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SKA Rating

SKA Rating

SKA rating is an environmental assessment method, benchmark and standard for non-domestic fit-outs, led and owned by RICS.

SKA rating helps landlords and tenants assess fit-out projects against a set of sustainability good practice criteria. It is estimated that 11% of UK construction spending is on fit-outs and that buildings may have 30-40 fit-outs during their lifecycle.

Project teams interested in fitting out spaces in an environmentally sustainable way can use the SKA rating method to:

  • Carry out an informal self- assessment of the environmental performance of their fit-out.
  • Commission a quality-assured assessment and certificate from an RICS-accredited SKA assessor.
  • Obtain clear guidance on good practice in fit-out and how to implement it.
  • Benchmark the performance of fit-outs against each other and the rest of the industry.

Find out more

  • SKA comprises more than a hundred 'good practice' measures covering energy and CO2 emissions, waste, water, materials, pollution, wellbeing and transport. An example of a good practice measure is that when wooden flooring is stripped out, it should be sent for re-use to a salvage yard instead of to landfill.

    Key aspects of the rating system

    • Flexible scoping: match the rating to the scope of the fit-out 
    • Easy-to-use online tool
    • A label that is clear and easy to understand: Bronze, Silver and Gold, plus a percentage score 
    • A formal, quality assured scheme for those who require a certificate
    • Applicable to offices 
    • Applicable to retail

    Explore the SKA Rating online tool

    Assessment process

    As with any fit-out project, the SKA assessment process is broken into three stages:

    1. Design/Planning. At this stage we identify the measures and issues in scope. Once the Measures in Scope are identified, the client has the opportunity to prioritise which measures they want to achieve and make a decision against design, cost, programme and benefit, and add them into the scope of works for the project. This will also set the environmental performance standards for how the project is delivered, in terms of waste and energy in use, etc. Then, if the specification demonstrates that these measures are likely to be achieved, they will be reflected in an indicative rating.
    2. Delivery/Construction. This involves the gathering of evidence from O&M manuals and other sources to prove that what has been specified has actually been delivered, and that the performance and waste benchmarks have been achieved.
    3. Occupancy Stage Assessment. Finally, there is the option to review how well a fit-out has performed in use against its original brief from a year after completion.
  • SKA rating is designed to be of particular use for occupiers but has benefits for other property stakeholders, including landlords, developers, consultants, fit-out contractors, and members of the supply chain.

    For occupiers and tenants

    • Measure sustainability impact accurately. First system, which measures 100% of the sustainability of your fit-out and decides what is most important. The rating is influenced entirely by what you choose to do, not by what has been done in the past.
    • Manage the bottom line. A decision-making tool which ranks the different aspects of a fit-out based on what will have the biggest impact on sustainability. It can be used to help the design team achieve maximum sustainability for a given budget.
    • Follow good practice. Help achieve a measure of sustainability for fit-outs.
    • Legal/statutory compliance. Help to ensure company directors, in line with Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006, to promote the success of the company and have a  'regard to the impact of the company's operations on the community and the environment'.
    • Helps with the decision-making process. Rates what is actually important and makes the biggest impact in terms of sustainability, adding another dimension beyond cost and quality to assess fit-out projects.
    • Are you ISO 14001 accredited? A SKA certificate helps you ensure that a fit-out project is rated accurately and can be used to support your environmental management system.
    • Customer, investor and stakeholder perception. A SKA rating certificate demonstrates that your company takes sustainability seriously and has achieved a standard with your property. This can feature in annual reports, environmental policy or tender documentation, or be displayed in a building.
    • Staff engagement. Many employees increasingly place a value on a company's green credentials, and wish to work in high-quality spaces. A SKA rating can be used to reinforce staff morale and complements other CSR activity.

    For developers and landlords

    • Use SKA rating to set targets, use the formal assessment process to assure yourself that target performance standards are met, and finally use the certificate to report performance to stakeholders
    • Benchmark the sustainability of fit-outs across a portfolio of buildings
    • Include the use of the RICS SKA rating in 'Green Lease' provisions to help drive up the sustainability of properties or protect a building already certified under a whole building assessment method
    • Sustainability increasingly makes good business sense. Research demonstrates an expected increase in the asset value of labelled low-carbon buildings compared with standard speculative buildings

    For consultants

    • Embed SKA rating in your standard processes to demonstrate that you follow a sustainable specification and procurement process for fit-outs
    • Use the SKA rating tool and datasheets to support the delivery of professional advice to clients on good practice in sustainable fit-outs, and to assess their designs and projects
    • Offer SKA rating certificated assessments to clients who wish to demonstrate they have achieved a more sustainable fit-out through the SKA rating accredited assessors scheme

    For contractors

    • Use the assessment process and related guidance to make your design, specification, procurement and construction practices more environmentally sustainable
    • Demonstrate your sustainability credentials to clients and consultants by making the targeting of standards under SKA rating part of your standard tender process
  • Skansen is an interior construction company dedicated to creating outstanding working environments. In particular, Skansen is committed to environmental best practice in minimising the environmental impact of our construction projects and operations generally.

    In 2005, Skansen initiated a research project with RICS and AECOM to establish whether it was possible to measure either the environmental impact of fit-outs, or measure or codify good environmental practice on fit-out projects in order to remove the ambiguity prevalent in the fitting out and refurbishment industry. The result of this project was SKA rating.

    Skansen continues to be an active SKA rating development partner.