Peter Verwer

1 December 2011  – The Property Council of Australia has raised the bar on quality office buildings. Sustainably.

Its latest review of the quality office matrix, released today (Thursday) has made it official that a prime rated building in Australia also needs to be rated five star Green Star and carry a NABERS Energy rating.

To be rated premium grade, buildings also will now need to test on separate metrics for energy, water, waste and indoor environment quality.

Other elements will include new requirements for zone size in chilled beam airconditioning systems, new metrics for destination control systems in lifts and increased requirements for bicycle storage and change room facilities.

According to the Property Council, that’s the way the industry wants it.

Property Council chief executive officer Peter Verwer said the Guide to Office Building Quality (The Guide) is a market-driven matrix and the revision reflects an industry appetite for improved building performance from designers, owners, managers and occupants. The review, the first since 2006, was carried out by a panel of experts and included extensive industry consultation.

Don’t forget the bike racks

Mr Verwer said the guide is typically used as a benchmark for office buildings in Australia. butwas also attracting international attention.

“This guide is the most comprehensive of its kind – it has been recognised by industry associations internationally as a world-leading publication,” Mr Verwer said.

Mr Verwer said environmental criteria were first included in the 2006 Guide, and have now been expanded to reflect a more holistic view of sustainability.

“Many buildings have far surpassed the standards set in 2006, which were ambitious for that time.

“For instance, the 2012 edition of the Guide identifies five Star Green Star and NABERS Energy ratings as the benchmark for new Premium Grade buildings.”

“The expanded environmental performance metrics in the new guide raise the bar, but also demonstrate what industry already knows – sustainable design and management of office buildings has become part of core business.”

“This is more proof that the sector is driving innovation, and will continue to do so.”