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Material Works Sustainable Fit-Out Strategy

In the context of an escalating climate emergency, the construction industry occupies a problematic positions. The traditional growth of the industry has been based on the demolition of old buildings and the replacement with new yet this process consumes vast amounts of energy and needs to be effectively challenged if we are to stand a chance at reducing emissions as planned.


MWA recognises the importance of strong Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) performance at every stage of the building life cycle.  We believe achieving high ESG standards when designing and constructing new spaces is central to our company ethos and follow distinct guidelines to ensure that best practice is followed throughout the procurement, construction and operation of each project.





BREEAM Rating    - Dependent on base building. Aim to build to ‘Excellent’ standards

SKA Rating              - Design to ‘Gold’ Standard



Carbon Emissions in operation


  • Establish an Energy Strategy to ensure energy saving strategies are maximised and understand impact of layout on proposed cooling and heating systems

  • Maximise potential for production of renewable energy on site and negotiate a green tariff with energy suppliers 

  • Provide additional shading and draught proofing to maximise building’s efficiency

  • Avoid conflicts between heating and cooling systems by designing to an appropriate zoning strategy

  • Ensure all new electrical equipment and appliances conform to an EU energy label - A+

  • Facilitate seasonal commissioning to ensure that any systems under our control are operating at maximum efficiency levels throughout the year and according to different levels of demand. 

  • Maximise effect of existing natural light sources

  • All lighting to be low energy LED fittings and controlled by motion sensors

  • Smart lighting systems to correct colour balance throughout day



Carbon Embodied in Materials


  • Consider embodied carbon in all specifications and reduce carbon wherever possible

  • Take a ‘whole life’ approach to procurement – assess options based on issues such as longevity, maintenance and replacement intervals. 

  • Undertake an assessment of the embodied carbon utilising the RICS Building Carbon Database or other robust methodology. 

  • Where available, consider alternatives to products with lower levels of embodied carbon.

  • Specifying products made partly or wholly from recycled content wherever possible and adopt a benchmark figure for overall recycled content

  • Re-use any material already on site.

  • Source materials and furniture form demolition, strip-outs or salvage yards that can be fully recycled where possible

  • Maintain a system for identifying materials and furniture for potential re-use

  • For other materials use only suppliers with a certified environmental management system (e.g. BES6001; ISO 14001 or EMAS)

  • Set a bench-mark for amount fo materials to be sourced locally and establish connections with local businesses to supply materials

  • Timber - all timber to be legally and responsibility sourced in accordance with UK Government’s Timber procurement policy

  • Volatile Organic Compounds - Only specify finishes and coatings with low VOC content





  • To minimise the demand and maximise opportunities for re-use specify low flow taps, water-less urinals, dual flush WCs etc.

  • Reduce water consumption during construction - specify the monitoring and limiting of wet trades proposed within the construction process

  • Identify water metres and propose automatic feedback from BMS for ongoing water consumption monitoring





  • Eliminate waste both in construction and operation

  • Ensure that a fit-out waste management plan is developed in line with the waste hierarchy to identify key fit-out waste streams and additional options for reuse, recycling or other management. Above all, avoid sending waste to landfill. 

  • Work with suppliers to reduce packaging and encourage re-suable packaging wherever possible.

  • Install adequate and frequent recycling positions for occupier use throughout the space.

  • install dish-washers and supply crockery and cutlery to discourage use of disposable cups and cutlery 





  • Create zone lighting with separate occupant controls where appropriate

  • Provide thermal comfort controls for occupiers in cellular offices etc.

  • Proved chilled and filtered drinking water stations throughout

  • Ensure noise levels are reduced and controlled through design proposals and on-going site measurement

  • Establish benchmarks for improving air quality. Install air quality monitoring technology and display results. Record data to inform improvement strategies



Transport and travel


  • Survey existing occupiers and neighbours to understand transport challenges and expectations. 

  • Review any existing travel plans and install facilities to incentivise walking and / or cycling - lockers, cycle parking, showers etc.

  • Explore consolidated delivery schemes to limit vehicle movement





  • Actively  engage with stakeholders and actively look for ways to improved the performance, efficiency and well-being of the space



Post Occupancy


  • Commission a post-occupancy evaluation, ideally to be carried out by a third party organisation. Include interviews with building occupants and measured data of uses and activities occurring. 

  • Feed results back to design principles to explore possible adaptations and inform future projects

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