Business

Merchant Square an environmental 'first' as PwC headquarters awarded BREEAM Excellent status

Merchant Square has won an Excellence rating from BREEAM

MERCHANT Square in the heart of Belfast's business district, which is set to house 3,000 PwC staff from later this year, has become the first privately-built commercial building of its kind in Northern Ireland to be awarded ‘Excellent' status by BREEAM UK, which assesses new and refurbished buildings according to the environmental sustainability standards which were applied during planning and construction.

Merchant Square was design and developed by Oakland Holdings in a project which began in 2017 and was completed last autumn.

The building provides 230,000 sq ft of grade A office space and is set to become one of the most advanced digital commercial spaces in the city.

The evaluation by BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) was completed at the end of last year. The process measures the steps taken on use of energy, links to public transport, efficiency of water and waste management, heat and light and the management of waste and pollution among other features.

Adam Dickson, finance director of Oakland Holdings, said: “When we set out to re imagine the former Oyster House building on Wellington Square, we aimed to provide office space meeting the demand we knew existed in the commercial property sector, to contribute to the rebuilding and regeneration of Belfast and Northern Ireland, and to be a leader in the development of sustainable, environmental proofed commercial property.

“The delivery of an excellent BREEAM rated building meant building sustainability and ‘green' credentials into the project right from the design stage.

“We made sure that as we demolished the old building as much of the material as could be reused was, and from day one we insisted that the site facilitate cyclists and public transport for workers to travel to and from their office. That meant providing parking space for cyclists, a laundry and maximising our proximity to local transport connections, all in a low carbon design plan.”

The assessors praised the environmental focus in the Merchant Square project, adding: “BREEAM and sustainability aspirations for Merchant Square were set out from the very start of the project. The design team worked collaboratively and proactively to establish and deliver an environmental management plan which contributed greatly to the BREEAM performance of the completed Merchant Square.”

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