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What Are the BREEAM Requirements?

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What Are the BREEAM Requirements

BREEAM is an internationally recognised measure of sustainability. It’s one of the most reputable rating systems able to provide an impartial assessment of a building’s effect on the environment.

The BREEAM criteria list consists of 10 categories, which together provide an indicator of a building’s overall level of sustainability. To achieve the highest rating possible, a building must meet all of these BREEAM requirements, which range from water and energy usage through to innovation.

In this article, we will identify the BREEAM assessment criteria, and how you can aim to meet BREEAM requirements in order to meet sustainability targets.

What Is the BREEAM Criteria List?

BREEAM provides an impartial, third party measure of sustainability. Increasingly, the BREEAM assessment is considered a necessary requirement by local planning authorities.

BREEAM requirements are designed to cover a wide range of important environmental and sustainability factors, with the latest criteria detailed in the BREEAM New Construction 2018 Assessment guidelines.

The requirements are broken down into a BREEAM criteria list, which consists of 10 categories. These categories are independently assessed by a qualified BREEAM Accredited Professional (BREEAM AP), who provides an overall score and rating based on how well a building or project performs.

The ten BREEAM assessment criteria are:

  • Energy
  • Management
  • Water
  • Waste
  • Pollution
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Materials
  • Transport
  • Land usage
  • Innovation

Let’s take a look at the BREEAM criteria list in more detail, in order to better understand the BREEAM requirements.

1. Energy

The energy category is one of the most important sustainability requirements in the BREEAM rating system. In order to score highly in this BREEAM assessment criteria, a building must be as energy efficient as possible. This category looks at how much energy a construction project needs in order to be completed and how much energy a building uses while it is being used. Incorporating renewable energy sources into a design will help improve the energy score of a building, as will important design factors such as insulation and other energy-saving features.

2. Management

Management is an important BREEAM assessment criteria that takes into account how well a building or project is managed and looked after, from design through to operations. This category examines the sustainability policies that management has in place, ensuring they’ve taken into account the need to protect the environment, reduce waste, and focus on best sustainability practices.

3. Water

BREEAM requirements aim to reduce the overall water consumption of a building or infrastructure project as much as possible. This category evaluates the overall water usage of a building, both during the construction phase and when the building is lived or worked in. A higher score will be awarded for water recycling systems and policies that aim to reduce water consumption.

4. Waste

Likewise, BREEAM requirements aim to reduce waste as much as possible. The waste category takes into account how much waste will be produced by a project, not only during the construction phase but when the building is operational, too. Higher scores are awarded for designs and policies that reduce unnecessary waste production and promote recycling over traditional forms of waste disposal such as landfill.

5. Pollution

This BREEAM assessment criteria stipulates that a building must reduce its impact on the environment by minimising pollution. The less pollution caused by a building, the more sustainable the design is deemed to be. Examples of pollution include noise and light pollution, air pollution, water pollution, etc.

6. Health and Wellbeing

One of the most important BREEAM assessment criteria is health and wellbeing. This category evaluates how a building will contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of the people who live or work inside. Buildings must have adequate health and safety measures in place to minimise the potential for injury, alongside fire safety and evacuation procedures. Health and wellbeing also takes into account factors that contribute to the overall liveability of a building, such as ventilation, light levels, and the availability of outdoor space.

7. Materials

The materials criteria provides marks based on the sustainability of the materials used in a building’s construction and upkeep. The goal of this BREEAM assessment criteria is to promote the use of sustainable materials. Assessors will look at the type of materials used in a building’s design, where the materials have been sourced, and what happens when they need to be disposed of. Higher scores are awarded for the use of recycled or repurposed materials, and for materials that can be recycled in the future.

8. Transport

The transport category evaluates how accessible a building or community is to the people who live or work there. This criteria awards higher scores to projects that can be incorporated into existing public transport systems, thereby helping to reduce carbon emissions and improving sustainability.

9. Land Usage

Land is a scarce resource, and this BREEAM assessment criteria provides higher scores to those projects that make use of brownfield rather than greenfield sites. This category also evaluates the overall impact that a building will have on its environment and any wildlife habitats that exist. Minimising the environmental impact of a project is key to long-term sustainability.

10. Innovation

The final category on the BREEAM criteria list is innovation. This is a unique category that rewards designs that are considered new, exciting and innovative. Points are awarded for the trial or development of new systems relating to sustainability, such as unique waste management facilities or the unusual redevelopment of existing infrastructure. The more innovative a project, the more points that can be scored in this category.

How Are the BREEAM Requirements Scored?

An impartial and qualified BREEAM AP must carry out all BREEAM assessments, and it’s important to note that not all categories are scored evenly. Certain categories are deemed to be more important in terms of overall sustainability than others, so carry a higher weighting. The highest scoring categories include energy, management, and health and wellbeing.

Once the total number of points has been collected from each of the BREEAM assessment criteria, the assessor can award a total score based on the BREEAM rating system. There are six different classifications that can be awarded, based on the overall percentage achieved by a building during the assessment. The six classifications are:

  • Outstanding (minimum 85 per cent score)
  • Excellent (minimum 70 per cent score)
  • Very good (minimum 55 per cent score)
  • Good (minimum 45 per cent score)
  • Pass (minimum 30 per cent score)
  • Unclassified (less than 30 per cent score)

Contact SRE to Find Out More About BREEAM Requirements

At SRE, we’re experts in BREEAM requirements. Our skilled team of consultants is licensed to carry out independent BREEAM assessments, and can advise how your project can meet its sustainability targets.

If you need sustainability assistance, contact our expert consultants today. Call us on 01730 710044 for more information.


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