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Buildpass investigates | Building with nature

November 7, 2021

Sustainability and building compliance expert. Specialising in low energy design, SAP, SBEM, BREEAM, and air testing for the construction industry,

Andrew Sadler



The Building with Nature standard is working to develop a new generation of development, raising the bar in the construction industry and showing us how to build for people and wildlife.

Without a shadow of a doubt, the construction industry can have a detrimental effect on humans and wildlife across the world, damaging habitats and population levels. 

However, the industry is ready for a change and it’s clear that the world is too. Say hello to Building with Nature. They are on a mission to make high quality green infrastructure integral to place-making in the UK, helping to maximise benefits for people and the natural world.

So, What is Building with Nature? The Building with Nature standards provides planners and developers in the construction industry with evidence-based, ‘how to’ guidance on delivering high-quality green infrastructures with people and wildlife in mind.

Keep reading to find out more about how the Building with Nature standards will impact the construction industry.

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What is Building with Nature?

Building With Nature is a value and mission-led company and is owned by a registered charity – the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust. It was born with the desire to have a proactive approach to nature-friendly development that considers location and content, and that cares about long-term maintenance and management.

It has a board of Trustees whose professional specialisms span across areas such as strategic planning, local authority management, regeneration, social housing, strategic planning, charitable organisational management, natural environment, conservation and sustainability.

The standard was tested and refined in multiple locations across the UK, with inner city regeneration projects, major urban extensions and strategic allocations, smaller in-fill development, and commercial facilities. This showed the industry how the standards can deliver multiple benefits to both people and the natural world in a range of contexts, giving us hope that the construction industry is able to adapt. 

What is the Building with Nature Award?

Developments that partner with the BwN standard will receive a BwN award. A BwN award will provide your development with formal recognition of meeting the BwN standards. Having this external verification of quality can reassure that you can commit to the design and delivery of high-quality developments, at both pre and post construction! 

There are type BwN awards:

BwN Design Award

This award is used to accredit projects at an early stage of design such as planning applications in larger schemes.

BwN Full Award

This award is used to accredit projects at a more detailed stage of design such as post construction checks.

Each award can be different for the specific construction roles so make sure to do your research when considering the framework.

How does it work?

The BwN standards are free to use and provide the construction industry with a benchmark which is underpinned by a set of quality standards and ‘how-to’ guidance, to meet the challenges of the climate, ecological and health emergencies. The standard can be used in every type and scale of development across the UK. This includes residential, commercial and community infrastructure development. Perfect for anyone looking to start their development. 

The Building with Nature standards show what ‘good’ looks like at each stage of the development process. However, the standard works a little differently for each construction role:

For construction planners, they are using the standard to develop and test new planning policies as it gives them a clear picture of what ‘good’ looks like and the ability to draw on specialist knowledge they might not have in-house. 

Professional experts such as ecologists, landscape architects and planning consultants use the standard to interact with clients and improve physical development. Many will go through the Building with Nature training to become Approved Assessors so they can help their schemes get the Building with Nature Accreditation.

Whereas developers who want to create great schemes find that getting accredited by Building with Nature can reduce planning uncertainty, help to engage local communities, and attract consumers who value the benefits of living with nature.

For some inspiration on what a development looks like with the Building with Nature standard taken into consideration, take a look at their case studies. They are seriously inspiring.

How can my business get involved with the Building with Nature Standard?

If you are passionate about creating a high-quality place for people and wildlife, you can get involved with the Building with Nature standards. BwN recommends using the standard early in the design process to help reflect on the task you are undertaking, including purchasing or assembling for development, master-planning, detailed design, implementation of management and maintenance of green infrastructure.

We are super excited for the future of Building with Nature and can’t wait to see the developments supporting the standard. If you want to find out more, head over to the Building with Nature website.

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