Towards a framework for sustainability in UK retail architecture
The issues of environmental sustainability; fossil fuel use, resource use and pollution have until very recently remained a low priority to the vast majority of retail clients. The traditional barriers of capital cost, lack of precedent and perceived need have been replaced by the more urgent drivers of brand management and business risk. This emerging client need for more sustainable buildings requires that a methodology is adopted to enhance the end product for all stakeholders whilst avoiding possible criticism of "greenwash". However, despite the number of initiatives available, environmental analysis of retail projects in the UK have been limited to site environmental impact assessmenrte quired for planning approval and written sustainability statementss ubmitted as supporting information, and only required for large projects and at the discretion of the planning authority. These documents are rarely referred to once the planning stage has been passed and substitution of materials form routine cost saving measures through the Design and Build procurement route. Moreover, the layered nature of speculative development; where the client is a developer aiming to sell to an investor and the tenant is responsible for their own fit-out and plant, limits the level of innovation and continuity of thought between all stakeholders. This research was therefore conceived to address the need for an appropriate methodology to ensure that sustainability is considered in the design of retail facilities. The aim was to develop a framework methodology for incorporating sustainability in the design, construction and management of retail facilities. The following objectives were pursued: (a) To define the criteria of sustainability in architectureth roughl iteraturer eview; (b) to understandth e specific problemsa ssociated with sustainabilityi n retail architecturet hrough literature review, cases tudy interviews and survey data; (c) to assessth e extent to which existing tools satisfy the criteria for sustainability; (d) to develop a framework using the findings of the research through design and action research strategy and test the resulting framework though industry disseminationa ndh ypotheticacl ases tudies. 3 The results of the research outlined by the objectives above resulted in the development of a framework methodology. Using intuitive discursive analysis as the most readily adaptable process with the use of risk identification and mitigation as a design management technique, the resulting framework provides a matrix based documentation tool to facilitate development of the brief from the design of the facility, through procurement stages and providing a plan for sustainable management at handover of the facility to the client. The research concludes that improving the sustainability of retail facilities is a real possibility but that it is also dependant on client acceptance of responsibility to wider society and the environment. This research supports the need for a structured and integrated approach for design, development and delivery of retail facilities at all scales and how the interface between shell development and retail tenant is critical to real improvements in sustainability. The developed framework methodology requires further testing and refinement in a wider variety of applications to fully explore the potential benefits to be gained.