What is BREEAM?

What is BREEAM?

BREEAM is the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, it is utilised in master planning projects, buildings, and infrastructure. This sustainability assessment method was established in 1990 by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) and can be applied to refurbishment schemes or new developments. The standards for environmental performance of buildings through each phase of design, specification, construction, and operation are set by BRE². BRE are a profit-for-purpose organisation that specialise in building science and research background[1].

BREEAM Assessment:

The assessment for BREEAM measures the procurement, design, construction, and operation of a development which will be rated against targets based on performance benchmarks. There are multiple categories that are utilised to find sustainable value, including:

  • Land Use and Ecology
  • Energy
  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Water
  • Transport
  • Pollution
  • Waste
  • Management
  • Materials

The most influential factors in each category are focused on areas such as low impact design, reduced carbon emissions, ecological value, and how the chosen area has adapted to climate change[2].

BREEAM Rating:

BREEAMs rating benchmark levels enable clients to compare the performance of an individual building with other buildings that are BREEAM rated and new non-domestic buildings sustainability performances in the UK. Each BREEAM rating level equates to performance:

  1. Outstanding ≥ 85%
  2. Excellent ≥ 70
  3. Very Good ≥ 55                
  4. Good ≥ 45
  5. Pass ≥ 30
  6. Unclassified < 30

Achieving a higher score will be beneficial for a company’s image and will attract more tenants but requires precision in the planning process and throughout the lifecycle of a building. The proposal that is submitted for a BREEAM certification must utilise high-quality design concepts and technologies that prioritise sustainability[3].

Do I Need to use BREEAM?

The UK Government’s Construction Strategy states that all public projects should include an environmental assessment and aim to achieve an ‘Excellent’ rating in BREEAM (if using an alternative system then the equivalent should be achieved). BREEAM certification may be included in a specific planning condition or local plan.

BREEAM Popularity:

There are currently 550,000 developments that are certified by BREEAM, as well as over 2 million developments that are registered to be assessed. The use of BREEAM is expected to increase due to the UK’s move towards net zero. This method is used by many local planning authorities who have issued this as a requirement for developments to meet a BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good’ (as a minimum)2.

How can WPSCC help?

At WPSCC we help clients achieve a level of BREEAM accreditation in their projects. We provide a holistic approach in order to produce cost effective solutions for our clients. WPSCC offer services such as Pre-demolition audits that are a requirement for meeting BREEAM Wst 01 Construction Waste Management Standard. A Pre-refurbishment audit and a Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP) may be required to comply with BREEAM Wst 01, both of which are services provided by WPSCC. We have produced an online compliance tool that produces compliant SWMPs; carbon footprint for your site can be calculated, as well as site impact requirements that satisfy additional compliance necessities.

Our goal is to help you achieve your desired goals and offer a flexible service. We provide practical compliance solutions with passion and integrity by adopting a unique approach to solve any compliance challenges to the highest standards possible.

Case Study:

Total Projects: BREEAM accreditation was required for a refurbishment job that Total Projects had started in 2018. We had previously provided a SWMP and were approached to discuss BREEAM requirements for the project. As a result, WPSCC were retained to provide guidance on the BREEAM elements that were needed in the construction phase. We were able to significantly lighten Total Projects BREEAM burden and guided them through all the requirements.

The successful project outcome resulted in the company wanting us at WPSCC to provide assistance on their next BREEAM-related project. As we were consulted earlier in the process, we were able to aid in the costing of overall BREEAM overhead and could manage the other subcontractors that were contributing to BREEAM. Total Projects fully trusted our work which enabled us to take a greater role in the managing and costing of additional subcontractors. Overall, this contributed to achieving the required BREEAM credits.


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[1] BRE. (No Date). BREEAM. [ONLINE]. Available at: https://bregroup.com/products/breeam/

[2] McPartland, R. (2016). What is BREEAM?. NBS. [ONLINE]. Available at: https://www.thenbs.com/knowledge/what-is-breeam.

[3] Rosenkranz, E. (2022). The 6 BREEAM Certification Levels – How To Be Outstanding. Smart CRE. [ONLINE]. Available at: https://smart-cre.com/the-6-breeam-certification-levels-how-to-be-outstanding/.

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