As sustainability has become a critical factor in the construction industry, the knowledge and expertise applied by BREEAM APs and assessors have become even more important than ever. In fact, BREEAM APs and assessors have their unique roles and responsibilities, and they are now vital players in this global industry’s quest to improve building design, construction and use to help protect the environment and preserve our natural resources.
But before we examine the BREEAM AP vs assessor distinction, as well as their unique roles and importance, we should first discuss what BREEAM actually involves.
BREEAM and Its Role in Sustainable Construction and Building Use
BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is one of the leading sustainability assessment methods in the world today. It measures the environmental performance of buildings and developments based on various criteria, including energy and water usage, materials, pollution, and ecology.
BREEAM has been in use for over 30 years. In fact, an estimated 535,000 buildings worldwide have been BREEAM-certified, and a further 2,217,000 are inline for certification. What separates BREEAM from other assessment methods is that it provides a standardised framework for evaluating the environmental performance of buildings and development projects. It is also flexible and can be adapted to meet the specific needs of different building types and geographical locations.
Reliable and scientifically robust, BREEAM assessments help building owners and developers reduce their environmental impact and improve the sustainability of their properties. This, in turn, enables them to make the most of the benefits of having sustainable development projects, such as:
- Increased building demand, value and lifespan
- Enhanced business image and reputation
- Compliance with national and local laws
At the forefront of BREEAM assessments are assessors and accredited professionals (APs); although their roles may differ, they both aim to support the successful implementation of BREEAM. This is why their expert assistance is crucial if builders and developers want to obtain certification and their desired levels of sustainability.
A BREEAM accredited professional (AP) will have a comprehensive understanding of sustainability and the relevant BREEAM principles. They will be able to provide expert guidance and support to building owners and developers throughout the design, construction and operation of a building or development project. Although not required for certification, APs can also facilitate the optimisation of a building’s performance, helping maximise its value and cost-effectiveness through the use of BREEAM.
There are two AP designations across BREEAM schemes:
- Design and Site for New Construction and RFO schemes
- Operations for In-Use building projects
A BREEAM AP may acquire a number of qualifications to suit the needs of their organisation or client. In addition, as long as they can identify and manage potential conflicts of interest within a project, they may also qualify as assessors and perform both roles.
Roles, responsibilities and importance
A BREEAM AP’s knowledge and expertise are vital to the success of a sustainable project. Indeed, a BREEAM AP can help facilitate the construction and refurbishment of sustainable and environmentally friendly developments in a number of ways.
1. Ensure that clients achieve their sustainability goals
APs will help a client fulfil their objectives by identifying and prioritising the essential sustainability factors within a project. Furthermore, they will offer practical and cost-effective solutions appropriate for the building’s specific circumstances and intended use. They will also schedule activities and set priorities in order that the client can achieve their target BREEAM rating.
2. Provide expert guidance to the project team
BREEAM APs will provide guidance on how to incorporate sustainability measures into the design and construction process. At the beginning of a project, they will work with the builders/client to determine a suitable sustainability rating for the building. They will also advise on other sustainability issues that could affect the decision-making process.
3. Ensure a smooth assessment process
BREEAM APs will liaise between the project team and licensed assessors. They will monitor areas, solutions and actions that may increase the risk of non-compliance, and they will provide the necessary feedback to the project team to help ensure the assessment process is completed on time and to the required standard.
Who Can Become a BREEAM AP?
To become a qualified BREEAM AP, an individual must:
- Enrol on a suitable BRE AP training course and pass the corresponding exams.
- Possess the requisite academic or vocational qualifications in a relevant built environment discipline.
- Have three years’ postgraduate professional experience working in a role relevant to the sustainability of the built environment or its equivalent.
- Possess knowledge of environmental/integrated design.
- Be a member of a professional institution.
- Successfully maintain their AP status by meeting their annual Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements and complying with the Advisory Professional Code of Conduct.
Now let us explore the second part of the BREEAM AP vs assessor distinction. A BREEAM assessor is a trained and qualified professional who has the authority, independence and experience to evaluate the sustainability of a building using the BREEAM rating system. They will assess a building’s performance relating to a range of sustainability issues, including energy and water use, waste management, and materials.
Roles, responsibilities and importance
The importance of a BREEAM assessor cannot be overstated. Through a successful assessment process, they will help developers and building owners improve their sustainability practices and reduce the environmental impact of their properties. They are responsible for a number of issues.
1. Managing the assessment process
Assessors manage the assessment process and verify a project’s compliance with BREEAM. They do this by participating in select meetings and conducting site visits to collect information and evidence which will be used to evaluate the project against the relevant BREEAM scheme. They will also communicate with the project team to report areas of compliance/non-compliance.
2. Ensuring timely submission of evidence for a certification decision
Once the assessment process has been completed, a BREEAM assessor will submit a report to BRE Global for a certification decision. This assessment report will usually contain an auditable trail of information with evidence of compliance or non-compliance.
3. Issuing the final certificate
Assessors will issue the final certificate to the client after obtaining it from BRE Global. Depending on the BREEAM scheme, they may also register the project with BRE at the beginning of the assessment process.
Who Can Become a BREEAM Assessor?
Before an individual can become a qualified BREEAM assessor, they must satisfy a number of specific requirements:
- Take the appropriate BREEAM assessor training course and pass the corresponding exam.
- Hold an assessment licence.
- Demonstrate continued competency by maintaining Professional Indemnity Insurance for the relevant scope of works and by undergoing Quality Assurance audits of assessments submitted for certification.
Let Our Specialist BREEAM APs and Assessors Help You Achieve Your Sustainability Goals
With the global construction industry’s increasing emphasis on sustainability, BREEAM APs and assessors have never been more important. Although their roles may differ, APs and assessors certainly complement one another when promoting the successful implementation of BREEAM. For this reason, their expert assistance is vital if you want to obtain BREEAM certification and achieve your desired levels of sustainability.
If you require the expert guidance of a BREEAM AP or assessor, then look no further than Encon Associates. Contact us today and we will happily answer any queries you might have.