Sustainable Community Buildings - Land and buildings guidance

This guidance is for organisations applying to Sustainable Community Buildings for a grant of up to to £50,000.

What we'll ask you to provide

We understand that projects are all different. So the information we request will be proportionate and appropriate to the scale and type of environmental improvements you are undertaking.

You'll be required to meet your obligations under construction legislation. If you have any concerns, you should seek independent legal advice.

If you need help

Get in touch if you would like more information, or if anything in this guidance is unclear.

If you've already discussed your proposal with us, you can get additional support from your Funding Officer or our by calling the advice line on 028 90 551455.

What we can fund

We can fund the costs associated with work to improve the environmental performance of your building.

You'll need prove that you own the building

We need you to tell us whether you own the building on a leasehold or freehold basis.

Leasehold ownership is where you have a legally binding agreement with a landlord, called a lease.

Leasehold ownership is for a specific period, providing exclusive use and legal interest in a building. Once this period has expired the lease comes to an end and the property is returned to the landlord.

If you own the property on a leasehold basis, you'll need to supply a copy of the existing or draft lease.
The lease must be for a term of at least 5 years (after the proposed work is complete) and it should not contain any early termination rights for either party in the 5 year period. If you do not have a copy of your lease, you should ask your solicitor for a copy.

Freehold ownership is where you own the property outright, usually with no third-party involvement.

If you own the property on a freehold basis, you'll need to supply an up-to-date copy (dated within the last 6-months) of your Folio with a Folio plan.

Where land is registered, you can obtain folios and plans by either:

  • making an appointment and visiting a Land & Property Services office (Belfast, Ballymena, Craigavon, Derry/Londonderry and Omagh
  • emailing them with the property details to
    The Land & Property Services will reply asking for payment. They'll then send you copy of your folio.

The search itself is undertaken by the Land and Property Service, so the requestor only needs to know property details like address and postcode, not Folio numbers. The cost of a Folio and a Folio plan is £5 per document.

Where land is unregistered, you should have access to the title deeds. You'll need to share a copy of these with us. If you do not know where these are located, you should contact your solicitor. They'll then need to make enquiries with the Registry of Deeds.

You'll need to confirm that your building is fully accessible

We want to support places and spaces that are designed to be accessible for all. You'll need to confirm that your building is fully accessible, and where this is not the case you have plans in place to address this in the near future (funding permitting).

You'll need to provide a copy of your Environmental Plan

Your Environmental Plan will identify the key measures to be undertaken to help save energy usage, reduce carbon emissions, and reduce running costs. This will be created with the help of a sustainability expert.

Summary of project costs

You'll need to supply your cost estimate for each of the things you and the sustainability expert identify. We'd expect you to base your costs on quotes.

These costs will include:

  • environmental performance improvements
  • legal, administration, statutory costs and surveys
  • non-recoverable VAT.

You'll need to show us any permissions, approvals, and other consents

Where applicable, please supply any consents you may need (or describe the progress you have made in obtaining such consents). Most projects need to consider:

  • planning permission (including Listed Building Consent)
  • Building Regulations approval
  • any other statutory consents such as from Utility companies or the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

Health and Safety

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (Northern Ireland) (2016) place responsibility on clients, designers and contractors involved in construction projects to ensure adequate health and safety processes are put in place. You'll need to adhere to client duties within the CDM Regulations (2016) and explain what professional support you have engaged to help you.


Where you are engaging building professionals, contractors, or suppliers you must use an appropriate procurement process that is compliant with your organisation’s procurement policy or accepted good practice in the public/charity sector. It should be transparent and fair. You'll need to adhere to any publicly funded legal requirements in advance of your application.

For construction works between £10,000 and £50,000 you must provide 3 recent quotes from established contractors.

Monitoring and claiming your grant

We do not pay for construction work in advance of it being undertaken, instead we release our grant towards the costs that you have incurred during the project, and these must be evidenced by invoices. So, you should ensure that you have prepared a clear cash flow for the duration of the project.