An update on regulations that impact the built industry and how these can be effectively implemented to achieve the desired pointing score.
In the March/April edition of FLOORS in Africa magazine this year, the concept of green regulations was extensively investigated and clearly showcased the requirements for ecologically aware buildings and designs.
As these requirements play a paramount role within the construction industry as a whole, both nationally and internationally, it is necessary to revisit some key elements that were investigated, reviewed and communicated through this article. For those who have not had the opportunity to read this specific article, we will once again highlight and emphasise the importance of green design and specifications.
One of the most prominent challenges surrounding SANS 10400-XA has been the lack of understanding and confusion as to how these standards should be implemented and enforced, as noted by Lisa Reynolds, Sustainability Director at Saint-Gobain, who also took on the role of Chairperson of the Working Groups responsible for drafting the standards for Efficiency in Buildings (SANS 201-1, -2, and-3, Edition 2 of SANS 204 and the new SANS 10400XA), while also participating in the regulatory advisory group for the National Building Regulations’ (NBR)-XA legislation.
It is explained as follows:
• SANS 10400-XA is the minimum requirement for legislation. In green buildings SANS 204 is a conditional requirement in the energy-efficiency category and points can be gained for improvements on this base.
• The National Building Regulation NBR-XA is the regulatory part and SANS 10400-XA, the “deemed-to-satisfy” route of compliance to the Regulation, is only made mandatory as a result of its relationship with the regulations. Consequently, everyone in a building is impacted. South Africa’s National Building Regulations were originally produced as a set of functional guidelines for anybody building any type of structure. They were not intended to be prescriptive in terms of what people should build, but they do stipulate the important performance requirements – which are mandatory. Consequently, when planning to build, this is a document that everyone in the industry must familiarise themselves with.
• SANS 204 is a voluntary, higher requirement standard when compared to SANS 10400-XA. SANS 204 is a forewarning to the industry that upgrades are coming, ensuring the industry is well prepared for it.
According to Manfred Braune, Chief Technical Officer at the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), the interest levels in green buildings and return on investment from an energy-efficiency perspective are rising and this interest is seen in the GBCSA’s increased number of certified buildings. The GBCSA developed their suite of Green Star SA rating tools to provide objective measurements for green building in South Africa, and to recognise and reward environmental leadership in the property industry.
When SANS 204 was originally published, there was an optimistic belief that people would follow it because it’s the right thing to do, but it quickly became apparent that it had to be regulated in order to be generally adopted. Drafting standards and a regulation takes significant time and public input.
SANS 204 and SANS 10400-XA are in the process of being rewritten. SANS 10400-XA is going to be more user-friendly and the levels may be increased. It will be user-friendly in trying to match the type and complexity of the building to the level of complexity of the interventions and the design skills required. It will not be a lowering of the levels, because the intervention levels will be increased to meet the increasing demands on resources.
The process of formulating an update to a standard requires a Working Group. After the standard has been drafted by the Working Group and approved by the Steering or Technical committee, the public is given 60 days to comment on the document. The public is encouraged to get involved by finding the document on the website: www.sabs.co.za, reading it and sending their comments – with reasons and possible solutions – to SABS
The industry can expect next year to be subject to change regarding SANS 10400-XA. This will mandate architects and the public to start thinking about energy efficiency and highlight sustainable development. Once again, it has been clearly proven that the flooring industry’s aspirations to become sustainable are a necessity and no longer a luxury.
For in-depth information on the above-mentioned regulations, please refer to FLOORS in Africa, Vol. 32.2 March-April 2014 or visit www.nrcs.org.za where all the regulations are found. Alternatively, individuals are encouraged to speak with their Municipality’s Building Control Officer.
Acknowledgement and thanks are given to Lisa Reynolds, Nadine Engelbrecht and Manfred Braune, Chief Technical Officer at GBCSA for the information contained in this article.