In the pursuit of sustainable building practices, BREEAM Accredited Professionals (APs) and Assessors have become increasingly important in the modern built environment. These professionals play vital roles in the BREEAM assessment process, which evaluates the environmental performance of buildings and developments. Deciding whether to engage a BREEAM AP or a BREEAM Assessor is a pivotal choice that can significantly impact a project’s sustainability outcomes.
In this article, we will explore the services provided by APs and Assessors, as well as the BREEAM pros and cons, to help you make informed decisions when incorporating their expertise into your sustainable building projects.
Getting to Know a BREEAM AP
BREEAM APs are experts in sustainability and environmental design, and are well-versed in the intricacies of the BREEAM assessment process. They provide valuable guidance and support throughout every stage of a building project, ensuring the achievement of sustainable design goals.
Roles and responsibilities
A BREEAM AP plays a pivotal role in guiding projects towards BREEAM certification. These professionals offer expert advice on built environment sustainability, environmental design and assessment of construction projects. They are specialists in sustainability, integrating environmental strategies into a project’s fabric and ensuring alignment with BREEAM standards.
Their involvement facilitates effective design as they assist in activity-scheduling, priority-setting, and negotiating trade-offs to attain high BREEAM ratings. They work closely with both the client and design team, ensuring the incorporation of sustainable practices throughout the project.
Qualifications and certification process
Before anyone can become a qualified BREEAM AP, they must have postgraduate professional experience in roles relating to the sustainability of the built environment. They must also undergo specialised training to hone the necessary skills to become an AP or Assessor.
Moreover, APs must pass examinations to demonstrate their competence in environmental and sustainable design. Upon successful completion, they receive BREEAM AP certification, which acknowledges their expertise in the field.
Pros and Cons of Hiring a BREEAM AP
Let us now discuss the BREEAM pros and cons of engaging the services of an AP.
1. Expertise and guidance
BREEAM APs have in-depth knowledge and understanding of sustainability principles, steering projects towards sustainable success through strategic decision-making. Their guidance ensures the implementation of effective, sustainable design strategies, leading to improved environmental performance.
This, in itself, streamlines the decision-making process and turnaround time by eliminating guesswork.
2. Project coordination and management
With a BREEAM AP on board, the design team can benefit from expert coordination and management. These professionals act as the linchpin between various project stakeholders, ensuring seamless communication and coordinated efforts towards sustainability goals.
The AP helps to schedule activities, set priorities and navigate the complexities of sustainability requirements, thereby enhancing project efficiency.
3. Enhanced sustainability performance
By leveraging the knowledge and expertise of a BREEAM AP, you can ensure that your project will achieve higher BREEAM ratings. Their guidance throughout the design process maximises sustainability performance and optimises environmental outcomes.
With a BREEAM AP on board, projects are primed to achieve higher sustainability ratings, which can translate into better marketability and reduced environmental impact.
1. Additional cost
Hiring a BREEAM AP will of course incur an additional cost, which may be an important consideration for budget-conscious clients. However, the long-term benefits of improved sustainability and potential financial savings will soon outweigh this initial investment.
2. Availability and accessibility
Depending on the region and demand, hiring a qualified BREEAM AP may prove difficult. The scarcity of qualified BREEAM APs could cause delays in project timelines. However, partnering with reputable consultancies, such as Encon Associates, or engineering firms, will increase the likelihood of being able to access their services.
3. Reliance on external expertise
Engaging the services of a BREEAM AP means relying on external expertise to guide your project. Although they will undoubtedly bring valuable knowledge and experience, you will need to put your trust in these external professionals to achieve your desired sustainability outcomes.
All About a BREEAM Assessor
BREEAM Assessors play a critical role in the BREEAM assessment process. They evaluate a building’s performance against sustainability criteria, ensuring compliance and providing accurate ratings.
Roles and responsibilities
As auditors of the BREEAM assessment process, Assessors evaluate and review evidence submitted by the design team and assess compliance with the relevant criteria. They gather evidence, write assessment reports and assign accurate ratings to buildings based on their sustainability performance. In short, BREEAM Assessors evaluate a project’s environmental performance and provide recommendations on how to achieve BREEAM certification.
Qualifications and certification process
BREEAM Assessors must undergo training and assessment to ensure they are sufficiently competent to evaluate a project’s adherence to BREEAM criteria. They should also possess an assessment licence and demonstrate continued competency through professional indemnity insurance and quality assurance audits.
Pros and Cons of Hiring a BREEAM Assessor
Here are the BREEAM pros and cons of working with a BREEAM Assessor.
1. Detailed technical assessments
BREEAM Assessors conduct detailed technical assessments to ensure compliance with sustainability criteria. Their expertise will highlight potential sustainability improvements and enhance the environmental performance of buildings.
2. Compliance assurance
With a BREEAM Assessor involved, you can have confidence that your project will satisfy the relevant sustainability standards and requirements, fostering a sense of accountability. Their assessments provide assurance and validation of your project’s compliance.
Hiring a BREEAM Assessor can be cost-effective, particularly for smaller-scale projects. Their focused assessments help identify sustainable design opportunities while optimising resource allocation. BREEAM Assessors can also provide budget-friendly options, particularly for projects with tight financial considerations.
1. Limited scope of services
BREEAM Assessors primarily focus on the assessment process and may not provide extensive guidance on sustainable design strategies. In short, their main task is to assess and measure a building’s compliance with BREEAM standards, unlike an AP who will meticulously guide you throughout the entire build and assessment process. For comprehensive advice, we would recommend engaging the services of a BREEAM AP.
2. Potential conflicts of interest
Depending on their affiliations, Assessors may face potential conflicts of interest if they are part of the same organisation or have vested interests in the outcome of the project. Transparency and independence are required to ensure an unbiased assessment.
3. Dependency on external assessment
Relying solely on external Assessors for sustainability assessments means reduced in-house expertise. Striking a balance between external assessments and internal knowledge can be beneficial in fostering a sustainable culture within an organisation.
In the realm of sustainable construction, BREEAM APs and Assessors play vital roles in steering projects towards environmental excellence. The choice between the two often rests on the project goals, budget considerations and desired level of involvement.
BREEAM APs provide holistic guidance, while BREEAM Assessors offer in-depth evaluations. By weighing the pros and cons of each option, stakeholders can make an informed decision that aligns with their project’s sustainability ambitions.
If you require the expert assistance of a BREEAM AP or Assessor, our team at Encon Associates will be happy to help. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.