BREEAM – What’s it all About

BREEAM – What’s it all About

15th May 2018

BREEAM is an international imitative that provides third party certification of the assessment of sustainability performance of individual buildings, communities and infrastructure projects.  The assessment and certification can be carried out at a number of stages in the built environment lifecycle from design and construction through to operation and refurbishment. 

BREEAM is the leading global sustainability assessment method for planning projects, infrastructure and buildings.  BREEAM recognised and reflects the value of higher performing assets across the modern built environment lifecycle from new construction to in-use and refurbishment.  BREEAM uses third party certification of the assessment which involves checking by impartial experts of the assessment of a building or project by a qualified and licensed BREEAM Assessor to ensure that it meets the quality and performance standards of the scheme.  There are a number of national scheme operators in the UK that act as a certification body for BREEAM.

BREEAM was first introduced in 1990 and has developed significantly since then, providing a foundation for sustainable buildings which is flexible and encourages sustainable methods from early in the development stages.  BREEAM prolongs the life cycle of a building and emphasizes the importance of health and wellbeing to those who use and occupy the building. 

From an ecological point of view, BREEAM offers mandatory credits for minimising the impact on existing site ecology and ensures that some, if not all, species are protected and reinstated into a design that produces a neutral or low change in the ecological value between the pre and post development of a site.

During construction stages, BREEAM encourages the minimisation of the amount of waste produced on site by requiring contractors to develop a Resource Management Plan.  The baseline targets are provided by BREEAM, whilst contractors monitor and record waste quantities with a view to reducing the impact that the development has on the environment.   BREEAM also offers a credit that promotes resource efficiency and encourages the re-use and recycling of materials that are already on site in order to reduce costs and quantities of materials ordered and minimise waste produced during the building process.

BREEAM also promotes the responsible sourcing of materials through mindful design and analysis with an aim to increase the durability and lifespan of a building through its Responsible Sourcing of Materials credits. 

Research suggests that a BREEAM-rated commercial building increases a company’s industry standing, and occupying a sustainable building contributes to a company’s corporate responsibility agency, generating positive publicity for the company.

When it comes to the economic benefits, a BREEAM-rated building reduces both operating and refurbishment costs for building owners and landlords, resulting in lower running costs and a slower rate of depreciation.  Efficient heating systems, energy efficient lighting levels, energy efficient equipment and low water consuming components all collaborate to minimise costs and recent research has shown that sales and rental costs for BREEAM-rated buildings are higher, with people more likely to pay higher prices for less vulnerable, sustainable buildings. 

BREEAM building ratings and certifications are increasingly being viewed as a mark of quality and attractiveness. Resulting in higher occupancy rates and quicker property sales.