UK research body BRE to open R&D centre in China

Buildings in China could be built to British green construction standards following a deal signed this week that will see UK research firm BRE Group setting up an R&D centre in Shenzhen, one of China’s fastest growing cities.

The centre will deliver training on a national scale to other cities and promote its services, including certifying buildings to green construction standards using BRE’s BREEAM rating scheme.

BRE China aims to certify over 1,000 buildings across China to its standards which will generate £10 million income and could create up to £200 million of work for UK supply chain companies, according to the UK’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The agreement was signed this week with Shenzhen’s Housing and Construction Bureau in the presence of the Shenzhen Mayor Xu Qin and UK Secretary of State for Business Innovation & Skills, Vince Cable.

The agreement between BRE and Shenzhen government will seek to establish BRE’s China head-office in Shenzhen, which will provide the base for collaborating on a number of areas including standards, research and professional training.

BIS says that the green building market is in its infancy in China but that the Chinese government aims to have green buildings account for 30% of new construction projects by 2020.

The UK has a strong competitive edge in building modern and environmentally friendly cities, through our world-class expertise in architecture, consultancy, design, IT and engineering.– Vince Cable

"The UK has a strong competitive edge in building modern and environmentally friendly cities, through our world-class expertise in architecture, consultancy, design, IT and engineering," Vince Cable said.

"The green construction market offers a wealth of opportunities for ambitious British firms and the companies in their supply chains wishing to export. I am in China to open doors for those companies and help to lay the groundwork for deals to be signed."

Director of BRE China Jaya Skandamoorthy, said: "We are excited by the collaboration with the Shenzhen government and supporting them to achieve their goal to be the greenest city in China. We hope our international standards, research and training programme will provide a platform for leading companies, British and Chinese, to collaborate on green products, technologies and buildings."

The agreement marked the start of the UK Business Secretary’s trade mission to China. He is accompanied by more than 30 British companies looking to win work on Chinese infrastructure projects.

BRE’s Jaya Skandamoorthy at singing with Shenzhen mayor, Xu Qin (BRE Group)

Other deals have been signed on the back of the trade trip. UK firm Stramit has signed a £3m contract with a joint venture start-up in China to supply them with building products made from waste straw.

BIS said UK exports to China have doubled since 2008 but still lag those from Germany and France.

Of the BRE agreement, the mayor of Shenzhen, Xu Qin, said: "Our long term partnership with BRE will allow us to collaborate on standards, research and training to support us achieve our goal to make Shenzhen the greenest city in China."

He added: "I invite other leading UK organisations to come to Shenzhen and take advantage of our favourable economic trade policies and support the green building and urbanisation programme in Shenzhen and China."

With a population of over 10 million people, Shenzhen has been chosen by the Chinese government to be the pilot city for a number of policies on sustainable development.

The Shenzhen Green Building Promotion Policy now requires all new residential buildings to be planned, constructed and operated according to the Shenzhen Green Building Technology Standards and Guideline, and to achieve at least 1 star level in China’s national 3 star rating system.

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