Feb 15, 2023

SHIFT Gold accreditation for new build – our response

We have received a flurry of requests on how a new build development can attain “SHIFT Gold”. On the one hand this is a great sign that the SHIFT scheme is having a real impact on what gets built. On the other hand, it’s not the intention for SHIFT to accredit any particular new build development – there are plenty of other schemes around for that kind of thing.

Anyway, here’s our answer to the requests:

Hi xxxxxxx,

Thanks for your call about achieving SHIFT gold. From our chat, my understanding is that you are helping an architect/developer who in turn has been asked by their client to develop homes that are “SHIFT Gold”. As I explained the SHIFT standard is intended to provide data and environmental assessments for a social landlord’s entire organisation. Clients use these assessments to:

  • develop excellent environmental strategies
  • monitor progress towards environmental targets
  • compliance reporting (SECR)
  • satisfy investors’ ESG requirements.

The assessment covers all directorates, of which the “new build directorate” is one. It covers all environmental issues. As I said, achieving SHIFT gold is not the point of SHIFT – we provide data so that organisations can achieve a sustainable stock and operations.

The new build part of the assessment accounts for 15 out of a possible 100 points. 58 points are required for SHIFT gold – hence, you can see why an individual new build home or scheme cannot attain SHIFT gold. Furthermore, the new build assessment examines all completions within a 12 month period including s.106 and outright market sales.

I would suggest that the best your architect/developer client can do is design/develop homes that meet the following criteria and contribute to their client achieving SHIFT gold at the next assessment, bearing in mind that all the other completions and other directorates also have a part to play. So here are the criteria to score the maximum 15 points for new build (scaling down or omitting issues will result in fewer points):

  • EPC A
  • Cycle storage
  • Low flood risk (or resilient to flooding)
  • Low overheating risk
  • Biodiversity – meeting the Biodiversity 3.1 10% net gain should be ok for the moment and this year we will see how well that aligns with ‘tonnes of above ground biomass’
  • Internal recycling bins
  • Responsibly sourced materials
  • Post Occupancy Evaluation to ensure that the items listed above achieve their intended purpose

In terms of actual points for these, we only release these to paying clients. I’d be happy to jump on a Teams call with the client, architect/developer and yourself to go through the scoring – this will be part of our ‘retainer’ element with the SHIFT client. This would ensure you are building what the client needs on the sustainability front.

As an indicator of how the sector is doing, here’s some data from one of our recent reports. As you can see, no one is scoring 15 out 15 at the moment:

  • We do work with other landlords on sustainability clauses for ERs/Design Briefs and POE and this is on a consultancy basis
  • We work with ~60 social landlords throughout the UK – search LinkedIn for “SHIFT Gold” or “SHIFT Silver” for examples

If you would like a full environmental audit of your organisation, including a sustainability assessment of your new homes, then please be in touch.

Thanks again for your query and I hope this helps.


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