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Resource: European Code of Practice for Sustainable Building: a set of Europe-wide practical recommendations for sustainable construction

Name of organisation: VFP Project "Presco" reviewed by VMSW

Type of ressource: guidance documents

Addressed barriers:

  • technical
  • skills/ knowledge gap

Addressed users:

  • building user (social housing organization)
  • building owner
  • O&M staff
  • design team
  • project manager
  • contractor
  • public decision maker


  • English

Process stage:

  • design phase (project briefing)
  • pre- design phase (appraisal and strategic briefing)
  • asset management


Capacity Building Asset Management Project Management Environmental Design


The resource provide an European Code of Practice for Sustainable Building.
It contain approximately 200 practical recommendations, for which environmental advantages and drawbacks, technical limitations and a cost indication are described. It allows also recommendations only valid for parts of Europe (f.i. due to geographical and climate conditions).

PRESCO set of guidelines must be considered as general principles, which need further detailing at the local or national scale. The general principles hould however be acceptable for all. Finally, as scientific knowledge increases and societal opinions change, the PRESCO guidelines will become obsolete in the course of time. A continual updating will thus be necessary.

8 areas where recommendations are developed:
• Energy Conservation
• Review advantages and disadvantages of heritage buildings in terms of space, sustainability and accessibility to try and find an appropriate new function for them
• Longevity and durability
• Avoid pollution from materials or techniques used in repairs/refurbishment/ restoration, e.g. use of ecological materials, consider indoor air quality, avoid effluorescence
• Respect the cultural heritage of buildings: Undertake a full heritage and sustainability audit of he building and site.
• Understand and learn from the original technology and design of the building or from traditional building designs and details
• Reuse materials from old buildings
• Consider reusing similar architectural forms and language from previous buildings on or surrounding the site


In order to produce a widely accepted consensus document, a draft code of practice is being developed based upon a compilation and integration of already existing national or international recommendations. After discussions within the network and with local networks, the draft code will be submitted to a European-wide public inquiry oriented towards professionals representing all stakeholders in the construction industry (it is the objective to reach 2500 professional contacts). Finally, an updated version will be presented and discussed at a workshop, organised by PRESCO together with the CRISP network. After amendments, the final European Code of Practice should be published and should contain approximately 200 to 250 practical recommendations, for which environmental advantages and drawbacks, technical limitations and a cost indication will be described


A short presentation (ppt) can be downloaded from :


The PRESCO recommendations has been implemented in the “Concepts for social Housing – C2008” of the VMSW :  (only available in Dutch). PRESCO partner VHM (old name) = VMSW (new)

Related Files (16353.7 kB)