The construction industry is increasingly recognising and validating the importance of sustainable building practices to minimise the environmental impact and promote long-term sustainability. Among the many tools, methods and standards available, BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) stands out as a widely recognised and respected framework. BREEAM APs (Accredited Professionals) and Assessors play a crucial role in implementing and assessing sustainability measures relating to construction projects.
This article explores the qualifications, responsibilities, limitations and benefits of BREEAM APs and Assessors in promoting sustainable building practices.
BREEAM Accredited Professionals (APs)
BREEAM APs will usually possess extensive knowledge and expertise in sustainable construction practices. After having undergone rigorous training and assessment, they are qualified to provide guidance and support throughout the building and design process. BREEAM APs play a pivotal role in ensuring that sustainable design and construction principles are integrated effectively into projects.
BREEAM APs are equipped with in-depth knowledge of environmental issues, energy efficiency and resource management. Their role extends beyond a single project; they contribute to the development and dissemination of sustainable practices within the wider construction industry.
Moreover, BREEAM APs are also instrumental in helping clients achieve BREEAM certification and improve the overall sustainability performance of their projects.
Meanwhile, BREEAM Assessors are responsible for conducting assessments and certifying buildings under the BREEAM scheme. Again, they will be highly trained and suitably qualified to evaluate the environmental performance of buildings against BREEAM’s rigorous criteria. Their qualifications will enable them to assess various aspects, such as energy efficiency, water usage, waste management and the ecological impact.
BREEAM Assessors also conduct thorough assessments, considering factors such as design, construction and the operational phase of the building.
How BREEAM APs and Assessors Can Help
Highly qualified BREEAM professionals can make a significantly positive contribution to the success of your projects. The benefits of BREEAM APs and Assessors include:
1. Expertise in sustainable building practices
BREEAM APs and Assessors possess specialised knowledge and skills in sustainable construction projects. Their expertise can help your design and project team identify and implement environmentally friendly strategies, such as efficient energy systems, water conservation methods and material sourcing practices.
Their guidance will enable you to integrate sustainable design principles from the early stages of the process, thus maximising your project’s environmental performance.
2. Guidance throughout the building process
BREEAM APs and Assessors provide ongoing support and advice, ensuring that sustainable practices are followed throughout the construction project. In particular, BREEAM APs collaborate with architects, engineers and contractors to help them navigate the complex requirements of the BREEAM framework.
This assistance will improve the chances of achieving a favourable BREEAM sustainability rating and certification.
3. Enhanced project sustainability and marketability
By engaging a BREEAM AP or Assessor, you can significantly improve your project’s sustainability and performance. A higher BREEAM rating will not only demonstrate your commitment to sustainability, it will also enhance your project’s marketability.
Furthermore, BREEAM-certified buildings have a competitive advantage as they are perceived as being environmentally friendly and attractive to tenants, investors and buyers.
Limitations of BREEAM APs and Assessors
Although BREEAM APs and Assessors have certain limitations, as outlined below, the services and expertise they provide are still certainly worth the additional expense.
1. Cost implications and project constraints
Engaging a BREEAM AP or Assessor does bring additional costs, which is an important consideration, especially for smaller projects with limited budgets. There is no doubt that the fees can pose a challenge, particularly for clients seeking cost-effective solutions.
Furthermore, the requirements of BREEAM may introduce constraints during the design and construction phases, potentially affecting your project timelines and budgets.
2. Reliance on external expertise
Although BREEAM APs and Assessors bring valuable expertise to projects, their involvement also means that you are relying on external professionals. This can lead to issues if the availability of BREEAM APs and Assessors in a specific area is limited. It may also introduce a coordination problem between project teams and external consultants, potentially impacting the efficiency of the construction process.
3. Potential conflicts of interest
BREEAM APs and Assessors may face conflicts of interest when providing their services. For example, they may be affiliated with specific product manufacturers or suppliers, potentially leading to biased recommendations or decisions.
Therefore, it is essential that you assess the transparency and professionalism of the BREEAM professionals you hire. This will enable you to maintain the integrity of the assessment process and prevent any conflicts that could compromise your sustainability goals.
Case Studies and Success Stories
Numerous case studies and success stories highlight the benefits of BREEAM APs and Assessors in promoting sustainable building practices.
One such example is the renovation of a commercial office building that achieved a high BREEAM rating thanks to the expertise of an accredited professional. The building’s energy efficiency was significantly improved through the implementation of renewable energy systems and efficient HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) solutions.
As a result, the building not only reduced its environmental footprint, it also experienced long-term cost savings and increased tenant satisfaction.
Another success story involves a multi-residential development project that enlisted the services of BREEAM APs. Through their guidance, the project team implemented sustainable design features, such as rainwater harvesting systems, green roofs and low-carbon materials.
These measures contributed to a higher BREEAM rating, enhancing the marketability of the development and attracting environmentally conscious buyers.
By applying their expertise and guidance, BREEAM APs and Assessors play a crucial role in promoting sustainable building practices. They contribute to the successful implementation of sustainable design and construction principles, ultimately leading to enhanced environmental performance and better marketability of projects.
Moreover, while acknowledging the limitations associated with their services, it is important to remember that the involvement of BREEAM APs and Assessors can be instrumental in advancing sustainable construction practices. Their qualifications and contributions can help pave the way for a more environmentally responsible and resilient built environment.
If you require the expert assistance of a qualified and highly experienced BREEAM AP or Assessor, our team at Encon Associates will be only too happy to help. Please get in touch with us today.