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January 4

Global Sustainable Building Standards: The Benefits of BREEAM Certification

Sustainability and environmental performance are increasingly important considerations in the construction industry, and achieving BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) certification is a widely recognized way for building owners and developers to demonstrate their commitment to these values.

BREEAM is a globally recognized environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings that aim to improve their sustainability and environmental performance by evaluating them against a set of performance criteria.

In this article, we’ll explore the various aspects of certification, including the assessment process, the benefits of certification, and the requirements for achieving it.

We’ll also cover topics such as certification costs, comparing certification ratings to LEED ratings, and the process for appealing a BREEAM rating.

So, whether you’re a building owner or developer looking to improve the sustainability of your building or simply interested in learning more about BREEAM certification, this article has something for you.

Read on to learn more about this important topic in the construction industry.

What is BREEAM certification, and how does it work?

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is a globally recognized environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings. It aims to improve buildings’ sustainability and environmental performance by evaluating them against performance criteria.

Certification is achieved by assessing a building’s design, construction, and operation against these performance criteria and scoring it based on its performance. The assessment covers various categories: energy use, water efficiency, materials, waste, pollution, transport, and health and well-being.

The assessment process begins at the design stage when the building’s designers and developers work with a BREEAM assessor to evaluate the building’s environmental performance and identify opportunities for improvement.

The assessor then conducts on-site inspections at various stages of construction to ensure that the building is being built following the BREEAM criteria.

Once the building is complete, the assessor conducts a final assessment and determines the building’s BREEAM rating. Buildings can achieve ratings of Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent, or Outstanding, depending on their performance.

There are several benefits to achieving BREEAM certification. It can help to build owners and developers to:

  • Save energy and reduce operating costs
  • Improve the health and well-being of building occupants
  • Enhance the building’s marketability and value
  • Demonstrate the building’s environmental performance to stakeholders

In addition to its widely recognized environmental assessment method, the certification also offers a range of other services, including training and certification for professionals and support for building owners and occupiers looking to improve the sustainability of their buildings.

  • Overall, the certification is a valuable tool for improving buildings’ sustainability and environmental performance and is widely recognized as a mark of excellence in the construction industry.

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How do I get my building BREEAM certified?

If you’re interested in getting your building BREEAM certified, there are a few steps you’ll need to follow. 

BREEAM is a globally recognized environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings that aim to improve their sustainability and environmental performance.

Here’s a general overview of the process for getting your building BREEAM certified:

  1. Determine the appropriate BREEAM assessment scheme: BREEAM offers a range of assessment schemes for different types of buildings, including new builds, existing buildings, and homes. Choose the scheme that best fits your building type.
  2. Appoint a BREEAM assessor: Your certification assessor will guide you through the assessment process and ensure that your building meets the required standards. You can find a BREEAM assessor through the BREEAM website or by contacting a certification body.
  3. Register your building for assessment: Once you have chosen your assessor, you’ll need to register your building for assessment and pay the relevant fees.
  4. Begin the assessment process: Your assessor will work with you to evaluate your building’s design, construction, and operation against the certification performance criteria. This may involve completing questionnaires, providing documentation, and undergoing on-site inspections.
  5. Achieve BREEAM certification: Once the assessment is complete, your BREEAM assessor will determine your building’s BREEAM rating. Buildings can achieve ratings of Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent, or Outstanding, depending on their performance.

It’s worth noting that the exact process and timeline for getting your building certified may vary depending on the specific assessment scheme and the complexity of your building.

Your BREEAM assessor will be able to provide you with more detailed information and guidance throughout the process.

Overall, achieving certification can provide a range of benefits for building owners and developers, including improved energy efficiency, enhanced marketability and value, and a demonstration of the building’s environmental performance to stakeholders.

If you’re interested in getting your building BREEAM certified, following these steps will help you navigate the process.

What are the benefits of BREEAM certification?

There are several benefits to achieving BREEAM certification for building owners and developers:

  1. Improved energy efficiency: certification requires buildings to meet specific energy efficiency standards, which can help to reduce energy consumption and costs.
  2. Enhanced marketability and value: certification is widely recognized as a mark of excellence in the construction industry and can make a building more attractive to tenants, buyers, and investors.
  3. Improved health and well-being of occupants: assessments consider the health and well-being of building occupants, which can lead to improved indoor air quality, natural lighting, and access to outdoor space.
  4. Reduced environmental impact: certification requires buildings to meet certain standards in categories such as water efficiency, materials, waste, pollution, and transport, which can help to reduce their environmental impact.
  5. Demonstration of environmental performance: certification provides a way for building owners and developers to demonstrate the environmental performance of their buildings to stakeholders such as tenants, buyers, and investors.

In addition to these benefits, achieving certification can help building owners and developers meet regulatory requirements, access funding, and grants, and improve their reputation.

Overall, BREEAM certification is a valuable tool for improving buildings’ sustainability and environmental performance and offers a range of benefits for building owners and developers.

How do BREEAM ratings compare to LEED ratings?

One key difference between BREEAM and LEED is their geographical scope. 

BREEAM is primarily used in Europe, while LEED is more widely used in the United States and Canada. Both systems are recognized globally, however, and have been implemented in countries around the world.

Another difference is the specific performance criteria each system uses to evaluate buildings. BREEAM covers various categories: energy use, water efficiency, materials, waste, pollution, transport, and health and well-being.

LEED also covers these categories, including innovation, regional priority credits, and materials and resources.

BREEAM and LEED ratings are based on a points system, with buildings earning points for meeting specific performance criteria. BREEAM ratings range from Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent, to Outstanding, while LEED ratings range from Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

BREEAM and LEED offer a range of assessment schemes for different types of buildings, including new builds, existing buildings, and homes. They also provide additional services such as training and certification for professionals and support for building owners and occupiers looking to improve the sustainability of their buildings.

BREEAM and LEED are valuable tools for improving buildings’ sustainability and environmental performance. While they have some differences in their geographical scope and performance criteria, they offer various benefits for building owners and developers.

How much does BREEAM certification cost?

If you’re considering getting your building BREEAM certified, you may be wondering about the costs involved.

The cost of certification will vary depending on many factors, including the size and complexity of your building, the specific assessment scheme you choose, and the location of your structure.

BREEAM offers a range of assessment schemes for different types of facilities, including new builds, existing buildings, and homes, each with its fees.

In general, the costs of certification can be divided into two categories: upfront fees and ongoing fees.

Upfront fees cover the initial assessment and certification process and may include the following:

  • Registration fees
  • Assessor fees
  • Certification fees

Ongoing fees cover the maintenance of your BREEAM certification and may include the following:

  • Re-assessment fees (if required)
  • Annual fees

It’s worth noting that the costs of BREEAM certification may be offset by the potential energy and cost savings that a more sustainable building can provide.

In addition, BREEAM certification can enhance the marketability and value of your building and demonstrate its environmental performance to stakeholders.

If you’re interested in getting your building BREEAM certified, it’s best to contact a BREEAM certification body or a BREEAM assessor for more detailed information on the costs involved. They will be able to provide you with a cost estimate based on your specific building and assessment needs.

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Can retroactive buildings get BREEAM certified?

If you own an existing building and are interested in getting it BREEAM certified, you may wonder if this is possible.

The short answer is yes. Retroactive buildings can get BREEAM certified. BREEAM offers a range of assessment schemes for different types of facilities, including existing buildings. 

These schemes are designed to evaluate existing building’s environmental performance and identify improvement opportunities.

Getting a retroactive building certified is similar to the process for new builds. It begins with the appointment of a BREEAM assessor, who will work with you to evaluate the building’s design, construction, and operation against the performance criteria.

This may involve completing questionnaires, providing documentation, and undergoing on-site inspections.

Once the assessment is complete, the BREEAM assessor will determine the building’s BREEAM rating. Buildings can achieve ratings of Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent, or Outstanding, depending on their performance.

It’s worth noting that getting a retroactive building BREEAM certified may be more complex than a new build, as it may require additional analysis and documentation to assess the building’s performance. It may also require more extensive renovations or retrofits to meet the certification criteria.

Overall, it is possible to get a retroactive building BREEAM certified, and doing so can offer a range of benefits, including improved energy efficiency, enhanced marketability and value, and a demonstration of the building’s environmental performance to stakeholders.

Suppose you’re interested in getting your retroactive building BREEAM certified. In that case, it’s best to contact a certification body or a assessor for more information on the process and any specific requirements.

What are the different categories that BREEAM assesses?

BREEAM certification is achieved by assessing a building’s design, construction, and operation against a set of performance criteria and scoring it based on its performance.

BREEAM assessments cover a wide range of categories, including:

  1. Energy: This category assesses a building’s energy efficiency and renewable energy use, including its heating and cooling systems, lighting, and appliances.
  2. Water: This category assesses a building’s water efficiency, including its use of rainwater harvesting, greywater reuse, and water-efficient fixtures and appliances.
  3. Materials: This category assesses the environmental impact of the materials used in the construction and operation of a building, including their embodied energy, recycled content, and durability.
  4. Waste: This category assesses a building’s waste management practices, including recycling, composting, and using materials that are easy to dismantle and reuse.
  5. Pollution: This category assesses a building’s impact on air and water quality, including its use of low-emitting materials and systems and its management of stormwater runoff.
  6. Transport: This category assesses a building’s accessibility by public transportation and its support for alternative modes of transportation, such as cycling and walking.
  7. Health and well-being: This category assesses a building’s impact on the health and well-being of its occupants, including its indoor air quality, natural lighting, and access to outdoor space.

In addition to these categories, BREEAM also includes credits for innovation, which recognize projects that go above and beyond the standard criteria in one or more categories.

Overall, assessments are comprehensive and cover many categories to thoroughly evaluate a building’s sustainability and environmental performance. 

By achieving BREEAM certification, building owners and developers can demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and the environmental performance of their buildings.

How often does a building need to be re-assessed for BREEAM certification?

The frequency of re-assessment for BREEAM certification depends on the specific assessment scheme and rating level that your building has achieved. Some BREEAM assessment schemes, such as BREEAM In-Use for existing buildings, require annual re-assessment to maintain certification. 

Other schemes, such as BREEAM New Construction for new builds, do not require re-assessment unless significant changes are made to the building.

Generally, BREEAM certification is valid for five years from the assessment date.

After this time, the building must be re-assessed to maintain its certification. The re-assessment process is similar to the initial assessment process and involves evaluating the building’s design, construction, and operation against the BREEAM performance criteria.

If significant changes are made to the building that affects its performance in any of the BREEAM categories, the structure may need to be re-assessed before the five-year period is up.

For example, if the building undergoes a major renovation or an addition is built, it may need to be re-assessed to ensure that it still meets the BREEAM criteria.

Overall, the frequency of re-assessment for certification will depend on the specific assessment scheme and rating level of your building, as well as any significant changes that are made to the building.

If you’re not sure how often your building needs to be re-assessed, it’s best to contact a BREEAM certification body or a BREEAM assessor for more information.

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Are there any specific requirements for BREEAM certification?

There are a few general requirements that apply to all buildings seeking certification:

  1. The building must be designed, constructed, and operated following the BREEAM performance criteria. These criteria cover various categories: energy use, water efficiency, materials, waste, pollution, transport, and health and well-being.
  2. The building must be registered for assessment, and the relevant fees must be paid.
  3. A BREEAM assessor must be appointed to guide the building through the assessment process and ensure that it meets the required standards.

In addition to these general requirements, specific requirements may apply to your building depending on the particular assessment scheme you choose. 

BREEAM offers a range of assessment schemes for different types of buildings, including new builds, existing buildings, and homes. Each project has its requirements, so choosing the method best fits your building type is essential.

It’s worth noting that the requirements for certification may change over time as the BREEAM standards are updated. If you’re not sure about the specific requirements for certification, it’s best to contact a BREEAM certification body or an assessor for more information.

Overall, achieving BREEAM certification requires a building to meet specific performance criteria in a range of categories and any particular requirements that apply to its assessment scheme.

By meeting these requirements, building owners and developers can demonstrate their buildings’ sustainability and environmental performance.

What is the process for appealing a BREEAM rating?

The process for appealing a BREEAM rating varies depending on the specific circumstances of your building and the reasons for the appeal. In general, however, the following steps outline the general process for appealing a BREEAM rating:

  1. Review the assessment report: The first step in the appeal process is to review the assessment report provided by the assessor. This report includes the performance criteria that your building was evaluated against and the scores and ratings it received.
  2. Identify the grounds for appeal: The next step is to identify the specific grounds for your request. This could be a disagreement with the assessor’s interpretation of the certification criteria, a mistake in the assessment process, or an issue with the scoring or rating assigned to your building.
  3. Submit an appeal: Once you have identified the grounds for your request, you’ll need to submit a written appeal to the certification body or the BREEAM assessor. Your request should include a detailed explanation of the grounds for the request and any supporting evidence or documentation.
  4. Review of the appeal: The certification body or the assessor will review your appeal and decide whether to grant it. This may involve a review of the assessment report and any additional evidence or documentation you have provided.
  5. Notification of the decision: The certification body or the assessor will notify you of their decision on your appeal, either granting it or denying it. If your appeal is granted, your building’s rating may be revised based on the outcome of the request.

It’s worth noting that the appeal process may vary depending on the specific assessment scheme and the circumstances of your building. 

If you’re unsure about the process for appealing a BREEAM rating, it’s best to contact a BREEAM certification body or a BREEAM assessor for more information.

Overall, the process for appealing a BREEAM rating involves the following:

  • Submitting a written appeal.
  • Providing supporting evidence and documentation.
  • Allowing for a review of the appeal by the certification body or the BREEAM assessor.

If your request is successful, your building’s rating may be revised.

BREEAM: A Conclusion

In conclusion, BREEAM certification is a widely recognized and respected way for building owners and developers to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and environmental performance.

By evaluating buildings against a set of performance criteria and assigning them a rating based on their performance, BREEAM helps improve buildings’ sustainability and enhance their marketability and value.

If you’re interested in achieving certification for your facility, various assessment schemes are available for different facilities, including new buildings, existing buildings, and homes. The process for achieving certification involves the following:

  • Registering for the assessment.
  • Appointing an assessor.
  • Meeting the performance criteria for your chosen assessment scheme.

The benefits of BREEAM certification are numerous, including improved energy efficiency, enhanced marketability and value, and a demonstration of the building’s environmental performance to stakeholders.

While the costs of certification can vary depending on the size and complexity of the building and the specific assessment scheme chosen, these costs may be offset by the potential energy and cost savings that a more sustainable building can provide.

If you’re interested in learning more about the certification or improving the sustainability of your building, consider consulting with one of our green building consultancies or enrolling in one of our green building courses.

These resources can provide valuable guidance and support as you navigate the process of achieving BREEAM certification and improving the environmental performance of your building.

Want A Sustainable Project?

Talk to UGREEN and position your brand towards a sustainable future.

Want to Learn Green Design?

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