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Getting ready for Net Zero: SKA announces new board and governance

Getting ready for Net Zero: SKA announces new board and governance
  • SKArating is announcing an exciting change in leadership and new plans to scale up to support the growing need to reshape sustainability in the fit-out world.
  • SKArating has, over the last 15 years, helped over 12,000 fit-out projects improve sustainability and provided a framework for countless more to make better, responsible, sustainable decisions. 

This month SKArating is announcing an exciting change in its leadership and governance, as well as new plans to scale up to support the growing need to reshape sustainability in the fit-out world.

Developed in 2008 to help landlords and tenants systemise sustainability and assess fit-out projects against a practical sustainability rating system, SKA is unique in that it is driven exclusively to make a positive impact.  At the heart of SKA is a toolkit and assessment criteria that is free to use – costs are covered via training and certification.  The scheme has now supported more than 12,000 fit-out projects to make responsible decisions.

SKArating was initially developed by a group of industry professionals led by Skansen and supported by RICS and AECOM to focus on sustainability in fit-out, primarily in the commercial office, higher education, and retail space.  The underlying philosophy of SKArating has always been to encourage all in the supply chain to make small changes in a practical way today. 

To establish SKArating in the market, RICS provided a platform to incubate the scheme, host information, and support the rating and certification process.  The changes announced this week will see SkArating trade as an independent “not-for-profit” business.

The new board is formed from people with a long-standing association with the scheme.  Elina Grigoriou has chaired the SKArating Technical Committee since the scheme was first launched in 2008, and served on the SKArating Development Board as well as delivering the training of SKArating assessors.  She is joined by Joe Croft, Charlie Law and Dave Wakelin who have been members of the Technical Committee for many years, and Iain McIlwee who has joined the board, cementing the Finishes and Interiors Sector’s strong association with the scheme.  The Board has supported SKArating through its incubation with RICS and provides continuity as the scheme takes its next steps. 

SKA provides:

  • A framework to help understand good practice in fit-out and how to implement it.
  • An informal self-assessment tool for analysing environmental performance of a fit-out project
  • An opportunity to benchmark the performance of fit-outs
  • Quality-assured assessments from an accredited SKA assessor
  • A measure to help landlords and owners to demonstrate the sustainable credentials of commercial space

The way SKArating operates will not be affected.  Assessments will continue to be certified as they were under RICS’s stewardship.  Assessors will continue to receive the same technical support that they have previously enjoyed through RICS, with updated processes for assessor accreditation and CPD. 

However, the board has plans to update the SKArating schemes to respond to an increasingly climate-aware fit-out industry, and to expand the sectors that SKArating can be used in.  The board will be reaching out to industry experts, SKArating users, assessors, and clients to help develop the next iteration of the tool and the various schemes.

Chairperson of the new SKA Board Elina Grigoriou stated: “This is an exciting time in the evolution of SKA. After 15 years developing the product and building awareness, we are now ready to step out on our own and work with our amazing community to take this scheme to the next level. With SKA now firmly established, it is time to take the next step and RICS has supported the leadership group to establish SKA as an independent social value business.

“All of us on the new Board and our Technical advisors are passionate and committed to remaining true to the SKA values for its future direction. SKA will remain owned by the industry and run as a “not-for-profit” ensuring it is always acting in the best interest of the market.”

Commenting on the changes, Janine Cole, Sustainability & Social Impact Director at Great Portland Estates plc stated:

“GPE have used SKArating for several years and has supported the business in improving the sustainability performance of our smaller refurbishment projects. The flexible nature of the scheme makes it ideal for this type of project, as a result, it was recently included within “Our Brief for Creating Sustainable Spaces” as a requirement for our on floor fit out schemes. We look forward to working with the SKArating Board as they develop the scheme.”

Ben Stubbs, Head of Sustainability (Built Environment) at UCL added:

“At UCL, all our project teams are accountable for their impacts across a broad range of sustainability indicators. We recognise Ska’s potential to help us further reduce our impacts as we continue to update our institutional targets.”

More details on the SKArating is available here: www.skarating.org

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BDC 314 : Mar 2024