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SKA, BREEAM, LEED and WELL are the key sustainability assessment certifications. Each is the subject of its own fact sheet.

What is SKA?

The RICS estimates that 11% of UK construction spending is on interior fit out and refurbishment and that buildings may have between 30 and 40 refits during their lifecycle.

SKA is an evidence-based environmental assessment method, benchmark and standard for non-domestic fit out projects. It is an online tool and its scope can be flexed appropriate to the fit out.

SKA was developed by and has been led by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) since 2009. It has since added a Retail and a Higher Education scheme. The SKA Tool is free and available to anyone to use online. If certification by a qualified assessor is required, there is a fee which can vary from £5,000 to £20,000 dependent on the nature and complexity of the project.

How can SKA be used?

The SKA method can be used by project teams fitting out environmentally sustainable spaces to:

  • informally self-assess the environmental performance of a fit out
  • generate an assessment and certificate from an RICS accredited SKA assessor
  • obtain clear guidance on fit out good practice and how it should be implemented
  • benchmark a project’s fit out performance against others and the rest of the industry.

SKA assessment and certification

SKA comprises more than one hundred ‘good practice’ measures covering:

  • energy
  • CO2 emissions
  • waste
  • water
  • materials
  • pollution
  • wellbeing
  • transport

The SKA assessment process is in three stages:

  • Design and planning: At this stage the measures and issues in scope are identified, giving the client the opportunity to prioritise which measures they want to achieve. They can use this to make a decision against design, cost, programme and benefit, adding them into the scope of works. This will also set the environmental performance standards for how the project is delivered in terms of waste and energy. Then, if the specification demonstrates that these measures are likely to be achieved, they will be reflected in an indicative rating.
  • Delivery and construction: Evidence is gathered from O&M manuals and other sources to prove that what was specified has been delivered and performance and waste benchmarks have been achieved.
  • Occupancy stage assessment: This provides the option to review how well a fit out has performed against its original brief, from one year after completion.

SKA ratings

A SKA certificate will be awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze ratings. Good practice measures are ranked depending on their impact on the environment. What makes SKA different from other schemes is that the assessment is strictly focused on the items within a project’s control.