Participation in CEN TC 350 (sustainability of construction works) - WG4 Economic Performance Assessment of Buildings
The European Commission has set the goal of attaining a single European market for green products. This common market is based on mutual rules for evaluating the environmental impacts of products. Therefore, the CEN (Comité Européen de Normalisation) was assigned with the task of developing a standard to evaluate the integrated effectiveness of buildings during their life cycle. Since 2005, various working groups (WG) of CEN´s Technical Committee (TC) 350 have been dealing with different aspects of sustainability.
- WG 1: Describing the environmental quality of buildings. Using environmental declarations for construction products.
- WG 3: Describing the environmental quality of construction products, collecting data related to the environmental quality of construction products and communicating these issues.
- WG 4: Establishing a framework for describing the environmental quality of buildings
- WG 5: Establishing a framework for describing the social quality of buildings
ASI-AG 011.04 "Umweltbezogene Bauanforderungen" is Austria´s mirror committee for standardization.
Contents and Objectives
The WG 4´s objective is to develop a standard for describing the economic quality of buildings. The description of economic quality is defined by two standards:
- EN 15643-4 Sustainability of architectural works - Evaluation of the sustainability of buildings -Part 4: Frame conditions regulating the evaluation of economic quality
- EN 16627 Sustainability of architectural works - Evaluation of the economic quality of buildings - methods (draft)
The EN 15643 is the framework document defining the method for evaluating economic aspects and other aspects related to sustainability (ecology, social aspects). Eventually the entire evaluation of sustainability shall rest on its three pillars - ecology, economy and social-related aspects. Thus, the methods for evaluating need to be adapted in a way that they harmonise with every single pillar. This standard is available since 2012.
The method was developed in part 2 of EN16627 to determine the indicators for Economic Performance . The year 2014 was essential in the development of the method.
The main steps in the standard´s development were taken in 2013. Subsequently, the CEN Enquiry was held to develop the draft for EN 16627. The WG 4 processed more than 200 comments of the individual national standardization committees. In 2014, these comments were evaluated and some of them were integrated. Then, it was sent to the national standardization institutes for their final vote.
Results and Conclusions
For the first half of 2014, the CEN TC 350´s WG4 incorporated the comments of the CEN Enquiry. The CEN Management Centre received the final draft during the finals of June 2014. The national standardization institutes obtained the standard the following month. They will now have to submit their final vote and decide whether the draft is accepted or not. Two indicators help evaluating the economic quality of buildings.
- Life Cycle Costs (obligatory)
- Life Cycle Success (voluntary)
The Life Cycle Costs embrace all costs starting at the building´s purchase and the project´s initiation to the building´s demolition and disposal. The Life Cycle Success additionally comprises revenues and every income induced by the building. Here also classic sources of income such as from renting the building are considered. These revenues do not only depend on the quality of the building, but are also influenced by the location of the object.
The EN 16627 focuses on the indicators of Life Cycle Costs which basically depend on the building´s quality. It is obligatory to determine this indicator when evaluating the economic quality of the building. The the Life Cycle Success may be determined voluntarily.
Now, since the EN 16627 has been completed all necessary standards are available to evaluate the sustainability of buildings within Europe in a harmonized way.
If the final vote approves, the standard will be published in 2015. Due to the other work group´s developments, it may be assumed that the WG 4 will carry out further projects. For instance, the development of a user´s guide for implementing the standard or the adaption of the standard in the foreseeable future. This depends heavily on the standard being implemented into practise and practitioners giving clear feedback and pointing out that the norm requires adaptions.