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BREEAM 2018: One year on

One year on from BREEAM 2018: What we know now

A year has now passed since the latest revision of BREEAM New Construction was released on 23rd March 2018. 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.



CCS u-turn

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.


What is a Life Cycle Assessment?

Under the most recent changes to BREEAM (2018), a Life Cycle Assessment is now required for all schemes to achieve credits in the MAT01 section.

The materials we choose when constructing new developments can bring with them a surprisingly high carbon footprint.

From each single brick to each strip of skirting board, every product needs to be produced, transported, and installed on site. While the building is in use these materials will need to be maintained, replaced or refurbished, until eventually the building is demolished and the cycle begins all over again.

Each one of these lifetime phases brings with it the possibility of using additional energy or water, producing additional toxins and pollutants, reducing air quality and increasing carbon emissions. The Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a way of predicting how green your proposed building will be from its extraction from the earth to the inevitable razing.

Standard Building Regulations don’t consider the environmental impact of specific materials, but this is becoming more of a talking point and is likely to be a common consideration in years to come.

With increasing awareness and consideration for sustainability, the Greater London Authority is potentially looking to introduce Life Cycle Assessments into the next version of the London Plan. If this goes ahead it could very quickly change the mindset around the standard construction materials we currently rely on to build in the capital.

Under the most recent changes to BREEAM (2018), a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is now required for all schemes to achieve credits in the MAT01 section. In BREEAM there are up to ten heavily-weighted MAT01 credits available for a perfectly performing LCA, so this is certainly an area that designers need to take seriously.

The LCA isn’t just looking at the external frame of a building; it considers the internal fit-outs also. With so many intricate elements to feed into the assessment it can be difficult to know which approach is best.

Generally, timber systems perform well, while chemical and concrete based products don’t. But that’s only one part of the equation. You also need to consider the distance traveled by each material (and transportation used), and how much of each material you’re planning on using.

Our in-house BREEAM team is qualified to produce Life Cycle Assessments.

We can complete the calculation for you, check the performance against BREEAM and offer advice on potential changes to your material list so you can earn extra high-value credits.

As with most elements of BREEAM it is important to complete the Life Cycle Assessment early. It should be completed early enough so the results can be used by your design team, and certainly before any construction work begins on site.

If you would like to find out more about LCA and how this feeds in to your overall BREEAM assessment, contact out specialist technical team for more details.



What is BREEAM? – A quick introduction

Have you been asked to complete a BREEAM assessment?

Many local planning authorities, especially those in built-up areas, now ask developers to complete a BREEAM assessment and first-timers to BREEAM are normally surprised to find how much evidence chasing is involved and how time-consuming this can be.

Long before anything physical happens on site, work on the BREEAM assessment should begin and will continue running in the background through construction, until months after the site is occupied. Being such a long process to run, it’s important and extremely beneficial to surround yourself with a team who can hit the ground running from day one.

The Energist team of BREEAM Accredited Professionals and Sustainability Specialists have produced this quick and handy guide to help you get off to the right start:


Firstly, what is BREEAM?

BREEAM is a sustainability assessment for non-domestic buildings and ensures a best practice approach to creating the most sustainable and efficient buildings. It is requested as part of the planning application for a new development and can apply to non-domestic buildings or existing buildings that are being converted into housing, but does not apply to newly built dwellings.

The requirements of a BREEAM assessment go beyond the requirements of current Building Regulations.

There are minimum requirements to meet and as a credit-based system, the more credits you earn, the more points you receive and the higher rating you will achieve. There are five levels, or ratings, and your planning team will decide which rating you need to achieve. To achieve the highest ‘Outstanding’ level, you need to earn at least 85% of all available credits. Some credits are mandatory but you will usually have some flexibility in the route you take to achieve the credits you need.


Why should I care now?

More than a quarter of all credits are awarded before you reach RIBA Stage 3. If work has begun to clear your site, you will already have lost your chance to earn some of the most valuable credits of the assessment. This means you’ll have to work harder with the credits that are left to you.

The categories in BREEAM are separated into site management, health and wellbeing, energy, transport, water, materials, waste, land use and ecology and pollution. Several of these sections need to be thought about and agreed upon before work starts on site, so attention to detail early on is critical.


Are there common stumbling blocks?

Depending on your BREEAM rating, some sections of the assessment are mandatory. Leaving these sections to the last minute can be costly. The Energy and Ecology sections can offer high levels of credits, but again this depends on early planning and efficient evidence collecting.


How can Energist help?

Our aim with your BREEAM project is to ensure we find the right solutions, keep it simple and deliver within your time-frames and budget.

We aim to carry out regular reviews of your progress throughout the project and will make recommendations along the way to help keep things on track.

Don’t hesitate if you need to bring a BREEAM team on board to help with your next development, call Energist now to see how we can take away much of the hassle.



Don’t miss out on these BREEAM credits

With over 250 BREEAM projects successfully completed, our experience tells us which credits you shouldn’t be missing out on. Offering advice at the right time and guidance throughout your project, we can help you achieve credits without over-specifying.

Make the best start to BREEAM 2018 and don’t miss out on these credits:

MAN01 – Project brief and design

The consultation, including defining roles and responsibilities, is often conducted as standard at planning stage and so credits are achieved automatically. The BREEAM criteria can easily be included within the consultation documents and the topics for discussion included within the meeting minutes at no extra cost. This must be completed prior to RIBA stage 2 and must explain how the consultation has influenced the brief.

MAN02 – Capital cost reporting

Reporting the cost for the building in £ per m2 of gross internal floor area is easy and free to confirm subject to client confidentiality. Even if the final capital cost is not known, a best estimate is acceptable.

MAN03 – Responsible construction practices

Monitoring, recording and reporting energy use, water consumption and transportation data is usually done as standard for most sites and if not, it is cost-effective to implement. Responsibility must be  assigned to a specific person and monitoring must take place from the start of the build programme of the principal contractor.

MAN04 – Commissioning and handover

Preparing a schedule of commissioning and testing is usually completed as standard for most projects. Completing this in compliance with BREEAM can be achieved at little to no extra cost. All commissioning must be undertaken in line with the appropriate standards, such as current Building Regulations, BSRIA and CIBSE guidelines.

HEA01 – Visual comfort

This can be achieved through building form or by installing occupant controlled blinds. There is a relatively low associated cost and it is rarely not achievable for most building types. The glare control strategy must avoid increasing artificial lighting energy consumption.

ENE02 – Energy monitoring

Installing energy metering system to each fuel type in smaller, less complex buildings is usually straight forward and low in cost to complete but can be costly for larger buildings where a BEMS needs to be installed. Additional sub-metering to high energy load and tenancy areas can be an extra easy win credit dependent on building type.

ENE03 – External lighting

Specifying efficient light fittings, automatic controls and presence detection in areas of low pedestrian traffic is simple to achieve and relatively low cost for most project types.

LE01 – Site selection

If at least 75% of the development’s footprint is on previously occupied land, this credit can be awarded at no cost. Any associated fixed surface infrastructure counts as previously developed land so unless the project is on green belt land this should be targeted at an early stage.

POL04 – Reduction of night time light pollution

External light pollution is usually eliminated as standard by removing the need for external lighting or by limiting the hours it is used with time controls, which can be installed at low cost.  The lighting strategy must be designed in line with Table 2 (and its accompanying notes) of the ILP Guidance notes for the reduction of obtrusive light, 2011.

Are your advisors working for you? Energist are independent so our advice is always geared towards the most cost effective solution for you.

  • Our team of in house specialists have nearly 20 years’ experience in delivery of BREEAM projects
  • We carefully consider all options and guide our clients to gain all BREEAM credits available at every stage of their project
  • We know what is permissible and will represent this to LPAs on our clients behalf
  • We work to our clients deadlines with evidence feedback guaranteed within 7 days

Get in touch with our BREEAM team for a FREE technical consultation

Call us on 08458 386 387

10 Things You Need to Know About BREEAM 2018

It was only a couple of weeks ago that BRE released the full details of BREEAM New Construction 2018. It’s already replaced the previous 2014 version, so if you have a new site that needs BREEAM registration, you will be working to the new 2018 requirements.

Here are ten things you need to know about the new BREEAM:


BREEAM New Construction 2018 went live on March 23rd 2018, which means all new registrations need to be under this revised scheme. BRE may give allowances if you have a specific planning condition or contract that specifies the use of the older version, but that is at their discretion.


There is a new, third stage to BREEAM. The Post Occupancy Stage is a voluntary step where you can earn up to seven credits by monitoring the building’s energy and water use over the first two years of occupation, and tracking this data against the expected performance of the building during the design stage. This is the first time BREEAM has extended into the first years of a building’s use.


Because of the introduction of the Post Occupancy Stage, the amount of energy credits available from the EPC and SBEM scores have been reduced to nine, with additional exemplary credits available for achieving zero carbon or carbon negativity on site.


The Considerate Constructor’s Scheme has been replaced by a checklist of 19 requirements covering similar items. To earn a MAN03 credit, you need to tick off the first nine sections of the checklist (which covers monitoring air and light pollution, site training, safe site access etc). A second credit is available if you meet 16 of the 19 requirements.


Another scheme that’s vanished from the BREEAM manual is the Green Guide Rating. This has been replaced with BRE’s own Life Cycle Assessment Tool. Alternatively, a more detailed Impact assessment can be carried out to claim the MAT01 credits.


Credits for controlling storm water on site have been made more difficult to achieve. Previously you could earn a credit for ensuring surface water run off was no worse because of the development. You now need to show a 30% improvement.


The Land Use and Ecology section has been rewritten – the most noticeable change is that the mandatory credit for using an ecologist has been removed, although more credits are available if you do make use of a suitably qualified ecologist. There are still some unknowns in this section, with a separate Ecological Risk Evaluation Checklist still to be published. Four of the five LE sections are now designed like stepping stones… you need at least one credit in a section before you can move onto the next.


More emphasis has been placed on air quality, with credits available for monitoring it during construction and after completion. Separate credits are available if the heating system meets NOx pollution targets (or particle pollution targets in the case of biomass boilers).


The Transport section of BREEAM has had an overhaul. There are now just two sections (previously there were five), although the amount of credits hasn’t changed. There’s less emphasis on nearby amenities, and instead there is more focus on how occupiers of the building can sustainably get to local amenities. Developers can earn credits if they include charging points for electric cars, and give priority spaces for carshare schemes.


Extra work is required to claim the MAN04 credit – the Building User Guide. The building occupiers now need to be provided two versions of the BUG. One technical version for the Facilities Manager, and one simplified version for a typical building user. Training plans teaching how to use the building efficiently should also be separated into a technical and simplified framework.


Overall, the new BREEAM doesn’t bring with it substantial changes, but features enough tweaks and updates to trip up unaware developers. Contact Energist’s BREEAM team for more information on the new scheme.

All you need to know about BREEAM UK New Construction 2018

BREEAM UK New Construction 2018 Officially Released

In amongst the maze of PV panels and shiny heating systems at this year’s Ecobuild exhibition at London’s Excel Centre, the Building Research Establishment (BRE) officially released BREEAM New Construction 2018.

The manual, which sets out sustainable building practices, will shortly be replacing the current 2014 version. Now the new details have been released, developers have just a two week grace period (until March 23rd) to decide whether to register their upcoming sites under the older scheme, or to be among the first to get involved with the new scheme.

The team at BRE have perfected their poker faces and have been keeping their cards well hidden prior to this launch, making it difficult to know what to expect from the new set of requirements.

In fact, the 2018 New Construction manual has pretty much gone through a complete rewrite. The manual is clearer to read, has been made slightly shorter and BRE have even added a splash of colour to break up the technical text.

Despite the big shake up in appearance, developers and contractors will be glad to discover the requirements and complexities aren’t too dissimilar from the previous version. There are a few big adjustments to be aware of, which we’ll cover off in a series of blogs.

Use the heading links below to skip to each section

Post Occupancy Stage

Until now there have always been two stages of BREEAM: The Design Stage (which lets a developer plan out their route to BREEAM compliance before work gets underway on site) and the Post-Construction Stage (which confirms the building has been constructed as intended). There is now a third, voluntary stage available – the Post Occupancy Stage.

This new step encourages developers and contractors to introduce monitoring and reporting of the actual performance of the building during the first two years of occupation. There has long been an argument in the industry that sustainable methodologies (BREEAM, Code for Sustainable Homes, SAP, SBEM, EPCs) don’t reflect real life, and buildings often far exceed the energy demands as calculated during design.

BREEAM’s Post Occupancy Stage (which isn’t available for shell-only assessments) requires the recording of energy and water use, and encourages the Facilities Manager to look for deficiencies in performance, and opportunities for making the building perform more efficiently.

It’s hoped this technique can gather valuable data about the performance gap, and can be used to influence building performance in the future.

There are seven credits available – six in Energy and one in Water – for any BREEAM assessment where Post Occupancy Stage is adopted.


The MAN03 section encourages construction sites which are managed in an environmentally and socially considerate manner. Previously, there were two credits available if a developer adopted a Considerate Constructor’s Scheme.

This has been replaced with a checklist of 19 requirements covering areas such as creating a safe site entrance, minimising air, light and water pollution, provide equipment for medical emergencies, minimising the risk of anti-social behaviour and site training. One Management credit is available if you commit to nine of these requirements, with a further credit if you meet 15.

There is also a new requirement in this section for the client and contractor to formally agree performance targets. Under the previous BREEAM, performance only needed to be monitored.

The credit for commissioning a Building User Guide has been made tougher. You now need two separate guides – a technical guide for the Facilities Manager, and a basic guide for a typical building user. A training schedule should also be developed, and split out in a similar way.


The TRA section of BREEAM – which sets out how occupants get access to local amenities and transport links – has completely changed, with the emphasis on how developers and contractors can make improvements as part of the building works. There are now just two sections in this category, offering 12 credits (previously there were five).

TRA01 offers two credits if you raise awareness to occupants about existing local transport links, and identify how it could be improved to make it more sustainable.

This Travel Plan should be site specific, and needs to consider existing facilities for cyclists and walkers, the proximity to local amenities, disabled access, and trends and patterns.

Developers and contractors should create this plan with the building occupier (if known), and demonstrate how their building work will ultimately improve transport links in the area.

There are ten credits available in the new TRA02 section. This encourages sustainable transport measures appropriate for the site. There is a list of 11 transport measures to consider introducing to the site, with credits awarded depending on how many measures are adopted. The list includes introducing new bus routes, better signposting for footpaths, electric car charging points, encouraging car share schemes and providing cyclists with stores, lockers and showers.

Land Use and Ecology

This is another part of BREEAM that’s had a facelift with a few noticeable changes. The mandatory credit to measure the impact on existing site ecology has been axed. But with up to 13 credits available in Land Use and Ecology, we would still recommend giving this section a high degree of focus.

A new Ecological Risk Evaluation Checklist – yet to be published – will set out more details about the role of your site ecologist, and how important their work will be in obtaining LE credits.

The first part – Site Selection – is unchanged; with two credits available for using previously occupied or contaminated land.

After this, the rest of the LE section is new. It’s been rewritten using a stepping-stone approach, so you need to complete one section before you can move onto the next.

Starting with LE02, there are two credits if you create a site survey to evaluate the ecological baseline, and identify opportunities for improvement. It appears this work no longer needs to be carried out by a qualified ecologist, but more credits are available if you employ a trained professional to carry out the analysis.

The next step offers three credits if you can avoid negative impacts on the site ecology – again more credits are available if an ecologist is used.

Next, up to four credits can be claimed if you can enhance the ecological value of the site. And finally, two credits if you secure ongoing monitoring, management and maintenance of the site’s ecological features.

Air Quality

There’s currently a real buzz around how we need to reduce air pollution in our towns and cities. New development has to play its part by improving air quality when feasible.

POL02 previously focused only on NOx emissions caused by a new development, but this has been made broader to also cover particle pollution from biomass and solid fuel systems. Two credits are available by using low emission appliances to provide heat and hot water in the buildings. These new targets could pose a real challenge in our bigger cities.

Also, the HEA02 section of BREEAM has been updated; This deals with indoor air quality. For starters, you can’t claim any of the four credits in this section until an indoor air quality plan has been created. This needs to consider how contaminants are removed from the building, and how good air quality is maintained.

Previous focus in this section was given to the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emission levels of paint to ensure products are not leaving lingering particles in the building. This has now been expanded to consider the impact on air quality from other building materials including wood, plaster and insulation. The TVOC (Total Volatile Organic Compounds) is assessed, with a credit available if the design is expected to keep air quality within a suitable level. A further credit is available if real-life air quality is measured and passes following construction.

Surface Water Run-Off

Credits in POL03 (Surface Water Run Off) are now harder to achieve. Previously you could earn a credit for showing the run off rate from the site will be no worse following development. Under the 2018 changes, you need to show how the development will improve the run off rate by at least 30%.


The ENE01 section (reduction of energy use and carbon emissions) is where most of the new Post-Occupancy Stage are available.

Previously this section awarded 12 credits depending on how well the building was designed to limit energy use. This has been reduced so only 9 credits are available at the design stage. As such, we’re expecting less credits will be achieved if we compare like-for-like developments between the old and new BREEAM schemes.

Four credits are now available if the developer undertakes additional energy modelling during the design and post construction stages, sets targets and reports on their progress.

And up to three extra exemplary credits are available if the building achieves carbon negativity (generates more energy than it needs).

Safety and Security

HEA06 has been split in two. The new HEA06 offers one credit if a security assessment of the proposed development is completed, and its recommendations are implemented. This would look at concerns such as external security lighting, CCTV and reducing dark, enclosed areas where crime is more likely to occur.

The new HEA07 offers two credits for providing occupants with safe access, dedicated cycle paths and storage, safe footpaths between buildings, vehicle drop off points and an outside amenity area.


The way you score credits through the materials you choose is changing. The option of gaining points by following the Green Guide Rating has been dropped. Instead, developers and contractors can choose to follow BRE’s Life Cycle Assessment tool, or go with Impact – a more enhanced calculation approach. With 7 credits available in MAT01, we’d recommend taking the Impact approach.

Elsewhere, if you want the credit for MAT06 (Material efficiency), you now need to set targets, develop and record the efficiency of building materials. And in MAT05 (Design for durability and resilience), an extra section has been added to include protection against malicious damage of the building materials.


Pleasingly, the Waste section has been tidied up. There’s a few changes to keep in mind.

A new credit is available if a pre-demolition audit is completed. This should show the feasibility of refurbishing existing buildings rather than knocking them down.

The credit for using recycled aggregates on site has been expanded which could encourage more developers and contractors into monitoring how much of their materials are recycled, and how far they’ve travelled to get to site.

The WST05 credit – adaptation to climate change – has been expanded to include building services and renewable installations. It previously focused on building material and structure only.

There’s also a new section. WST06 offers two credits if you look to avoid unnecessary materials use, cost and disruption from future changes to the development.


This 2018 version of BREEAM New Construction doesn’t set out to change anything too radically and despite having such a large rewrite, doesn’t put us in a position too far away from where we stand today.

It will be interesting to see how the introduction of the Post Occupancy Stage plays out in real life, and how many developers and contractors are going to chase this handful of credits.

Rather than making certain areas more complicated, it seems the purpose of this update has been to add clarity, bring certain sections up to date, give more focus on the bigger picture of a building’s life cycle and generally give the scheme a bit of a Spring clean.

BRE may have tightened up some areas – such as less credits for your SBEM result in ENE01 and a bigger list of requirements in Transport (car charging points and priority spaces for carshares), but not everything has been made stricter; The changes in Land Use and Ecology may give some developers and contractors the flexibility to focus on chasing alternative credits.

Our in-house BREEAM and Advisory Professional assessors are on hand to help guide you through your next project, whether you opted to pre-register under the 2014 scheme, or whether you’ve dived into the new scheme head first.

How to get your BREEAM assessment off to the best start

Our Top Tips to help you get your BREEAM project off to the best start…

1. Involve a BREEAM Assessor as early as possible

Getting an assessor involved from pre-planning stage will make the whole assessment much simpler to achieve, and credits more cost-effective to achieve.

2. Conduct an early ecology assessment

This is an important stage to ensure you do not unnecessarily lose credits.

3. Start SBEM or SAP calculations early

Predicting carbon emissions early on can save you money. SBEM (or SAP for domestic refurbishments) can also contribute to a large number of credits and early calculations determine whether you have a shortfall of credits to be made up elsewhere.

4. Vital drainage assessment before starting on site

Surface water, flood risk assessment and compliant drainage plan should be in place before starting work on site.

5. Engage the whole design team

Whether architect, engineer or landscape architect, all members of the design team are likely to be able to achieve credits from design.

6. Clearly identify evidence

When sending evidence, indicate what it is and which credit it supports (we can guide you), for example, Trumpton Fire Station: Man 01 – sustainable procurement.

7. Don’t let the credits slip past you

There are credits to be found throughout. If you are having difficulty with any credits, there are a host of workable solutions that we can help you with – as well as some mandatory ones to secure early on.

8. Know how design changes impact on BREEAM

Let’s face it, designs do change. Simply inform your BREEAM Assessor before the changes are made permanent so we can advise if it adversely affects your credits.

9. Stay on top of changing requirements

Make sure you know how any changes impact your assessment, as some assessments require longer-term monitoring. Your Assessor will be aware of all the latest enhancements.

10. Identify minimum standards

Recognise where your least-effort credits lie. A BREEAM assessment spreadsheet is a great tool for this, rather than wading through the Manual.