What is BES 6001?
BES 6001 was developed by the BRE to enable construction product manufacturers to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, and specifically the responsible sourcing of constituent materials and their manufacture into construction products.
The standard describes a framework for the organisational governance, supply chain management and environmental and social aspects that must be addressed in order to ensure the responsible sourcing of construction products.
What does it cover?
In line with the principles of other management systems, BES 6001 requires the organisation to have quality management and supplier management systems in place and establish policies, objectives and metrics for environmental issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, waste and water management and social issues, including employment and skills, and local communities.
The standard also sets expectations on sourcing constituent materials from suppliers who themselves have quality, environmental and health and safety management systems in place and can demonstrate product stewardship.
How is it assessed?
A formal assessment is done by an independent, third party such as BSI, who have been approved to certify organisations against the requirements of BES 6001. To meet the standard and obtain a pass, organisations must satisfy certain compulsory elements.
In addition, there are higher levels of compliance that can result in an improved performance rating being awarded up to excellent. This standard will also provide a route to obtaining credits under the BREEAM family of certification schemes.
Why is it important?
Whilst sustainability and ‘green’ credentials have become more important considerations in recent years, it is not always easy for construction clients and the supply chain to validate the claims companies make about their performance and that of their products. BES 6001 provides an independently assessed standard that demonstrates a specific level of sustainability performance and also recognises those companies that go beyond this level to enable some comparison.
This is also reflected in BREEAM, which now awards extra credits for products that have been assessed to BES 6001, with higher credits awarded for those products that have achieved a very good or excellent rating.
BES 6001 should ensure specifying the most sustainable products becomes simpler and more transparent.
Tata Steel was certified to BES 6001 in 2010 for its Colorcoat® steel roof cladding products manufactured at Shotton, North Wales, achieving a very good performance. It is the first pre-finished steel company to achieve the certification and reinforces an ongoing commitment to sustainability.