An Introduction to BREEAM

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
 Outstanding  ≥ 85
 Excellent  ≥ 70
 Very Good  ≥ 55
 Good  ≥ 45
 Pass  ≥ 30
 Unclassified  < 30
  • 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.


If you would to find out more about BREEAM  please call today on 01579 382202 or by email: