In 30 years most of us will still be working in currently existing buildings. How do you future proof your property portfolio?

Surveying your property portfolio is the first step to understanding your building envelope, energy, and water infrastructures. It is a starting point that will highlight the initiatives that you have already undertaken and outline those that will strengthen and compliment your estate further.

At DB Group we always like to start our surveys with a positive and end with a positive. We do not want to be critical of failures, challenges and issues experienced, however prefer to work with the tools you already have and suggest remedies that will improve the services delivered to your site and beyond.

The most important aspect behind surveying is to understand the brief. Are you looking to reduce consumption, improve your EPC rating or achieve Net Zero Targets? Understanding the brief will help the surveyor to focus on a particular topic although on most occasions allow us to recommend products and services that may not have been considered.

We have listed some of the topics that we cover within our surveys:

  • Building Condition
  • Plant Condition
  • MID Metering – Landlord/Tenant
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Monitoring & Targeting
  • Optimisation
  • Compliance
  • Renewables
  • Carbon Management Platforms
  • Transport
  • Water Conservation
  • Metering & Sub-Metering
  • Electricity Capacity
  • BeMS Optimisation
  • Behaviour Change
  • Communication Strategies

We call our visits observational reporting. They allow us to walk round with the site representative to discuss the challenges, projects already installed, those currently being discussed and those that have not quite worked out. Its ultimately creating a fact find.

The fact find allows us to detail information in relation to the building, health & safety requirements, potential projects, environmental obligations that the company adhere to and to take notes and attach images taken that will help us to build a report for management to review post survey.

The observation report is not an investment grade survey, it allows us to listen and take reference from the people who operate the site and so we can recommend solutions that will have engagement and appetite from the beginning. What we don’t want to do is recommend solutions that are unrealistic and unmanageable.

The report will highlight a number of opportunities to optimise your property portfolio, some of which will have no impact to cost, some with short to medium term investment and those longer- term aspirations which may not be possible at the moment in terms of budget or resource.

We find that creating a longer list of projects that can be narrowed down to a smaller more select group can then allow a further focus to review items such as funding models, project management and timescales.

“Understanding how your building operates, what challenges you face and what solutions are available to compliment your estate is the starting point to change. Surveying is critical to highlight the changes required”

Bryan McAlpine, Head of DB Enviro

If we were to think of an example that would explain how a survey may change the dynamics of the project, then EV Charging would be one that has many implications. A simple thing such as an EV charger can ask the following questions:

  • What size of charger do you want?
  • Would you like a ground mounted or wall mounted solution?
  • What security features would you like?
  • Do you have an existing 3 phase supply on site?
  • If not, will you need to upgrade the supply?
  • Is there a cost to upgrade the supply?
  • Will ground works be required?
  • Do you have the available electricity capacity to install a 50kw charger?
  • Are you going to charge visitors for the use of the chargers?
  • Are funding models available in my region or country?
  • How is the local infrastructure likely to change by 2030?

There are so many items to consider and remedies to review such as if we install solar, can this power the EV chargers and mitigate the risk and cost of having to increase the electricity capacity and sub-station size. All of a sudden, the project has grown but with free solar available then what’s not to like.

A simple EV charging survey can lead into a combined EV and Solar project which would be complimentary to your existing project, reduce your reliance on the grid supply, help with your own Net Zero targets and should you be a supplier to other organisations then helping with their scope 3 emissions.

This brings me onto Net Zero. How will your organisation achieve Net Zero? Surveying will continue to be a critical stage of identifying the solutions that will help you to achieve what you have defined for Net Zero. Will your targets include scopes 1, 2 & 3 or maybe scopes 1 & 2 to begin with and 3 to follow depending on the success of scopes 1 & 2?

Net Zero falls into two categories. The first being to reduce your consumption as much as possible by focussing on the more straight forward solutions reducing consumption via implementing solutions such as LED lighting, domestic water from washrooms, variable speed drives and behavioural change programs. The second is the most complex. The residual emissions which are the emissions released into the atmosphere once you have exhausted all the simpler solutions.

Surveying can have many variables depending upon the brief, budget and resource. At DB Group our vision is to work with the tools you have, recommend solutions that will compliment your building and give you the confidence that what we have delivered considers future changes in regulation and legislation for your property portfolio.

Even better, we don’t charge our clients for our observation reports. This service is an added value solution that continues to build trust and confidence in our ability to meet with your utility and environmental obligations. Take steps towards future proofing your property portfolio with DBG.

If you want to read more on Net Zero, check out The Climate Change Committee’s page on reaching Net Zero.