, Water, Carbon Neutral, Waste, and Indoor environment. Since the implementation of the system 20 years ago. NABERS customers have ‘saved an average of 30-40% on their energy over 10 years.’ A significant reduction in cost over time. Using higher quality products to construct the buildings also means less depreciation over time and the buildings can last further into the future.

Quantity Surveyor Reports

Australia requires a quantity surveyor to assess all buildings for sustainability ratings. They assess the materials, design, construction, cost, and quality of the project and provide a comprehensive report on the energy efficiency of the building. This report will include an analysis of the building’s energy systems and components, including heating and cooling, lighting, ventilation, and hot water systems, alongside recommendations on how to improve the energy efficiency further. Quantity Surveyor Reports are also utilised prior to building construction to assess community impact and cost estimation for the sustainable features.

Disclosure and Transparency within Quantity Surveyor Reports

In order to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the rating system, Australia requires that all buildings be rated under a uniform system and that the ratings be disclosed to the public. This means that any person can access the rating of a building, as well as the quantity surveyor’s report. Quantity surveyor reports are then audited by a public agency such as NABERS to ensure accuracy in the data displayed, and that buildings aren’t receiving bias or unfair ratings to skew results.

Do you need a Quantity Surveyor Report for your development?

At Section 94, our team of highly qualified quantity surveyors can help organise all the required and recommended quantity surveyor reports for your developments. Whether it involves tax depreciation schedules, cost estimates, progress claims, timeline organisation, or Section 94 contributions. There is no point wasting time and money on your development, organise a quantity surveyor report today.

With over a decade of industry experience, our qualified building quantity surveyors are AIQS certified with a fast turnaround time and clear communication. Give us a call today at 0413 953 869 or email us at info@section94.com.au to discuss our quality budget services for residential and commercial builds.