Strategy and guidelines for major refurbishments

Newcore Capital is committed to delivering strong returns through sustainable investment in 

social infrastructure. Central to this mission is the adoption of a refurbish first policy, this preference ensures that environmental and social considerations are part of any refurbishment or development. Sustainability focused guidelines for refurbishments have been developed to ensure sustainability is at the heart of the design and construction. 

These guidelines and policies are designed to be flexible and not overly prescriptive. The purpose is to set out principles so that sustainability can be considered in all aspects of the work carried out. 

These policies should be reviewed ahead of any refurbishment commencing. Fit-outs are defined as works to design, refurbish, and decorate the leased property. These guidelines should be adapted and amended according to the project scope and size.  

It is the responsibility of the Project Manager to ensure that contractors are aware of sustainability policy, ensure the relevant parts of these guidelines are part of the project brief and tender package. 


  1. Engage with stakeholders and third parties and demonstrate consideration for neighbours during construction activities.
  2. Monitor and record site related community impacts. Mitigation measures to be agreed at the outset, and targets set where relevant.
  3. Where appropriate, use local labour and find ways to benefit the local community.
  4. Preference given to project managers, contractors, and any appointed suppliers, who pay their workers the Real Living Wage (£10.90 p/hour / £11.95 p/hour for London).
  5. If contract sum exceeds £200,000, the contractor should register and provide a certificate of compliance with the Considerate Constructors Scheme.
  6. Project Manager, contractor, architect, engineer, and any appointed supplier, are required to adhere to the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 to combat slavery and human trafficking, where applicable – annual turnover of £36 million or more.

Safety, health, wellbeing, air quality (indoor and outdoor)

  1. Project managers and contractors to ensure in both design and construction that public, operatives and occupier’s safety during the construction is considered, controlled and monitored.
  2. Factors such as air quality, lighting, views and interior layout can affect the health and satisfaction of occupiers and should be considered during design.
  3. The ability for the occupant to control ventilation, lighting, heating and cooling should be part of the building design, where applicable. 
  4. Consider the use of natural ventilation and other forms of passive internal fresh air environments.
  5. Contractor to provide noise attenuation measures as required and specify appropriate levels of ambient noise.
  6. Maximise, where possible, in design the use of natural daylight to improve wellbeing.
  7. Indoor Air Quality Plans should be considered to ensure quality of environment for future occupiers.
  8. Incorporate bike spaces/facilities to accommodate cycle commuters and best practice end-of-trip facilities such as showers and lockers.

Site Selection, land use and transportation

As part of Newcore’s acquisition process the location and consideration of access has been considered. The viability of social infrastructure from an economic and social perspective relies on the accessibility of the asset. Specifically, the use of public transport and walking routes are of primary importance for relevant assets. Access to public transport and any necessary accommodations to make travel safe should be considered.

  1. Site access and active travel should be considered through planning. A consideration should be given for the creation of a Green Travel Plan for the building, which could be disseminated to contractors and end users of the building.
  2. The provision of electric charging points or enabling infrastructure for future installation should be considered in the design, where possible.
  3. Where appropriate and practical facilities should be considered in the design, including the following:
    • showers, changing and storage facilities for cyclists and runners.  
    • covered, secure and lit cycle storage for use by the building’s occupiers in the design. 

Materials – sourcing, health & environmental impact

The environmental, social, and economic impact of the sourcing, installation and maintenance of materials should be considered.

  1. Re-use existing structure unless impractical to do so.
  2. Review existing materials and what can be re-used on site or locally.
  3. Where appropriate consider, locally sourced materials to reduce transport distances.
  4. Preference for materials with low environmental impact, including those that disclose environmental impacts, in specification and installation.
  5. Prioritise the use of materials with low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
  6. Install energy efficient façades and glazing, where appropriate.
  7. Preference for materials with low impact on human health, including those that disclose potential health hazards.
  8. Where possible, specify materials that can be repaired/restored to extend their service life.
  9. Design materials that are easy to clean or require infrequent cleaning.
  10. Timber should be sourced with full FSC certification or agreed equivalent.
  11. Aim for design and construction that include materials containing high recycled content, are reclaimed and/or are readily reused/recycled.
  12. Consider the packaging of materials and recyclability and how they are transported.
  13. Investigate if green walls and roofs can be installed and if maintenance is practical.
  14. Where possible, new building design should aim to reduce repeat replacement of materials, such as raised floor tiles in offices.

 Building Safety

Safety requires the active commitment to and accountability for health and safety from all employees and contractors.

  1. Line management should recognise their leadership role in the communication and implementation of and ensuring compliance with health and safety policies and standards.
  2. A people focused safety culture should be promoted by all.
  3. All construction and Site Managers should be fully qualified and certified in Health and Safety management, where appropriate.
  4. Leadership and employees should provide and promote a safe working environment for all employees and the wider community in which they interact.

 Pollution Prevention

Design and construction should minimise pollution as much as possible. Practices that reduce, eliminate, or prevent all types of pollution at source should be considered.

  1. This includes methodologies to consider how to minimise:
    1. Air and air quality pollution
    1. Water pollution
    1. Ground pollution
    1. Noise pollution
  2. Contractors should follow best practice pollution prevention guidance from the Environment Agency.
  3. Contractors should consider needs for site storage to avoid undue pollution.
  4. Spillage procedures should be in place.
  5. Staff should receive adequate training to prevent pollution from air, water, ground, and noise.


Environmental Policies

Water management and consumption

  1. A water management strategy for the construction period should be developed in advance of construction, where relevant.
  2. Design and install, where possible, water efficiency measures such as low flow fittings, proximity sensors, spray taps, low flush or dual flush toilet cisterns and where possible specify water efficient appliances.
  3. Rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling should be included in the design, where possible.
  4. The consideration of soft landscaping and attenuation tanks to minimise additional load to the underground drainage system and mitigate flood risk should be considered.
  5. Drought resistant plants should also be considered during landscaping.
  6. Where water meters are being upgraded, a preference should be given to the installation of Automated Meter Reading (AMR) capability that is able to transfer data to an appropriate data platform.
  7. If appropriate and practicable, the design should consider installing water consumption monitors and water leak detection devices linked to Building Management Systems.

Waste Management

To maintain protection of the environment when undertaking operations, the contractor should implement an effective waste management programme that meets or exceeds all relevant legislative and regulatory requirements.

The reduction of waste during design and through construction should be considered in the methodology; and the reuse existing materials and recycle/compost waste wherever possible. The company should regularly review the materials and methods used to identify further opportunities for waste recycling.

  1. The principles of the Waste Management hierarchy should be applied to ensure that waste is dealt with in a way that impacts least on our environment (see appendix)
  2. Any supplier moving waste off site should be a registered waste carrier and compliance documentation should be held on file in accordance with legal requirements. We encourage this to be checked using the public register for environmental information on the website. Contractors are legally required to produce a site waste management plan (SWMP) to show what materials are being sent to landfill, recycled.
  3. General waste, confidential waste, hazardous waste and recycling should be identified (as per appendix) and should be reduced as much as possible and disposed of appropriately.
  4. Identify and record the amount and type of waste created on site and removed off site. Non-hazardous and hazardous waste should be segregated.
  5. It is recommended that all employees should receive training on waste management and feel a personal responsibility for the way their conduct impacts on the environment.
  6. Site and Office Managers are encouraged to carefully consider quantity of material, required, prior to order. Efforts to reduce waste in installation, by good practice, protection etc., to be considered a primary aim.


The refurbishment should consider energy efficiency in the design.

  1. Consider the use of energy efficient measures within lighting, air conditioning, space heating, water heating, ventilation and occupant controls and utilise passive energy where practicable and appropriate.
  2. Where feasible, all electric heating and cooling systems should be installed.
  3. If electrical, plant and mechanical systems are being replaced the energy efficiency should be a consideration for new installations and a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
  4. Where possible, consider maximising natural daylight to reduce energy consumption.
  5. Fossil fuel-based systems, in particular the use of gas, should be removed, where possible.
  6. Consideration of low and zero carbon technologies including the installation of renewable energy technologies. Including: solar thermal heating, photovoltaic, ground source / air source heating and cooling. If installation is possible, liaise with Newcore Capital.
  7. Newcore will commission new EPCs after the refurbishment has been completed. Where possible a minimum EPC rating of ‘C’ should be targeted. Special Considerations will be taken for assets which are exempt from EPC regulation e.g. buildings with listed building status.
  8. The use of smart technology including application-based systems that help assess and consequently manage building usage and reduce energy consumption should be installed where feasible.
    1. Installation of Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) meters and as per green leases the provision to share the data with Newcore Capital.
  9. Consider undertaking whole life carbon assessment of the refurbishment and integrating circular economy principles as much as possible, where possible and practical.
  10. Where possible, energy for the building to be sourced from suppliers deriving their energy from renewable sources.

Biodiversity and habitat

Biodiversity is under threat in the UK. According to RSPB, the UK has lost more natural wildlife and wild spaces due to human activity than any other G7 country. Land use and construction practices contribute to the removal of natural habitats.

Understanding the impact of the refurbishment to local habitat, endangered species and wildlife is recommended and undertaking measures to minimise disturbance.

  1. An ecological assessment of the site to identify any protected / endangered species and arrange mitigation measures to minimise damage to the existing environment and disruption to wildlife is undertaken where relevant and possible. This enables risks to biodiversity and habitat loss to be considered and aligns with government initiatives to increase biodiversity through the concept of biodiversity net gain (BNG). This approach to development ensures there are measurable improvements as a result of enhancing habitats and biodiversity. For further information Natural England launched its Biodiversity Metric  3.0 in July 2021 (and version 3.1 has been published on 21.04.22). Additionally, there is another metric developed for small sites which can be accessed here. The toolkit can be used by any development project, consenting body or landowner that needs to calculate biodiversity net gain in England.
  2. During the planning and construction phase of a refurbishment, considerations should be in place to respect the biodiversity and habitat of wildlife and endangered species. Where appropriate and practical, prepare a biodiversity action plan to minimise the loss of site ecology.
  3. Where relevant, the design to include low maintenance landscaping regime.
  4. The landscaping design should avoid the specification of water intensive plant species.
  5. During design consider use of indigenous plant species in landscaped areas and net gain of biodiversity.
  6. During design consider the introduction of in-built habitats, e.g., green roofs and green walls, SUDS, as appropriate.
  7. During design consider the use of bird or bat nesting boxes, as appropriate.
  8. During design consider the use of insect hotels, as appropriate.


 Principles of Waste Management

Waste Management Hierarchy

Reduce: Since all waste disposal options have some impact on the environment, the only way to avoid impact is not to produce waste in the first place. The company should endeavour to reduce waste by judicious purchasing.

Re-Use: Before discarding an item, check that someone else cannot make use of it; examples include all building materials, equipment, and consumables.

Recovery: Where possible the company should recycle. All employees and subcontractors need to be fully engaged in this process to ensure that the recycling units are used and that only waste that cannot be recycled goes into the landfill bins.

Disposal: Waste sent to landfill is the worst option in environmental terms and this should be kept to a minimum.

What is Waste?

General Waste: General waste i.e., non-hazardous to be placed in designated containers for collection.

Hazardous Waste: Any hazardous waste must be disposed of according to the relevant legislation. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive aims to conserve landfill and support more sustainable development by providing an impetus to boost recycling.

The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) legislation aims to reduce environmental impacts of waste and improve recyclability.

Hazardous waste includes:

• IT and telecommunications

• Consumer equipment

• Lighting equipment

• Electrical and electronic tools

• Monitoring and control devices

• Contaminated construction materials and selected construction waste.


All other waste is recycled and is placed in the appropriate receptacles provided. Such material includes, although not exclusively:

• General building materials such as timber, metal, brickwork, and the like

• Paper

• Newspapers

• Envelopes

• Cardboard

• Cans and glass

• Toners and printer cartridges

Confidential Waste: Particular care must be taken in the disposal of all confidential waste. All such paper waste to be shredded and resultant debris taken for recycling or sent to an external company to securely shred. Confidential waste includes, but is not limited to, anything of financial origin, containing personal information and containing sensitive project information.