Nowadays, there is more to a building project than simply choosing the optimum location or hiring the best design and construction team. With the growing awareness of the importance of helping the environment and preserving our natural resources, more and more construction companies are seeking BREEAM accreditation for their projects.
But what exactly is BREEAM and why should builders consider having their projects certified?
BREEAM: A Brief Overview
BREEAM refers to the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method. In the UK, it was introduced by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in 1990 as a methodology that would ensure that builders comply with sustainable design, construction and operational standards.
Today, BREEAM is the world’s leading and most widely used environmental assessment and rating method, setting the standards for sustainable design. It is used in more than 70 countries and has become the unofficial method for measuring the environmental performance of a building or community.
BREEAM is divided into ten categories, namely:
- Health and Wellbeing
- Land Use
These categories are further subdivided into various classifications with their own objectives, targets and benchmarks.
Main Benefits of BREEAM Certification
As buildings generate almost 40% of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, environmental assessment methods such as BREEAM can help pave the way for the construction or refurbishment of more sustainable and environmentally friendly structures. However, beyond helping protect the environment, obtaining BREEAM certification for your development projects can also provide you with a whole host of other benefits.
1. Increased sale or rental value
Did you know that a BREEAM-certified project can give you a more significant return on your investment? A 2013 report by the Green Building Council revealed that certified green buildings have a 30% higher resale value than conventional code-compliant structures. In addition, the report also highlighted that BREEAM accreditation can boost a property’s rental value by up to 24.9%.
Some landlords and property developers shy away from pursuing sustainable and BREEAM-certified projects, thinking they will be too expensive. However, the Green Building Council’s report emphasised the significant investment return on such projects, and having your developments certified by BREEAM can go a long way towards increasing your revenue.
2. Reduced operating and refurbishment costs
Besides increasing a building’s value, BREEAM certification can also help minimise its operating costs. During a BREEAM assessment, an assessor will consider a structure’s energy efficiency, heating, water consumption and other relevant factors. As a result, designers and builders must use efficient heating and lighting systems and building components that consume less water to achieve their desired BREEAM rating.
With such measures in place, a building’s daily energy and water consumption can be reduced dramatically. This will enable users or tenants to obtain more considerable savings on their utility bills. Furthermore, investing in energy-saving building components can also make it significantly cheaper to refurbish a property in the long run.
3. Better user experience
Some of the most significant benefits of BREEAM-certified projects are the ones that cannot be easily quantified. An excellent example of this relates to the health and wellbeing of building users or tenants.
According to the World Green Building Council’s “Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices” report, BREEAM-accredited office spaces have significantly better indoor air quality, thermal comfort and lighting. These factors all have a positive impact on employee productivity and absenteeism. With a pleasant and healthy work environment, employees will feel more inspired to fulfil their duties and responsibilities. More importantly, they will be less likely to call in sick or be involved in a workplace accident.
4. Risk mitigation
With scientists predicting more frequent and severe weather disturbances due to climate change, planning BREEAM-accredited projects can be an effective way of minimising risks and preparing for what could potentially lie ahead. In particular, the BREEAM certification scheme for New Construction can help reduce the effects of climate change on building projects. For instance, schemes such as “Designing for Durability and Resilience” and “Adaptation to Climate Change” encourage builders to construct more robust structures. They also inspire them to implement appropriate structural solutions to improve a building’s resilience against the forces of nature.
5. Improved image and reputation
Achieving a high BREEAM rating will allow builders and designers to showcase their commitment to corporate social responsibility policies that focus on protecting the environment. By pursuing BREEAM-certified projects, they can show stakeholders and the local community their dedication to implementing sustainability measures and preserving our natural resources. This can in turn help improve their corporate image and reputation, allowing them to attract more clients and ensure the continued growth and success of their business.
Over the last few years, BREEAM accreditation has increasingly become an essential requirement when carrying out construction projects. In the UK alone, approximately 70% of local authorities require developers to have their projects BREEAM-certified. Moreover, when constructing public buildings, builders must undergo an environmental assessment as part of the government’s Construction Strategy. Therefore, with BREEAM certification, you can ensure your company’s compliance with key government regulations and policies.
Have Your Projects BREEAM-Certified Today
Obtaining BREEAM certification for your development projects is an excellent way of showing your commitment to protecting the environment. At the same time, it can provide your business with many other benefits that can contribute to its continued growth and success.
If you require the expertise of a highly experienced BREEAM Assessor or AP, please contact our team at Encon Associates. We can provide you with the expert guidance you need to meet the BREEAM standards and achieve excellent levels of sustainability. Get in touch with us today!