This SHINE-ZC on-line training package contains resources developed throughout the real project life cycle which are structured around the RIBA plan of work. This organises the process of managing and designing building projects and administering building contracts into a number of key Work Stages. The sequence or content of Work Stages may vary or they may overlap to suit the procurement method.   Code for Sustainable Homes points or credits are awarded according to the environmental and social aspects of the development judged objectively against a set of criteria. During CSH assessment, credits are added together within each category and a weighting is applied to the scores. A single overall score is then produced which results in the building being rated on a scale of 1 to 6.   Many of the decisions influencing the award of credits are taken early in the procurement process (RIBA stages A and B). Therefore the early appointment of an accredited CSH consultant (who should also be an accredited SAP assessor) makes it easier and more cost effective to achieve a higher rating. For example, issues such as the orientation of a new building, as well as the overall building concept, affect its energy efficiency.   Design teams must work together to enable the maximum number of SAP credits to be gained. This requires the various designers to work in a coordinated way, with the whole team committed to working within the sustainability agenda. Designers must also consult with end users where possible. Ideally, building services engineers, historically appointed later in the process, should be brought on board as early as possible, because many of the available CSH credits are weighted towards highly efficient energy performance and very low levels of CO2 emissions. In particular, their ability to influence orientation and building form is important, as is the development of an appropriate renewable energy and ventilation strategy, along with an effective system control approach. Other specialists – for example those involved in aspects of whole life costing, ground sampling, or the assessment of the local ecology – must similarly be involved early. Failure to do so means the opportunity to gain credits against those criteria could be lost.   In later RIBA PoW stages, (such as the detailed design stages D and E), materials are selected for the major building elements of walls, windows, roofs, floor slabs and floor finishes and coverings. Similarly, components are selected at this stage to serve systems such as lighting and heating, and decisions are made about the use of energy from renewable sources. Care does need to be taken when ‘value engineering’ since substitution of materials with a lower capital cost may not only fail to meet the designers’ specified requirements but may also mean that credits for the CSH assessment are withheld – potentially a major problem where developments rely upon gaining higher CSH ratings to satisfy funding providers.   Finally, contractors (typically involved from Stages J to L on a traditionally procured development) also have a major part to play because CSH schemes make credits available for the environmental impact of the construction process, rewarding good construction practice, including use of the Considerate Constructors Scheme, and mitigation of construction site impacts.   For further general information and advice about successfully delivering sustainable homes, we recommend that you contact NBS  - http://www.thenbs.com/index.asp