Whether you are undertaking a new project or refurbishing an existing building, it is crucial that you always consider the impact on our environment. Because we only have one planet, we must all play our part in protecting and preserving it. Obtaining BREEAM accreditation will demonstrate your commitment to pursuing sustainable and environmentally friendly projects.
Advantages of a BREEAM-Certified Project
BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) is the world’s leading environmental rating system and assessment method for buildings and infrastructure projects. Today, more than 260,000 buildings in over 50 countries are BREEAM-certified, and for good reason!
Constructing or managing a BREEAM-accredited building can benefit you in more ways than you can imagine. It allows you to:
- Ensure compliance with relevant environmental regulations and legislation.
- Reduce your building’s operating and refurbishment costs.
- Ensure your project’s sustainability and longevity.
- Ensure the health and comfort of the building’s tenants/users.
- Attract tenants and investors quickly and easily.
- Enhance your company’s reputation and industry standing.
- Enjoy more significant returns on your investment.
Steps to Obtaining a BREEAM Rating
Assessors utilise stringent measures and criteria to determine a building’s sustainability levels. Therefore, if you are keen on achieving your desired BREEAM rating, you should make the necessary preparations to ensure favourable results. Below are the steps involved in obtaining BREEAM accreditation.
1. Choose the BREEAM scheme that applies to your project
The first thing you need to do is identify the BREEAM scheme or technical standard applicable to your project so you can prepare for planning requirements well in advance. You can do this by determining the current life cycle of your building. Here is a quick guide to help you on your way:
- BREEAM Communities – suitable for projects at the planning stage.
- BREEAM New Construction – for projects at the design and construction phase.
- BREEAM In-Use – for buildings currently in use.
- BREEAM Refurbishment and Fit-Out – for buildings you want to improve or refurbish.
- BREEAM Infrastructure – for infrastructure and civil engineering projects.
2. Appoint an assessor
The next step is to find a licensed and qualified BREEAM assessor. An assessor’s main tasks include:
- Registering and conducting assessments of projects or assets.
- Determining a building’s BREEAM rating and level of compliance against the relevant BREEAM criteria.
- Applying for certification.
You may also consider working with a BREEAM AP (Accredited Professional) to achieve a higher BREEAM rating. A BREEAM AP will utilise their experience and expertise to help you and your design team identify the best solutions to ensure scheme compliance. They can also assist you with your project’s target setting and performance monitoring.
When working with a BREEAM assessor or AP, always ensure that there is a good line of communication between them and your design team. This will help facilitate compliance and a more straightforward certification process.
3. Conduct a pre-assessment
A BREEAM pre-assessment is an informal assessment method whereby your chosen assessor will use a pre-assessment estimator to predict your project’s potential rating. Although the results of a BREEAM pre-assessment are not certified and the score you will receive is not final, it will help you understand where your project is currently at in terms of sustainability and compliance with BREEAM standards.
This will in turn enable you to identify critical areas of environmental impact and the steps you need to take to improve your score. Conducting a pre-assessment can also help you determine the minimum standards you need to include in your design brief to obtain your desired rating. Armed with this information, you will be able to make the right decisions at an early stage and thus ensure that you will obtain the highest rating possible.
4. Register for an assessment
As part of their services, your chosen BREEAM assessor will register your project for assessment. However, bear in mind that this registration should be completed as early as possible during the assessment process.
Meanwhile, if your project is certified under the BREEAM In-Use scheme, you can register your assets directly online. You can also ask your BREEAM In-Use auditor to complete the registration on your behalf.
5. Get certified
The final stage of the BREEAM accreditation process is getting certified. Except for BREEAM In-Use, projects assessed under all schemes can be certified during the Design or Post-Construction stages. Your BREEAM assessor will submit all the evidence of compliance to BRE for quality assurance (QA) and certification. Then, BRE will issue the certificate and list your project on GreenBook Live, an online database of sustainable and environmentally friendly products, assets and services.
If your project is assessed under the BREEAM In-Use scheme, you can request certification through a licensed BREEAM In-Use auditor. Your auditor will then submit the request to BRE. Your certificate is valid for one year but you can have it renewed.
Obtain BREEAM Certification for Your Projects
A BREEAM-certified project can benefit you in many ways. Not only will it allow you to show your commitment to creating sustainable and environmentally friendly buildings, but it will also help ensure a more significant return on your investment. Consider having all your projects BREEAM-certified and follow the steps discussed above so you can enjoy all the benefits a sustainable building can offer.
If you require the services of a highly experienced BREEAM Assessor or AP, please contact our team at Encon Associates. We can offer you the expert guidance and knowledge you require to achieve high levels of sustainability and your desired BREEAM rating. Get in touch with us today!