BREEAM Performance Levels Unravelled – Part One

BREEAM Performance Levels Unravelled – Part One

20th November 2018

Back in May of this year we brought you some information on BREEAM, the international initiative providing third party certification of the assessment of sustainability performance of individual buildings, infrastructure projects and communities.  BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method that was launched in 1990 to provide a flexible foundation for sustainable buildings which encourages the adoption of sustainable methods from the earliest development stages of any project.  Today we’re going to take a detailed look at BREEAM’s scoring and rating system.

There are several elements to be considered when determining the overall performance of a new building or construction project:

  • The BREEAM rating level benchmarks
  • The minimum BREEAM standards
  • The environmental section weightings
  • The BREEAM assessment issues and credits.

These elements are combined to produce a BREEAM rating, and benchmarks for new construction projects are assessed using the 2011 version of BREEAM, as follows:

BREEAM Rating

% Score

Performance Level Equivalent to

OUTSTANDING

>85

Innovator (fewer than 1% of UKK new non-domestic buildings)

EXCELLENT

>70

Best Practice (top 10% of UK ne3w non-domestic buildings

VERY GOOD

>55

Advanced Good Practice (top 25% of UK new non-domestic buildings)

GOOD

>45

Intermediate Good Practice  (top 50% of UK new non-domestic buildings)

PASS

>30

Standard Good Practice (top 75% of UK new non-domestic buildings)

UNCLASSIFIED

<30

Performance non-compliant with BREEAM

 

 

BREEAM uses a “balanced score card” approach to the assessment and rating of building performance in order to keep the system flexible.  This means that some BREEAM credits can be traded to achieve a particular level of performance.  For instance, non-compliance in one area can be offset through compliance in another to achieve the target BREEAM rating.  However, it’s vital to ensure that performance against fundamental environmental issues are not over-looked to gain a specific rating so BREEAM sets minimum performance standards in key areas such as energy, water, waste, etc.  We stress that these are the minimum acceptable levels of performance, so they should not be considered as levels that are representative of best practice for a BREEAM rating level.

Environmental weightings are crucial to the environmental assessment of any building as they are used to define and rank the relative impact of environmental issues.  The BREEAM weighting system was created by a panel of experts who used a combination of consensus based weightings and ranking to determine the relative value of the environmental sections BREEAM uses.  The table below shows the weightings for each of the nine environmental sections included in BREEAM’s New Construction scheme:

ENVIRONMENTAL SECTION

WEIGHTING

Management

12%

Health and Wellbeing

15%

Energy

19%

Transport

8%

Water

6%

Materials

12.5%

Waste

7.5%

Land Use and Ecology

10%

Pollution

10%

Total

100%

Innovation (this is additional to the above)

10%

 

 

Each environmental section in the table consists of differing numbers of BREEAM credits and assessment issues, so each individual assessment issue and credit varies in terms of how it adds to the overall score of a building. 

Next week we’ll take a look at BREEAM assessment issues and the additional credits for innovation that appear in the above table.  Don’t miss out on this valuable information – follow us on Facebook and Twitter so you get a notification when the article is published.