Agency Head Now an RICS Chartered Surveyor

Tehdi-Edouard Babigeon, Head of Letting and Sales, RealCorp LuxembourgCongratulations to Tehdi-Edouard Babigeon!
Our highly experienced Head of Letting and Sales has put another feather in his cap with his recent qualification as a Chartered Surveyor through the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

We asked Tehdi why he did it…

What benefits does the RICS qualification offer?

“The RICS status is a prestigious and internationally recognised professional qualification with commercial benefits:

  • People respect its assertion of high standards of excellence and integrity.
  • Governments, financial and commercial organisations recognise RICS as a trusted mark of excellence, giving it a high media profile.
  • It provides a global passport because RICS members anywhere in the world are known to follow its professional, ethical and practice standards. It therefore has broader impact than other qualifications which are only recognised in specific countries.
  • RICS CPD (Continuing Professional Development) will enable me to stay updated with the latest practice standards.
  • RICS has a worldwide network of over 118 000 members and an extensive programme of local, social and inter-professional off-line and on-line networking events.”
Logo of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)Why were you motivated to do it?

“After approximately 10 years’ experience in Real Estate services, RICS accreditation was a must-have because I wanted to:

  • belong to a recognized professional institution
  • increase my professional network
  • enhance my knowledge.”
Was it challenging to study for?

“Yes! Despite my existing experience, I found that staying abreast of day-to-day business, while doing the specific training for the RICS assessment, was challenging.

It felt like a long journey, as I started specific training and study eighteen months before my assessment, with Valuation courses at CEM, real estate courses at LSC, regular preparation with my counsellor, and then intensive preparation one month before the final assessment.”

How do you feel now that you’ve achieved it?

“Well, I am sort of proud to be considered now as an RICS-accredited surveyor! I do also feel that it confirms the level of my experience and skills, so it was definitely worth it.”

What difference do you think it will make in your work?

“I expect it will increase clients’ perception of my credibility. The number and quality of my professional contacts have already begun to increase. It will also contribute positively to my everyday business, because I now have continuous access to evolving general and specific guidance, best practice, and professional and ethical standards.”

In your industry, what type of person or job profile would benefit from doing it?

“RICS offers training to people involved in Land, Property and Construction, at every level of responsibility. I think all these disciplines could benefit. There are even niche RICS professional groups for specialist areas relating to property, from residential property through commercial property to fine arts and antiques.”

What other courses did you consider before choosing RICS?

“There wasn’t really any other choice, as RICS has the most international exposure for members.”

RICS at RealCorp Luxembourg

RealCorp’s management team now includes three Chartered Surveyors:

Update 5 December 2014: Our experienced Manager – Corporate Real Estate Services, Laurent Pedrini MRICS, has now also earned his MRICS qualification, bringing to four the number of Chartered Surveyors in our team!
Update 16 June 2015: Tehdi-Edouard Babigeon MRICS has now moved on to a new post.

For more information on the value of the RICS standard, see these posts on our blog:

Valuing the new RICS Valuer Registration Scheme
Do You Need a Valuation?
The Valuation Process in Luxembourg
Global measurement standard for Luxembourg?

How can RealCorp’s Chartered Surveyors help you?

Contact Michael Chidiac MRICS re Valuation and Advisory or Search and Selection.
Contact Erwan Varron MRICS re Asset Management.
Contact Laurent Pedrini MRICS re Acquisitions and Disposals, Landlord Rep., Tenant Rep..

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New Lobby for Munhowen Bofferding

Munhowen LogoThe well-known Munhowen company is famous for Bofferding, Erdinger, Battin and other beers and many other drinks, including San Pellegrino water, illy coffees, Delamotte champagne, etc. They are refurbishing their main industrial and logistics site, a building in Ehlerange, Z.A.R.E. Munhowen Bofferding is a new client for RealCorp’s Project Management team.

Real Corp AUDREY 300x200cRealCorp performed the interior design of the lobby, using the skills of our in-house Interior Architect, Audrey Laudet.

The work included the specification and positioning of more visible signage from the exterior to the Reception area, false ceilings to include integrated lights for a natural lighting effect, attractive, modern equipment and layout to replace the old sanitary facilities, instituting a system of TV screens and mirrors, repainting all walls and retained existing furniture, specification and positioning of new reception desk and waiting room furniture.

Munhowen Bofferding Luxembourg lobby sketch by Audrey Laudet RealCorp Luxembourg

Design 3D Drawing

Munhowen Bofferding Luxembourg lobby layout plan by Audrey Laudet RealCorp Luxembourg

Post updated 16 June 2015

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Global measurement standard for Luxembourg?

Yellow measuring tape to represent global measurement standardsA recent article in The Real Deal about the proposed new global measurement standards for property* announced that New York City is not keen on the idea. Writer Hiten Samtani summarises the purpose of the initiative thus:

The hope is that a common set of standards will function as a sort of lingua franca across different office markets — which often have drastically different measurement methods — and allow investors, landlords and tenants to more accurately compare spaces and buildings. … Those backing the standards tout the potential for increased transparency. …

Several large organisations have already supported the standards, but some New York representatives apparently believe that they would make no difference to transparency, while reducing rentable areas and therefore asset value.

The initiative to create a universal measurement system for the worldwide office market comes from The International Property Measurement Standards Coalition (IPMSC). This is a wide-ranging non-profit group of 45 influential national and international real estate organisations, including the USA’s National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS), the UK’s Royal Society of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the European Council of Real Estate Professions (CEPI), The International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) and several other high profile members.

Erwan Varron RealCorp TeamWouldn’t the opinion of such a group sway even a leading city like New York? Not so, it seems. RealCorp’s investment and agency teams include three Chartered Surveyors (RICS). We asked Asset Manager Erwan Varron RICS what impact the proposal might have for a city like Luxembourg? He responded:

“Measurement is always a tricky issue. In general, the RICS requires Chartered Surveyors to comply with local regulations or practice when measuring assets. In the UK, we use the Measurement Code issued by the RICS, so there is little room for interpretation, although a 10% margin is acceptable.

“Universal standards can be useful. The RICS is currently working on a new guideline for the cost management of construction projects, called New Rules of Measurement (NRM), that is being discussed regionally. They claim that “Our new rules of measurement are based on UK practice but the requirements for a coordinated set of rules and the underlying philosophy behind each section have worldwide application.” This valuable 3-volume suite of documents includes:

  • Order of cost estimating and cost planning for capital building works
  • Detailed measurement for building works
  • Order of cost estimating and cost planning for building maintenance works.

“Regarding property measurement, in Luxembourg, we commonly use the Belgian Association for Chartered Surveyors (BACS) code for lease up and valuation. However, administrative authorities use the Vertical Cadaster (cadastre vertical), which varies from the BACS code. As Samtani’s article indicates, issues arise when variation occurs.

“If the new code favours the tenant, it would be worth assessing the positive impacts on services charges and rent. We could even push further and get the property tax recalculated. There might be some arguments about the enforceability of the code, e.g. when will the changes to rent occur?

“As for landlords, if they decided to remeasure buildings, they obviously could not change rent or service charges during the course of a lease. This could only be done during renegotiation of rent terms at expiry or break. Inevitably, points of discord and friction would occur, jeopardising relations between tenant and landlord.

“One issue not yet clearly defined is building types. For instance, take two different kinds of office accommodation: The first is a refurbished residential terraced house let to multiple tenants; the second an office building. The converted house may be redeveloped, but it still has thicker walls than an office building. The demised premises, i.e. the net area, is smaller than that of a comparable office building. In this instance, I cannot easily see how to establish new standards of measurement, given the nature of the assets.

“Additionally, I do not believe that raising the rent enough to offset a lower measurement is an option. This would definitely distort the market. We deal with measurements, but must also be conscious of market-driven values.

“Nevertheless, I do see some merit in agreeing a common method of measurement, as long as the different types of properties are considered and provided for in the code. Also, the code should be enforceable and not only used as a guideline by some practitioners.”

What do you think? Let us know via Comments on this post.

*A global standard for measuring property? NYC’s not buying in: City’s real estate industry dismisses universal system for assessing office building size by Hiten Samtani, The Real Deal, July 09, 2014 09:00AM
Header image: Measurement.jpg found at UNDP, used under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 IGO licence.

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Sustainability leads at DGNB Consense 2014

Christophe Daudigny Head of Project Management RealCorp Luxembourg

Christophe Daudigny is all revved up! He is a certified DGNB Consultant, so of course he’s convinced about the energy and cost savings that sustainable buildings can achieve. But since he represented RealCorp at the Consense 2014 conference (1-2 July) organised by Messe Stuttgart and DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council), he’s been unstoppable. He came back armed to the teeth with inspiring statistics, new technologies and great new partnerships to take us to the next level in creating a more human-friendly built environment.

DGNB Consense 2014 Christophe Daudigny nametagAs a DGNB Consultant, and as Head of Project Management for RealCorp Luxembourg, Christophe Daudigny has exposure to buildings new and old that are challenged by the new sustainability requirements of the 21st century.

In the first role, he advises clients which elements enable a new or renovation project to claim a high level of sustainability. He helps them to estimate the costs of compliance with regulated and voluntary standards, and also the all-important ROI. In the second role, he manages the providers, materials, technologies and processes that enable clients to achieve these goals.

Consense is a great event for keeping abreast of the latest tools and methods in sustainable construction via workshops and seminars.

It is also a good place to “Meet the Leaders of Sustainability”, which was the theme of Consense 2014, and to get up-to-date facts and figures on the sustainability agenda. DGNB is originally a German label and Christophe is inspired by the rapid progress Germany has made towards practising what it preaches.

DGNB Consense 2014 Investment Forum Agenda“Did you know,” he asked, smiling with satisfaction, “that, in Germany, sustainability initiatives are already having a huge impact?” He quoted the following statistics from Consense 2014:

  • There are 147 new purchasers of sustainable buildings, representing 2000 people, every two years.
  • 80% of new buildings are DGNB-certified this year (as opposed to 10% five years ago)
  • The average market value of a DGNB building in 2013 was 24% more than that of other buildings (based on 2013 transactions for similar areas and locations)
  • 73% of people working or housed in a DGNB Building in 2013 confirmed in a survey that they had experienced “a really important change in the quality of indoor life” in their new building. (For 97% of these, it was a positive change. Only 0,5% claimed a negative change.)
  • 50% of DGNB buildings have a high level of performance without any extra costs.”

Christophe is convinced that all European countries will soon follow suit and he intends to be leading the charge in Luxembourg!

He will also be working with several new partners for RealCorp Project Management: FURAL Decken, DGNB, Green Building Council, CSD Engineers, SBA, Elsässer Innovations and Hübner.

Christophe is passionate about this. He says, “RealCorp wants to be part of the move for top quality construction. Whenever possible, we want to participate in studies everywhere in Europe aimed at achieving quality buildings with high-level performance. We want to help our clients to avoid or to renovate old buildings with old standards, such as low air quality and high energy expenses, that are unfriendly to human work and life.

Consense 2014 Agenda with RealCorp Luxembourg company brochure“Our goal is to promote sustainable buildings which use modern intelligence to consume less energy and cost less, while creating more human environments.”

For more information on DGNB or RealCorp’s green advisory service, read these posts:
Green Certification: Do You Need It?
Tenants and Investors Demand Green Certification
DGNB: The Highest Green Standard in Luxembourg

Post updated 16 June 2015

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Belair House Luxembourg Exterior Transformation

Side View of Belair House Luxembourg

On 8 May 2014 we announced the start of RealCorp Luxembourg’s new refurbishment project for Belair House Family Office at 2 boulevard Grande-Duchesse Charlotte, Luxembourg. RealCorp Luxembourg’s project management team had managed the internal works last year. This enabled the company to move in and start work in February 2014. They were up and running and could host an official inauguration on 31st March, but the exterior works were still outstanding.

Under the supervision of RealCorp’s Head of Project Management, Christophe Daudigny, the work on the façade of Belair House Luxembourg began on 12 May 2014. We anticipated that it would take two months.

Belair House Luxembourg workman with hard hat and company signAfter validation by the VDL (Luxembourg City) administration in June, and two visits by the Head of City Buildings Administration, we were authorised to proceed to Stage 2 of this renewal of the façade and other external works.

Christophe says, “We are on track to complete this project at the end of July.”

The work includes cleaning the facade, detailed renovation of natural stones, painting, and roof renewal.

The Before and After pictures of the exterior stonework (below) give you some idea of the challenges of the work required and the very pleasing results achieved.

Assisting with the project are specialist companies S.L.C.P. (Société Luxembourgeoise Chanzy-Pardoux) Sàrl and Tralux T-S-M (Travaux-Services-Maintenance), while E3C is providing security.

Belair House Luembourg Facade Before and AfterS.L.C.P. has teams specialized in the restoration of the built heritage of individuals, businesses and local authorities.

This is one of the few companies still using the traditional techniques of masonry, plaster, restoration framing, and stone carving, as well as decorative painting such as trompe l’oeil, and stucco plastering.

For nearly 10 years, Tralux Construction has offered a range of maintenance and services in addition to its work on historical projects. Today, Tralux T-S-M serves customers in industry, commerce, communities, telecommunications, energy and transportation.

We are delighted to be working with equally experienced partners.

The Belair House Luxembourg villa will be completely restored by the end of July, after a substantial but worthwhile investment from the owner Crown Properties.

Post updated 16 June 2015

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Market Sector Focus: Findel Airport Area

Findel Airport Air Control Tower Luxembourg

As in many countries, the vicinity of the airport is the ideal environment for many companies with international reach. Attracted by the space available in the Findel Airport Area, and by the efficient gateway between international markets created by the airport, several important companies have further enhanced their image by choosing to locate their offices here.

The proximity to the terminal gives easy access to major European and global cities, and Luxembourg city centre is a short car, bus or (soon) tram-ride away.

As the authorities cannot build homes due to planning restrictions relating to airport pollution, considerable space is available for developers to invest in innovative, spacious office developments, and several have taken the opportunity.

CityGate Findel/Airport Luxembourg - Artist's ImpressionAmong these projects are Aérogolf, built there a few years ago, Findel Office Park F7 and the CityGate office development by BESIX RED Luxembourg, due to be completed in Q2 2016.

These building projects in the Findel Airport Area are responding to to an ever-increasing demand as companies realise the advantages of positioning themselves here.

They will also benefit from the Mobil 2020 plan to improve accessibility to the airport district, thanks to the extension of the Luxtram route to Findel. For a RealCorp view of Luxtram, see our post Luxtram is on track!


Example UsersJP Morgan Schroeder HSBCNord LB


Total sqmApprox. 160,000sqm
Type of areaOffices
Average Rent*/sqm18 to 25 euros

* Average price found

To explore your options for office premises in the Findel Airport Area, please contact the RealCorp Luxembourg Agency team.

Source : atHome Mag
Earlier versions of this RealCorp blog post were posted in French and English on 25 September 2013.

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Developer Focus: BESIX RED Luxembourg

BESIX RED Luxembourg Logo

RealCorp Luxembourg is privileged to work with many different developers who bring expertise and insight to the Luxembourg market. This month, we focus on BESIX RED Luxembourg. A subsidiary of the BESIX Group, BESIX RED (formerly SGT) SA is in charge of Real Estate Development. We are delighted to be assisting this highly experienced team with the marketing of their new project in Luxembourg: CityGate Findel/Airport.

The BESIX Group has existed for more than a century and has wide experience and interests in construction and development in many countries, including Egypt, Morocco, Dubai, Belgium, France and Luxembourg. In Betzdorf, Lux TP is working on the the structural work and the exterior finishing of the ATF (Antenna Field Technical Facility) building for satellite operator SES Global. The building has a gross area of around 26,000sqm.

BESIX RED Real Estate Development LogoIn Europe, BESIX RED has been operating for over 25 years, providing B2B property consulting and services such as building contracting and real estate agency, covering three main business areas, i.e. Office, Residential and Services (such as hotels and crèches). Initially operating from the Head Office is in Brussels, they subsequently developed two other offices, in Paris and in Luxembourg.

Their website explains that BESIX RED combines the strengths of architects, engineers and entrepreneurs “to serve the specific interests of clients with high-performance developments, maximising convenience of occupancy AND optimisation of environmental, economic and technical factors.”

In other words, they can draw on the synergies and technological expertise of the wider Group to take on challenging projects where outcomes must be both ecologically sustainable and profitable for investors seeking high returns. The resulting properties are well-located, contain state of the art technology and offer flexible occupancy options.

BESIX RED has an extensive track record of delivery of large office developments. During the financial crisis, when the commercial real estate market stagnated somewhat, the Belgian company adjusted focus to residential buildings and services, including converting empty office buildings for residential use. They produced desirable, quality architecture with comfortable, functional and attractive living spaces. In the Services arena, they have recently completed work on Motel One in Brussels.

CityGate Findel Airport Luxembourg - Artist's ImpressionWith the recovering confidence in the markets, BESIX RED is now again responding to demand by expanding their international presence and constructing state-of-the-art new office buildings, in line with its resolve to strengthen its international presence primarily by targeting the markets of professional real estate and office projects.

A separate, Luxembourg-based company, BESIX RED Luxembourg, was constituted more than 30 years ago under the name SGT. With the management buyout in Brussels, SGT became BESIX RED Luxembourg. Recent projects in Luxembourg include an assignment involving 20,000sqm of office space in front of Luxembourg City station (galerie Kons), in partnership with Immobel and CLI.

Logo of CityGate Findel/Airport  office building marketed by RealCorp Luxembourg

The new 13,000sqm CityGate office development in Findel/Airport is currently being marketed by RealCorp Luxembourg and CBRE. For more information on this project, see CityGate Luxembourg: Gateway to Success.


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Belair House Happy with New Home

Belair House BIL Group inaugurationBelair House, a member of the Banque Internationale à Luxembourg (BIL) Group, officially inaugurated its new offices at 2 boulevard Grande-Duchesse Charlotte, CBD, Luxembourg, on Monday 31st March 2014.

This villa, owned by Crown Properties,was renovated last year under the supervision of the RealCorp Project Management team, enabling Belair House employees to move in during February 2014.

Official opening of Belair House

Belair House, a new company under the BIL Group, opened its Family Office and Investment Management activities during a reception held at the Cercle Cité Place d’Armes, in the presence of a hundred representatives of the financial sector and economic decision-makers of Luxembourg.

A limited liability company, Belair House obtained specific licenses for Family Office and Investment Management from the Ministry of Finance. It operates under the status of Professionnel du Secteur Financier (PFS) supervised by the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF).

Belair House at 2 bd Grande-Duchesse Charlotte LuxembourgThe new premises at 2 boulevard Grande-Duchesse, Luxembourg, are conveniently located in the CBD and were prepared for occupation by RealCorp Project Management.

Activities of Belair House

An independent Multi-Family Office, Belair House offers a complete service to wealthy families on all matters that may concern them.

The multidisciplinary teams at Belair House can support families in all aspects of preservation and development of their heritage, generation after generation. This may involve helping families to define and implement strategies tailored to their needs and concerns in order to preserve, enhance or otherwise transmit their heritage, and also to simplify daily management for better quality of life.

For more information about Belair House and the BIL Group, please see their press release (in French).

Additional works by RealCorp Project Management

On Monday 12th May, the RealCorp Project Management team will begin, with SLCP Chanzy-Pardoux, the refurbishments of the façade and the greening of the property. This is a valuable project, with no cost spared to achieve a look and feel appropriate to the building and its tenants, and to comply with the requirements of the City of Luxemburg “service sites et monuments”.

We anticipate that it will take two months to complete the work. We look forward to posting pictures of the final result!


Post updated 16 June 2015

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DGNB: The Highest Green Standard in Luxembourg

Christophe Daudigny, RealCorp’s Head of Project Management, is one of Luxembourg’s first qualified DGNB consultants.German tech is famous for its high quality standards. Germany first granted certificates for sustainable buildings in January 2009. Standards for these certificates were first developed by the DGNB (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen e.V. or German Sustainable Building Council) and the BMVBS (Bundesministeriums für Verkehr, Bau und Stadtentwicklung or Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs). The DGNB continues to monitor and improve these standards and has extended the scheme internationally.

Christophe Daudigny, RealCorp’s Head of Project Management, is one of Luxembourg’s first qualified DGNB consultants.

Why is DGNB a good provider?

DGNB LogoDGNB is the most recent green certificate to be developed and incorporates the latest research and understanding of sustainability issues. It aims to offer “objective description and assessment of the sustainability of buildings and urban districts” and to base assessment on the quality in use of the building or district, i.e. the overall performance of the property or area, over its entire life cycle, rather than on specific items.

On its website, the DGNB describes itself as follows:

The German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB – Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen e.V.) was founded in 2007 by 16 initiators from various subject areas within the construction and real-estate sectors. The aim was to promote sustainable and economically efficient building even more strongly in future. The reaction to the founding of the DGNB was extremely positive. By the beginning of 2008 121 organizations had already joined the DGNB. Today the association has more than 1,100 members throughout the entire world, because we see ourselves as a German and international knowledge platform. Our vision for 2050: a sustainably built and liveable future. There are more than 500 experts who support us on a volunteer basis: architects, investors, project developers, scientists, builders and other specialists from the construction and real-estate sectors.

solarwind-facade-arriere330x185Visiting a DGNB Very Good building, such as SolarWind in Windhof, is a noticeably positive experience. Last year, 52% of German new buildings were subject to DGNB assessments, because its standards are recognised throughout the country. It has been proven in Germany that in 2012 the financial value of DGNB-compliant buildings was 25% more than that of normal buildings for 2010 constructions. A DGNB building is better for users, better for the planet and better for economy (People, Planet, Profit)!

What specific issues does DGNB certification address?

Assessors look for evidence of “outstanding fulfilment” (that is to say, indications that developers are “voluntarily outperforming” today’s norms) of up to 50 sustainability criteria, to measure Quality in Environmental, Economic, Sociocultural and Functional, Technical, and Process approaches.

For buildings, depending on their age and use, criteria applied might include Thermal Comfort, Access for All, Space Efficiency, Appearance and Noise Protection. Examples of criteria for a district include items related to environmental quality, location, climate protection, social and commercial infrastructure, circulation, and public participation.

What are the possible DGNB certifications?

Bronze, Silver or Gold certificates are granted via more than fifteen Schemes specific to particular building or district use types. Schemes are constantly under review, with new ones being developed as differentiating principles and demand are clarified.
Current Schemes include Industrial buildings, Office and administrative buildings, Retail buildings, Residential buildings, Small residential buildings, Assembly buildings, Educational facilities, Hospitals, Laboratory buildings, Mixed use and Tenant fit-out, as well as Business districts, Industrial locations and Urban districts.

What is the benefit of having DGNB advice/certification in Luxembourg?

The DGNB System can be tailored to country-specific requirements, taking into account legal, cultural, environmental and building issues and contexts. However, it certifies “buildings throughout the world according to the same standard and approach, thus achieving comparability, transparency and reassurance for investors, building owners and users alike”.

For Luxembourg, a small country at the heart of Europe that attracts both local and international investors who have exposure to other options in other countries, this easy-to-comprehend certification provides reassurance and simplifies decision-making.

DGNB can now certify shopping centres, offices or residential buildings, and both new or refurbishment projects, all of which are very active areas of development in Luxembourg. Luxembourg already has several DGNB-certified and pre-certified Buildings and Urban Districts, for example:

  • Administration de la nature et des forêts, Diekirch
  • Atert-Lycée, Redange
  • Espace Grégoire, Strassen
  • Solarwind, Windhof
  • Verwaltungsgebäude Editus, Kayl
  • Dienstleistungszentrum, Gasperich
  • Belval,Esch-du-Alzette
  • Ban de Gasperich, Luxemburg
  • Stadtquartier ARBORIA, Differdange,
Why is RealCorp a reliable provider of this advice?

RealCorp is one of only three firms in Luxembourg who are ahead of the curve in offering official DGNB consultations with an agreed provider, our very own Christophe Daudigny, who qualified with DGNB in 2011.

As a hands-on Head of Project Management, Christophe is intimately involved with the practical and financial issues that affect the setting up and running of offices and other projects for many different types of clients. So not only is he a qualified DGNB Consultant, his daily experience also ideally equips him to advise how sustainability initiatives may impact the bottom line in your project. He can steer you through all the stages of a DGNB label:

  • Choice of targets
  • Choice of German advisor for all exchanges with Stuttgart head of certification
  • Follow up during design stage
  • Optimization and cost control of the project
  • Follow up during works stages
  • Final certificate
  • Communication about this high-level certificate.

Post updated 16 June 2015

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Green Certification: Do You Need It?

Christophe Daudigny RealCorpGreen building (also “green construction” or “sustainable building”) expands and complements classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. It aims for environmentally responsible and resource-efficient structures and processes throughout a building’s life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.* Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

In fact, getting it right (meaning making it both effective and compliant with local laws) is a challenge well beyond that already provided by traditional building practices. Christophe Daudigny, RealCorp’s Head of Project Management, who is both a Project Manager and a qualified green advisory consultant, knows this only too well. It requires close cooperation of the design team, the architects, the engineers, and the client at all project stages, and is impossible to achieve without qualified advice. Here he responds to some general questions about the process.

When might one need a green advisory service?

Today, you should take the opportunity to get sustainability advice for any new construction or refurbishment project. From a valuation perspective, the main benefit for property owners is the capacity to charge a premium on the rent. It’s true that sustainable buildings are often more expensive to erect, but new construction materials enable reduced service charges, which improves the long-term picture. And the benefits are felt by occupants as well, in terms of improved working conditions and the lower service charges. Subject to current local market conditions, the capital value of the building could also increase.

What elements should the advice address?

The consultant’s first meeting with the client should aim to establish the certification target. Does the project need just basic sustainability standards, such as those provided by HQE, BREEAM, etc., or should it go for the highest possible quality system, such as DGNB? Then, within the requirements and parameters of the particular certification system, an appropriate certification scheme (such as industrial, offices or education) must be selected. And within that scheme, should we aim for adequate, good or excellent? This choice affects various aspects of the implementation, such as site location, choice of materials, construction methods, degree of community consultation, and, not least, the cost, of course!

What should an advisor know and/or what experience or qualifications should s/he have?

This partly depends of the particular certification system being used. Naturally, the advisor should have an appropriate qualification from the particular label provider, but there may be other requirements. For instance, DGNB requires not only a “Doktor Ingenieur” diploma from the DGNB Technical School in Stuttgart (or a special advisory status for qualified consultants in countries outside Germany), but also demonstrable long experience in construction (unlike BREEAM, which does not).


What types of certificates can be issued?

There are usually a few award levels, which may be differently named, but essentially reflect variations on “good, better and best” status, and which may be awarded in the design stage (a temporary certificate) or after reception of the finished building. For instance, BREEAM uses Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding, LEED uses Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum, and DGNB uses Bronze, Silver and Gold.

What is the cost of such a service?

With a good advisory, there should really be 0% extra cost on the works, because the advisor should usually be able to guide you to do better with the same resources, but there will be fees that should be factored into the total cost of the building.

For example, a DGNB guideline suggests that for a building of approximately 1000sqm there will be around 50k€ of fees, which includes the Advisor, as well as specialists in air quality, layout quality, healthy buildings, etc.

DGNB is currently the only certification system with a cost criterion, i.e. which includes the economy of the project as one measure of sustainability. If you exceed the benchmark cost for your building, you will lose points in the certification, so advisory fees are taken into account for this calculation.

Note that RealCorp’s green advisory service specialises in the DGNB System. For information on other green certification systems, please visit the relevant websites. For an overview of how DGNB may benefit you, see the post DGNB: The Highest Green Standard in Luxembourg.

*Source: Wikipedia

Post updated 16 June 2015

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