What is BREEAM?

BREEAM (the Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method) is a sustainability assessment method used in a wide range of sectors. Different standards are applied depending on the individual circumstances.

What is BREEAM?

1. BREEAM 2014 New Construction

The BREEAM 2014 assessment method replaced the previous BREEAM 2011 version. The 2014 scheme included significant updates and several new BREEAM credit criteria. It also introduced the new BREEAM rating criteria and updated several mandatory prerequisites.   

What changes did the 2014 Standards introduce?

BREEAM 2014 introduced fewer specific evidence types. However, this has made it difficult for design teams to determine what evidence is needed to satisfy the 2014 requirements. At Encon Associates, we would recommend that you utilise our expertise as experienced BREEAM assessors to collect the appropriate evidence.    

In addition, several substantial changes were introduced, including the elimination of the Green Guide and Green Lease agreement credits.

What building types are covered by the 2014 scheme?

The BREEAM 2014 methodology can assess most building types under the previous ‘Bespoke’ criteria as well as the following developments:

  • Assembly and leisure structures, such as cinemas and sports centres
  • Multi-Residential establishments, including hotels,hostels and Student accommodation 
  • Transportation hubs, such as bus and train stations 
  • Non-residential establishments, including museums and libraries  

How can you determine whether your project is covered by the BREEAM 2014 or BREEAM 2018 rating methods?

The BREEAM 2018 certification is the latest methodology. So, how do you know which standards are applicable to your project?

If you registered your project before March 2018, you will follow the 2014 standards. Any developments registered after this date will come under the 2018 methodology unless it is covered by a 2014 contractual requirement.

2. BREEAM 2014 Refurbishment & Fit-Out

Refurbishment refers to the improvement of an existing building’s condition, function and performance, while Fit-Out covers a building’s internal work (whether it is a new build or an existing structure). 

What is involved in the BREEAM 2014 Non-Domestic Refurbishment & Fit-Out assessment?

In the UK, the BREEAM criteria are dependent on the scope of work and the particular building project. They also comprise a modular set that covers the following:

  • Part 1 - Fabric and structure
  • Part 2 - Core services
  • Part 3 - Local services
  • Pat 4 - Interior design

The benefits of BREEAM Refurbishment and Fit-Out are as follows:

  • An increase in the sustainable value of the existing building  
  • The enhanced market demand will attract tenants 
  • The building’s operational costs will be reduced while performance will be improved  
  • The existing asset will be able to adapt to and withstand both current and future extreme weather conditions
  • The building’s occupiers will enjoy excellent living and working conditions

3. BREEAM 2011 New Construction

BREEAM 2011 replaced the BREEAM 2008 criteria and is a more efficient methodology that covers various types of construction, including residential and non-residential buildings, leisure buildings and transport hubs.

Whilst the 2011 methodology has since been replaced by BREEAM 2014 and then BREEAM 2018, there are still pre-registered projects being evaluated under this assessment scheme. At Encon Associates, we have a team of assessors who specialise in this particular BREEAM assessment method. It should be noted that BREEAM 2011 schemes are no longer issued with a formal certificate, and this is replaced with a letter of conformity noting the BREEAM standard that has been achieved for a lapsed scheme. 

4. BREEAM 2008

BREEAM 2008 is an old assessment method that has been replaced by BREEAM 2011, BREEAM 2014 and BREEAM 2018. Nevertheless, many UK projects are still registered under this methodology. 

The 2008 standard comprises two stages:

  • Design assessment – where you obtain a provisional BREEAM rating and certification
  • Post-construction assessment – for the final BREEAM rating and certificate

As this is an old certification system, you will need to utilise the assessment services on offer at Encon Associates in order to ensure your building complies with the applicable BREEAM standard. It should be noted that BREEAM 2011 schemes are no longer issued with a formal certificate, and this is replaced with a letter of conformity noting the BREEAM standard that has been achieved for a lapsed scheme.

5. BREEAM Industrial

Industrial buildings can often cause a variety of environmental issues. Therefore, it is imperative that you make sure your construction or refurbishment project follows sustainable methods. This will enable you to construct an efficient building and improve your operational costs.    

At Encon Associates, our work on a BREEAM Industrial assessment is primarily focused on a project’s environmental impact and the construction of:

  • Storage or distribution centres
  • Light industrial facilities
  • Factories
  • Workshops

We also handle the BREEAM Industrial regulatory requirements relating to:

  • New developments
  • Buildings that will undergo major renovations

6. BREEAM Offices

BREEAM also focuses on creating offices that promote sustainability and good health. This in turn produces major benefits, such as:

  • Improved workforce productivity and efficiency
  • Reduced energy costs and wastage
  • Increased operational savings

When you incorporate sustainability into the design of your office buildings, your focus is on limiting the negative effect on the environment and the workforce. 

At Encon Associates, we can conduct BREEAM Office assessments for:

  • New and existing buildings
  • Occupied and vacant office spaces

7. BREEAM Education

As your BREEAM assessors, we also take account of the government’s Building Schools for the Future (BFF) initiative. This assessment includes primary and secondary schools, as well as higher education institutes, including:

  • New school projects
  • Major renovation projects
  • Extensions    

8. BREEAM Bespoke

At Encon Associates, we also assess buildings whose environmental impact is not covered by any BREEAM standards. We use the Bespoke methodology to assess domestic projects and the BREEAM International Bespoke method for developments outside the UK.

The BREEAM Bespoke criteria specifically focus on the building and project type.

9. BREEAM Healthcare

The NHS Environmental Assessment Tool (NEAT) was superseded by BREEAM Healthcare. Under this new scheme, new buildings must achieve an “Excellent” rating. Meanwhile, for refurbishments, “Very Good” certification is required.

At Encon Associates, our BREEAM methodology covers medical buildings at any one of these construction phases:

  • New projects
  • Major refurbishments
  • Building extensions
  • Existing facilities

10. BREEAM Retail

Ideally, a retail establishment should exude an atmosphere that is both pleasant and conducive to people making a purchase. However, the BREEAM assessment requires that this type of business also needs to adopt sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. 

We can provide a BREEAM Retail assessment on single units and entire projects at any of the various phases, including:

  • New buildings
  • Major refurbishments
  • Tenant fit-out
  • Occupied and existing buildings

Our Retail assessment also includes an evaluation of the following:

  • Sale of goods and general display
  • Retail sale of food
  • Retail customer services  

11. BREEAM Multi-Residential

Not all residential projects are the same. In fact, they often differ and divert from the Code for Sustainable Homes.

During a BREEAM Multi-Residential assessment, we use the bespoke methodology to customise each building development unit, which may include:

  • Hostels for vulnerable people, including the homeless or refugees
  • Housing for the physically disabled or mentally ill
  • Shelter for the elderly or women
  • Workers’ accommodation or student halls of residence 

Our BREEAM assessment of communal areas and services also includes:

  • Catering facilities
  • Dining rooms
  • Health and leisure areas
  • Lounges 
  • Meeting rooms
  • Offices
  • Support areas, such as laundries

12. BREEAM International

As assessors, we can carry out BREEAM assessments even if the development is outside the UK. In this type of scenario, we use the Bespoke International assessment method. Furthermore, the criteria will depend on the building type, including:

  • Hotels and leisure complexes
  • Laboratories
  • Shared accommodation

13. BREEAM In-Use

BREEAM In-Use is the most recent methodology. Our assessment method has enabled building owners to enhance the sustainability of their existing developments while lowering their operational costs. 

Almost 50% of the UK’s carbon emissions, most of which are produced by existing developments, can be attributed to the country’s building stock. Since BREEAM In-Use relates to existing buildings, our assessment will depend on the year the development first began.    

How to obtain extra BREEAM credits

Regardless of your BREEAM methodology, at Encon Associates we can advise you on how to meet the various BREEAM rating criteria.

  • Daylight calculations – You need to maximise or improve your project’s daylight efficiency.
  • Deliveries and manoeuvring – As assessors, we use vehicle tracking software to improve your development’s highway design. This will also help you obtain favourable BREEAM ratings. 
  • Energy assessment – We can help you qualify with the use of our Dynamic Simulation Modelling (DSM).  
  • Flood risks – We can assess your project’s flood risks and provide advice on how to reduce the building’s vulnerability. 
  • Noise impact – Our acousticians can suggest ways in which you can reduce your project’s noise impact.
  • Thermographic inspections – Our assessment services also include the detection of thermal anomalies in any area of your building.
  • Travel plans – Our transport consultants can provide guidance on how to reduce your occupants’ reliance on motor vehicles and instead walk, cycle or take public transport.
  • Site ecology – You will need expert advice on how to improve your landscape while mitigating any potential ecological risks.

Related pages

To see more from BREEAM related info from Encon Associates, click below

What is BREEAM? BREEAM Services BREEAM Projects 

Customer Testimonials

"Working with Encon Associates on the construction of the Heritage Skills Centre within the grounds of Lincoln castle has been a most enjoyable and rewarding experience - the BREEAM process was managed in an efficient manner, with the right level of face-to-face interaction provided."


Angela Cobb
Mouchel Advisory and Project Services

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