SKA rating explained


SKA rating is an environmental assessment tool, standard and benchmark for non-domestic sustainable fit-outs, operated by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

SKA rating is an adaptable way for any team working on a building space to check how environmentally effective their project plans are.

By using SKA rating tools, project teams can get a firm idea of the “green” performance of their work through an informal self-assessment but can also contract another assessor approved by RICS to carry out a quality-assured assessment with certification.

The SKA rating system also allows building teams to check and find best guidance on good practice in any project along with clear ideas on effective implementation.

Equally useful, a project team can check the performance of any-fit through with benchmark tests against other internal projects and the wider industry.

High costs

SKA rating was devised in 2005 when it became very apparent that the sector was struggling with the high costs and poor relevance of certification processes using whole building systems.

Fit out and refurbishment contractor Skansen (hence the Ska name) launched the scheme and this was adopted by RICS four years later.

SKA rating focuses on office, retail and higher education and it was featured in the UK Government’s Low Carbon Action Plan.

Apart from good cost benefits, the method allows teams to tailor requirements to fit more exactly any project and its scope and has the advantage of better credibility when dealing with new clients, through the RICS’ association.

Clear labelling

The system provides a straightforward online tool with clear labelling of projects – bronze, silver, gold and it also facilitates access to project lease funding and quality-assured certification if needed.

Certification is quick and produced automatically after a handover stage has been assessed by an accredited assessor and supporting information added to the online tool.

SKA rating provides more than 100 ‘good practice’ measures that include energy and carbon emissions, waste, water, materials, pollution, wellbeing and transport.

There are full lists of good practice measures available free online for offices, retail and higher education. Each good practice measure for offices, retail and higher education is explained in a datasheet that gives criteria, a rationale for the measure and guidance on how to achieve this.

Assessment key points

Between 30 and 60 measures are likely to apply to most project and assessments carried out at three key points: design, handover and occupancy.

The score is ranked in three percentage thresholds: Bronze, Silver and Gold and should include some high-ranking Gateway Measures to avoid targeting only the easiest measures.

As an example, the criteria for Efficient taps is:

  • Flow rate on taps limited to 6 litres/minute up to a pressure of 5 bar (+/– 0.2 bar)
  • Tap fitting or flow controller is either on the Water Technology List (WTL) or has an EU Water Efficiency Label. Fittings should be:
  • automatic shut-off taps
  • electronic taps
  • low flow screw-down/lever taps
  • spray taps
  • auto-shut off or electronic taps restricted to no more than 20 seconds’ flow.
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