Industry Support for Design for Performance Ramps Up

19 June 2019
Industry Support for Design for Performance Ramps Up

Industry Support for Design for Performance Ramps Up

19 June 2019

Following the announcement of the ground-breaking partnership between the BBP and NABERS the Design for Performance (DfP) initiative continues to build momentum with the publication of its latest Report and the addition of 13 new partners joining the collaborative effort to overcome the energy performance gap.

Derwent London and Stanhope are the latest developers to join the existing DfP Pioneers Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, Great Portland Estates, Landsec, Legal & General, Lendlease, Nuveen Real Estate and The Crown Estate who have committed to trial  pioneer the design-for-performance approach on (at least) one new office development.

The critical role of engineers in delivering better buildings has also been recognised with 11 leading engineering and building consultancies committing to become DfP Delivery Partners – AECOM, Arup, Atkins, Built Physics, BuroHappold Engineering, Cundall, Hoare Lea, KJ Tait, Ramboll, TFT and Watkins Payne. Each Delivery Partner commits to advocating DfP to their clients, supporting the development of the initiative and upskilling their teams to be able to support developers committed to delivering energy performance outcomes for new offices.

The Design for Performance initiative builds on the work of the BBP and the world leading NABERS scheme to address the performance gap and improve the transparency and accountability of energy performance in new build offices. Critical success factors of the design-for-performance approach are setting energy performance targets at project inception, embedding these within the supply chain for delivery and verifying performance when the building is occupied.

The announcement of these latest supporters is accompanied by the launch of the report Design For Performance: a new approach to delivering energy efficient offices in the UK. The report outlines the key learnings and progress of this ambitious project to date, including:

  • A Feasibility Study, which examined the hugely transformational Australian NABERS scheme for new offices and identified the key elements which contributed to its success.
  • A Pilot Programme to test the key success factors of a design-for-performance approach on real-life development projects in the UK.
  • A road map for outlining the governance structures, market demand and industry skills necessary to deliver a design-for-performance approach in the UK.

BBP CEO Sarah Ratcliffe said ‘In light of the UK Government commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, DfP provides a tangible and practical market-based response to the performance gap.  It matches rhetoric with action enabling building owners to deliver better buildings that can secure significant improvements in energy efficiency and provides a genuine pathway to zero carbon offices in the UK.'

‘As an original supporter of the DfP project, Stanhope is delighted to become a DfP Pioneer. We hope that by participating in the Design for Performance initiative we can help develop an industry-wide method of improving building performance which in turn should lead to significantly lower owner and occupier carbon emissions. The DfP approach is very much aligned with Stanhope’s commitment to designing and delivering buildings efficiently and responsibly for the future.’ Rob Watts, Operations Director, Stanhope

A complementary, more detailed technical report on the Pilot Programme is also available here.





The Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) is a not for profit collaboration of the UK’s leading property owners who are working together to improve the sustainability of the UK’s existing commercial buildings. The organisation's aim is to deliver market transformation through sustainability leadership and knowledge sharing across the UK property industry. The BBP currently has 31 members who represent in excess of £250bn Assets Under Management (AUM).

The BBP has 31 Members who include Aberdeen Standard Investment, Aviva Investors, Blackstone, British Land, Bruntwood, Cadogan, Canary Wharf Group, Capital & Regional, CBRE Global Investors, CLS Holdings plc, Cording Real Estate Group, DWS, Great Portland Estates, Grosvenor, Hammerson, Hermes Investment Management, intu Properties, Landsec, LaSalle Investment Management, Legal & General Investment Management, Lendlease Investment Management, Low Carbon Workplace, M&G Real Estate, Norges Bank Real Estate, SEGRO, Shaftesbury, Schroder Real Estate, Nuveen Real Estate, The Crown Estate, Transport for London and Workspace.



The Design for Performance Project is an industry initiative which was initially supported, funded and overseen by 22 Project Partners, including: ARUP, BBP, BCO, BSRIA, BPF, British Land, CIBSE, The Crown Estate, BEIS, EDSL, Energy Action, Laing O’Rourke, LGIM Real Assets, NG Bailey, New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage, Stanhope, Nuveen Real Estate, Transport for London, UKGBC, UBT, Verco, Willmott Dixon. Overall industry funding was matched 85% by the Usable Buildings Trust charity, which enabled extensive input from leading experts in Australia.

The energy efficiency of new offices in the UK is subject to Building Regulations Part L and represented in market transactions by Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs). However, these mechanisms do not produce a building that is energy efficient in operation as focus is placed on design and technology that improves predicted building performance, not on achieving directly measurable improvements in performance whilst the building is in operation.

The DfP initiative aimed to change the way new office developments are designed in the UK, by exploring the applicability and opportunity of developing and testing a framework similar to the hugely successful Australian NABERS Commitment Agreement. A feasibility study was completed in May 2016 assessing whether a DfP approach similar to the Commitment Agreement Protocol used by NABERS could be applied in the UK. The project then entered into an 18-month pilot to test the ingredients of such a protocol on real office developments.