BREEAM Performance Levels Unravelled – Part Two

BREEAM Performance Levels Unravelled – Part Two

26th November 2018

Last week we began our mini-series on the scoring and rating system for BREEAM performance levels, bringing you an explanation on BREEAM ratings and what’s necessary to achieve them and some details on the environmental weightings that are used in BREEAM’s weighting system.  Today, as promised, we’ve got some more details on the assessment issues and additional credits for innovation that appear in last week’s table of BREEAM’s nine environmental sections.

Firstly, to make this information easier for readers to keep track of, we’re adding the table we published last week to avoid readers having to continuously flip between articles as they read:





Health and Wellbeing












Land Use and Ecology






Innovation (this is additional to the above)




BREEAM New Construction contains 9 environmental categories (with 49 separate individual assessment issues), with a tenth category for Innovation.  Each of the issues deals with a specific, building-related environmental impact and has a number of credits assigned to it.  BREEAM credits are awarded in cases where a building demonstrates that it meets the best practice performance levels for that issue.  However, in the case of the Health and Wellbeing category, consideration is for addressing a specific building occupant-related issue, such as good thermal comfort or acoustics.

Credits for Innovation

One of BREEAMs aims to support innovation within the construction industry and its supply chain by making credits available to recognise the sustainability-related benefits or performance levels which are not currently recognised by BREEAM assessment issues and criteria.  This means that buildings that go beyond best practice in terms of sustainability are rewarded with Innovation Credits.

Awarding Innovation Credits in this way allows design teams and clients to raise their building’s BREEAM performance and helps to promote and support the market for innovative new technologies, and design or construction practices. 

There are two ways that BREEAM awards Innovation Credits to recognise innovation in building design and procurement.  The first requires that a building meets the exemplary performance criteria within an existing BREEAM issue (goes beyond the standard BREEAM assessment criteria and is therefore best practice).  It’s worth noting that not all assessment issues have exemplary performance criteria.  The second way in which Innovation Credits can be achieved is in cases where an application to BRE Global is made by the BREEAM Assessor for a project registered for BREEAM assessment which has a specific building technology or feature, design or construction method, or process that is recognised as being “innovative”.  If the application meets with success and building compliance is subsequently verified, an Innovation Credit can be awarded. 

In addition to this, an extra 1% may be added to a building’s overall score for each of the Innovation Credits it achieves.  There is a maximum limit of 10 Innovation Credits that can be awarded to any particular building, making the maximum score possible for innovation 10%.  Innovation Credits may be awarded at any BREEAM rating level and are not affected by the building’s final BREEAM rating.