One year on from BREEAM 2018: What we know now
The latest revision of BREEAM New Construction was released on 23rd March 2018 and nearly a year has passed. In this time both Energist and our clients have learnt many lessons from the new scheme and here we share a few snippets of the key things that need consideration on BREEAM 2018 projects.
Few Demolition Contractors have Environmental Management Systems (EMS)
To achieve the EMS credit in the past only the Principal Contractor needed an EMS e.g. ISO14001. In the new scheme any company who manages the site for example the Demolition Contractor, must also have an EMS. Very few Demolition Contractors have this, so it is making the credit very difficult to achieve.
The BRE appeared to scrap the Considerate Construction Scheme (CCS) from early revisions, instead opting for their own Responsible Construction Management Checklist. However, an update late in 2018 mapped CCS against this checklist and formal CCS certification can now be used to award credits in this section.
Tricky thresholds and differing carbon factors
The number of credits available in Ene01 was reduced and with it the credit threshold values lowered. It is now becoming increasingly difficult to achieve the BREEAM Excellent mandatory credit when the fit out is Shell Only. The GLA are also increasingly asking projects to complete an Energy Assessment against the new SAP 10 Carbon Emission Factors, however BREEAM still uses the old 'grid electricity is bad' 2012 emission factors so there is a huge discrepancy in results to be wary of moving forward.
Ene04 and Tra01
Tweaks to criteria still catching people out
Consultants have not yet caught up with the criteria changes that have been made in the new scheme. For example in Ene04 the Low Zero Carbon Feasibility Study must now consider battery storage on site and the Transport Assessment must make an assessment of the Accessibility Index of the site. These are frequently being missed and reports are having to be retrospectively amended.
Largely dependent on scope and size of project
The new Tra02 section largely rolled up all the previous version's Transport credits into one, but with some additions. Points are awarded for sustainable transport measures which translate into credits. Making improvements to local public transport, cycle networks and pedestrian access score multiple points and therefore multiple credits. These improvements however only tend to be possible on large projects with far reaching scope.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) reluctance
The new requirement to carry out an LCA has at first been met with reluctance on many projects with some opting to use the BRE’s Simplified Tool. This tool however has a capped credit score and is comparing poorly to the BRE’s own LCA benchmark. Current projects have scored only 1-2 credits using the simplified method whereas projects using a full LCA Tool have typically scored 6 credits if employed prior to Concept Design.
This equates to over a 5% difference in the BREEAM assessment score which is proving crucial in meeting required ratings. Energist are fully accredited to complete full LCA’s and can assist you with achieving maximum credits in this section.
LE01 - LE05
Land Use and Ecology proving as difficult as most thought
The new SEF Framework and BREEAM Biodiversity calculators aren’t proving to be an issue, however the new ‘wordy’ early design stage credits have proved harder to achieve! New credits are available for proving that adequate roles and responsibilities have been set for ecological design and that stakeholder consultation on ecology solutions has been carried out. This has so far proved difficult to evidence as it is not something that is typically documented at any length.
With little guidance from the BRE on what they want to see in these issues, many Planning and Design Teams have struggled to provide the documentary evidence required from pre-planning stages. Energist strongly urge all ecological correspondence and stakeholder engagement on soft landscaping and ecology to be well documented.