An Introduction to BREEAM
BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method) is currently the leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for assessing, rating and certifying buildings. It provides a sustainability rating based on a buildings environmental performance assessed against a series of credit issues within ten key principle categories. Credits awarded for each issue are added together to produce a single overall score on a scale of Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding. The primary aim of BREEAM is to minimise the impacts of buildings on the environment, both on a global and local level.
There is now increasing pressure on developers and builders to show a commitment to building a sustainable development. The importance of understanding BREEAM and its requirements is becoming a necessity to enable clients, designers, developers and contractors to appreciate the costs involved, start to tailor their designs to the needs of each issue, stay ahead of the game and also as a marketing tool to set themselves apart in terms of sustainability.
There are schemes available to suit most building types and functions from new build to refurbishment and fit out, from commercial to education buildings. Where a building does not fit into a particular scheme, a Bespoke assessment can be tailored specifically to suit the scheme. The scheme can be used to assess fully fitted buildings, simple fully fitted buildings (designed for less complex buildings), shell and core and shell only/ speculative buildings.
- BREEAM Rating Benchmarks
The BREEAM rating benchmarks for projects assessed under a BREEAM assessment are as follows:
|BREEAM Rating||% Score|
|Very Good||≥ 55|
- BREEAM Categories
The scheme is divided into 9 environmental impact categories as listed below.
|Management – encourages the adoption of sustainable management practices and ensures that sustainability objectives are set and considered through all stages of the project||Materials – encourages the specification and selection of materials which have a low “whole life cycle” environmental impact and that are responsibly sourced|
|Health and Wellbeing – rewards building design and specification decisions that create healthy, safe and comfortable internal and external environment and considers such issues as daylighting, thermal comfort and acoustics performance||Waste – encourages the reduction of waste from construction and throughout the lifetime of the building. Promotes recycling and reuse|
|Energy – encourages the specification and design of energy efficient building solutions, systems and equipment that supports the sustainable use and management of energy during a buildings operation||Land Use and Ecology – seeks to encourage sustainable land use, habitat protection and creation, and improvement in the long term site biodiversity|
|Transport – seeks to promote the provision of, and improved access to, local amenities and sustainable means of transport||Pollution – addresses the prevention and control of pollution and surface water run-off associated with the building’s location and use|
|Water – seeks to reduce the consumption of potable water use through the use of water efficient components sand water recycling systems||Innovation – rewards exemplary performance or innovative sustainable design solutions|
Each category is split into a number of environmental issues which set out the credit requirements.
It is important that BREEAM be considered during the early design stages and a BREEAM professional be appointed during the concept design stages to ensure that early stage credits are not lost, to advise on design requirements which will need to be incorporated and determine the most appropriate and viable route to achieving the desired performance level.