What is BREEAM? - A quick introduction
23 Jan 2019
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.