Now that many developments are required to achieve Code Level 4, it is becoming more apparent that the inclusion of MAT 2 and MAT 3 credits can make a significant and cost effective contribution to overall scores.
These credits aim to promote the responsible sourcing of materials in both basic and finishing building elements. A maximum of 6 credits are available for MAT 2 where 80% of the basic building elements (frames, floors, roofs, walls, foundations and staircases) are responsibly sourced and a maximum of 3 credits are available for MAT 3 where 80% of finishing elements (windows, doors, skirting, panelling, furniture, fascias and staircases) are responsibly sourced.
For a material to be considered ‘responsibly sourced’ it must be sourced from a supplier that has been certified with a compliant third-party scheme (e.g. EMAS and ISO 14001). Each scheme has a unique framework and certification process. Many of these require organisations to demonstrate that their processes are well-managed, provide environmental, social and economic benefits and help to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Since the Code for Sustainable Homes became operational in 2007, there has been greater awareness in the responsible sourcing of materials and an increasing number of organisations are now certified, or working towards certification, in relevant schemes. This is making it easier to achieve credits in MAT 2 and MAT 3.
The BRE Environmental and Sustainability Standard (BES 6001:2008) for example, is a scheme that assesses organisations largely on their environmental management systems (written policies, legal responsibilities and compliance, maintaining a list of suppliers and tracing supply chain organisations) but also on their greenhouse gas emissions, efficient use of materials (reducing, re-using, recycling), water efficiency, lifecycle assessment, transportation, employment and involvement with local communities.
Timber certification schemes, such as FSC, PEFC, SFI, MTCC and TFT on the other hand, award certificates to organisations that conserve and enhance biodiversity, manage forests responsibly, protect water bodies, promote best land management practices, mitigate the effects of climate change and respond to emerging issues.
MAT 2 and MAT 3 credits are awarded using a tiered system, where schemes in Tier 1 achieve the most credits and schemes in Tier 4 achieve fewer credits. The table below outlines the certification schemes and their tier levels.
Code Tier Levels for Responsible Sourcing
To achieve MAT 2 and MAT 3 credits, developers can provide a list of their preferred suppliers, who can then be checked for responsible sourcing certification.
It should also be noted that where development predominantly uses concrete in their construction (foundations, floors, walls, stairs and roof slabs), the use of responsibly-sourced concrete can significantly contribute to MAT 2 credits.
Additionally, responsibly sourced materials need not cost more. As the number of certified organisations increases, any additional costs are being reduced.
Our experience is that for a given material type there are often suppliers who hold responsible sourcing certification at various tier levels. Therefore at least some credits should be available in most cases.