When it comes to sustainable building practices, it is imperative that new constructions obtain a BREEAM outstanding certification. BREEAM – the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method – is a widely recognised benchmark rating scheme that evaluates the environmental performance and impact of both new and existing buildings.
In this article, we will explore why it is so important that new constructions undergo a BREEAM assessment. We will also provide a comprehensive checklist to help you achieve the coveted outstanding rating.
Importance of Securing a BREEAM Certification for New Constructions
In an era when climate change and environmental impact are pressing concerns, securing BREEAM certification for new constructions has never been more important. In fact, BREEAM certification will serve as a powerful testament to your unwavering commitment to sustainability and set your building apart as an exemplar of environmental responsibility.
Securing BREEAM certification goes beyond mere recognition; it comes with a whole host of long-term benefits that can have a profound effect on the success of your project. For example, from a financial perspective, buildings with a BREEAM certification tend to outperform their non-certified counterparts. This can be partly attributed to the reduced utility consumption of the structures which is achieved by utilising energy and resource-saving designs. In addition, studies have also shown that BREEAM-certified buildings have higher rental values, increased market demand and enhanced occupant satisfaction.
These factors contribute to improved financial performance and a greater return on investment over the lifespan of the building.
BREEAM Certification Checklist: What Are The Benefits?
Following a prescribed checklist is important in terms of streamlining your efforts to obtain a BREEAM outstanding certification. A comprehensive checklist will act as a roadmap, guiding you through all the necessary steps to meet your sustainability goals and successfully pass the BREEAM assessment with flying colours.
Moreover, a checklist will also be beneficial in terms of organisation, time and your ability to make informed decisions throughout the construction process, ensuring that your building meets the highest standards of environmental performance.
What to Include on Your BREEAM Certification Checklist
An effective BREEAM certification checklist will usually cover three phases: pre-construction, construction and post-construction. Let’s now explore each phase in turn as well as the key factors to consider.
In the pre-construction phase, there are several key considerations to include in your checklist:
1. Site selection and design considerations
Choose a site with sustainable attributes, such as proximity to public transport, access to green spaces and consideration of ecological factors.
2. Energy efficiency and renewable energy planning
Develop an energy strategy that focuses on energy-efficient design, insulation, efficient HVAC systems and integration of renewable energy sources such as solar panels.
3. Water management and conservation measures
Incorporate water-saving fixtures, rainwater harvesting systems and sustainable drainage solutions. This will allow you to minimise your water usage and manage stormwater runoff efficiently.
4. Materials selection and life cycle assessment
Opt for environmentally friendly materials with low embodied carbon, sustainable sourcing and high recyclability. Also, conduct a life cycle assessment to determine the environmental impact of materials throughout their expected life cycle.
During the construction phase, there are several key factors to consider to ensure you are implementing sustainable construction practices and enhancing your chances of achieving an outstanding rating.
1. Sustainable construction practices
Implement sustainable construction methods; for example, by minimising construction waste, reducing pollution and emissions, and ensuring responsible sourcing of materials.
2. Waste management and recycling
Establish a comprehensive waste management plan that emphasises recycling and the proper disposal of construction waste while adhering to local regulations.
3. Indoor environmental quality considerations
Ensure good indoor air quality by using low-emitting materials, providing proper ventilation systems and controlling moisture levels. It would also be advisable to incorporate efficient daylighting and lighting systems to protect the occupants’ well-being.
4. Monitoring and documenting construction activities
Keep detailed records of your construction activities, including material deliveries, installation processes and site management practices. As a result, you will have evidence of compliance during the BREEAM assessment.
In the post-construction phase, your checklist should focus on optimising building performance and maintaining sustainability standards.
1. Commissioning and performance testing
Thoroughly test and commission building systems to ensure they operate optimally and meet the specified performance criteria.
2. Occupant engagement and education
Develop initiatives to educate and engage your building’s occupants in sustainable practices, such as energy and water conservation, waste management, and sustainable transportation options.
3. Monitoring and optimising building performance
Implement a system to continually monitor and optimise building performance, especially in relation to energy consumption, indoor air quality and water usage. This will help you maintain sustainability goals throughout the life cycle of the building.
4. Submission of documentation for BREEAM assessment
Collate all the necessary documentation, including design drawings, specifications, energy reports and certificates, to support your BREEAM assessment. For a smooth submission process, you must ensure that all the requisite information is accurately organised and presented. Better still, it is usually a good idea to work with a licensed BREEAM assessor who will be able to help you submit the documents and thus make obtaining a BREEAM outstanding certification much easier to accomplish.
Achieving an outstanding BREEAM rating for your new construction project is extremely important as it allows you to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. By following a comprehensive BREEAM certification checklist, you can navigate the complexities of the assessment process and ensure that your building meets the highest standards of environmental performance.
Remember, accuracy and attention to detail are crucial when creating your BREEAM certification checklist. This is why you should seek professional advice from our team here at Encon Associates to ensure you submit accurate documentation and comply with the BREEAM requirements. If you would like to receive some guidance from experts in the field, please feel free to get in touch.