BREEAM is the world’s first and leading sustainability assessment and certification scheme for the built environment. It is an international standard that is locally adapted, operated and applied through a network of scheme operators, Assessors and industry professionals.
Through its application, BREEAM recognises and reflects the value in higher performing assets and aims to inspire and empower change by rewarding and motivating sustainability across the life cycle of master-planning projects, infrastructure and buildings.
Launched in 1990, to date, BREEAM has been used to certify over 570,000 assessments of buildings across the building life cycle and it is being applied in over 86 countries.
BREEAM aim and objectives
BREEAM assesses, encourages and rewards environmental, social and economic sustainability throughout the built environment. The BREEAM schemes:
- encourage continuous performance improvement and innovation by setting and assessing against a broad range of scientifically rigorous requirements that go beyond current regulations and practice,
- empower those who own, commission, deliver, manage or use buildings, infrastructure or communities to achieve their sustainability aspirations,
- build confidence and value by providing independent certification that demonstrates the wider benefits to individuals, business, society and the environment.
Objectives of BREEAM
- To provide market recognition of buildings with a low environmental impact.
- To ensure best environmental practice is incorporated in the planning, design, construction and operation of buildings and the wider built environment.
- To challenge the market to provide innovative, cost effective solutions that minimise the environmental impact of buildings.
- To allow organisations to demonstrate progress towards corporate environmental objectives.
BREEAM is developed and operated to meet the following underlying principles:
- Ensure environmental quality through an accessible, holistic and balanced measure of environmental impacts.
- Use quantified measures for determining environmental quality.
- Adopt a flexible approach that encourages and rewards positive outcomes, avoiding prescribed solutions.
- Use robust science and best practice as the basis for quantifying and calibrating a cost effective and rigorous performance standard for defining environmental quality.
- Integrate building professionals in the development and operational processes to ensure wide understanding and accessibility.
- Adopt third party certification to ensure independence, credibility and consistency of the label.
- Adopt existing industry tools, practices and other standards wherever possible to support developments in policy and technology, build on existing skills and understanding and minimise costs.
- Align technically and operationally with relevant international standards, including the suite of standards on the ‘Sustainability of Construction Works’ prepared by the European Committee for Standardisation Technical Committee CEN/TC 350, as well as other international initiatives that promote harmonisation in the assessment of sustainability performance of built environment assets across their life cycle.
- Engage with a representative range of stakeholders to inform on-going development in accordance with the underlying principles and the pace of change in performance standards (accounting for policy, regulation and market capability).
The aims, objectives and principles of BREEAM are embodied within a Core Standard (Process, Science and Technical) owned and managed by BRE Global Limited. This Core Standard is applied to cover aspects of the built environment life through a suite of BREEAM Schemes. Locally developed and operated versions of the schemes are used in other countries by organisations known as National Scheme Operators (NSOs).
All NSOs are required to maintain scheme operations to internationally agreed standards and seek accreditation from a national accreditation body to demonstrate competence, impartiality and performance capability.
For a full list of BREEAM National Scheme Operators and Schemes visit www.breeam.com.
BREEAM In-Use International Commercial can be used to assess the sustainability performance of existing non-domestic assets. Residential institutions such as residential care home, hotels, hostels and student accommodation are considered to be non-domestic assets and should be assessed under this scheme. When looking to assess existing residential assets please refer to the scope section of SD243 the BREEAM In-Use International Residential manual.
The construction of new buildings, new infrastructure or communities’ projects, and existing building refurbishment and fit-outs cannot be assessed under the BREEAM In-Use scheme. Projects requiring these assessment types should be assessed under the relevant BREEAM schemes.
BREEAM In-Use International has been developed for use in all countries where there is no locally adapted version. Please note: where a country has a locally adapted version of BREEAM In-Use International that is appropriate to the asset type being assessed, this must be used in preference to BREEAM In-Use International. Please refer to www.breeam.com for further details on countries with local adapted version of BREEAM.
For all asset types that can be assessed using BREEAM In-Use International, the eligibility criteria listed below must also be met:
- The asset must be a complete and finished structure.
- Asset Performance- No more than 20% of the Gross Internal Area (GIA) can be classified as Unfitted at the point of submission. The assessment information provided must be correct at the point of submission to BRE Global for certification.
- Management Performance- No more than 20% of the Gross Internal Area (GIA) can be classified as Vacant, where Vacant = Unfitted plus Unoccupied over the reporting period (12 months). For definitions on vacancy types, please refer to Table 3 below.
- The asset must contain occupiable or occupied space(s) which is designed to be continuously occupied for 30 minutes or more per day by a building user.
- Asset Performance- An asset not yet occupied can still be assessed.
- Management Performance- The asset must have been occupied for at least 12 months prior to the start of the assessment. Any asset without compliant consumption data will not be able to achieve all of the credits within Management Performance (e.g. the Operational Energy Calculator and Water).
- An asset does not have to include the whole building; it could include just part of a building or a single floor. In such cases, the scope of the BREEAM In-Use International assessment must include all relevant amenity and service areas.
- The asset must comply with all relevant environmental and health and safety legislation in its location
- An asset cannot normally include more than one building. The only exception is where several buildings meet the following criteria:
- All buildings must be located on the same site. The boundary of the site must be drawn where responsibility of management or ownership of the site changes.
- All buildings must have the same building function, similar performance, and be of the similar design and age.
- Building management and maintenance policies, procedures and approach must be the same across all the buildings that make up the asset to ensure consistent implementation.
- Evidence must be collated from each building that is included in the asset and where performance against the BREEAM requirements varies, the final score will be determined by the space with the lowest level of performance.
Table 3: Vacancy type definitions
Scoring and rating of BREEAM In-Use International assessed assets
There are 4 elements that determine the overall performance of a BREEAM In-Use assessment. They are:
- The BREEAM In-Use International rating level benchmarks
- The BREEAM In-Use International minimum standards
- The BREEAM In-Use International environmental category weightings
- The BREEAM In-Use International assessment issues and credits
The next sections summarise how these elements combine to produce a BREEAM In-Use rating for a new building and are followed by a description of the process of determining a rating.
BREEAM In-Use International rating benchmarks
The BREEAM rating benchmarks for projects assessed using BREEAM In-Use International are outlined in Table 6.
Table 6: BREEAM In-Use International rating benchmarks
BREEAM In-Use rating benchmarks enable a client and all other stakeholders to compare the performance of assets.
In this respect each BREEAM rating broadly represents:
- Outstanding: Performance that goes beyond best practice
- Excellent: Performance that represents best practice
- Very Good: Performance that represents advanced good practice
- Good: Performance that represents intermediate good practice
- Pass: Performance that represents standard good practice
- Acceptable: Performance that represents performance that meets BREEAM’s minimum levels of performance for key environmental issues.
An unclassified BREEAM In-Use rating represents performance that is non-compliant with BREEAM InUse, in terms of failing to meet either the BREEAM In-Use minimum standards of performance for key environmental issues or the overall threshold score required to achieve certification.
Environmental category weightings
Category weightings are fundamental to any building sustainability assessment method and provide a means of defining and ranking the relative importance and impact of sustainability issues. BREEAM uses an explicit category weighting system to determine the overall BREEAM score. The process for defining the BREEAM category weightings is set out in the BREEAM Briefing Paper ‘New Methodology for Generating BREEAM Category Weightings’ available on the BREEAM website. The methodology has been applied in stakeholder consultation activities to generate consensus-based weightings for all categories across the BREEAM family of schemes, including BREEAM In-Use. The outputs from this exercise have been reviewed by BRE Global for the purposes of application in the BREEAM In-Use International Scheme.
The weightings for each of the nine environmental categories included in the BREEAM In-Use International Scheme are outlined in Table 7.
Table 7: BREEAM In-Use International environmental category weightings
Calculating an asset's BREEAM rating
A BREEAM In-Use Assessor must determine the BREEAM In-Use International rating using the relevant reporting tool/software and in compliance with the requirements as set out in this technical manual. The process of determining a BREEAM In-Use International rating for Asset Performance and Management Performance is outlined below. As mentioned previously, an independent score is provided for each Part assessed.
- For each of BREEAM’s environmental categories the number of credits awarded is determined by the BREEAM In-Use Assessor according to the number of credits available when the criteria of each assessment issue have been met.
- The percentage of available credits achieved is calculated for each category.
- The percentage of available credits achieved in each category is then multiplied by the corresponding weighting for each category to give the overall environmental category score.
- The category scores are added together to give the overall BREEAM In-Use International score for the Part being assessed.
- The overall score is compared with the BREEAM rating benchmark levels and, provided all minimum standards have been met, the relevant BREEAM rating is achieved.
- An additional 1% can be added to the final BREEAM In-Use International score for each exemplary-level credit achieved with the total BREEAM In-Use International score capped at 100%. The maximum number of ‘exemplary-level credits’ that can be awarded for any one asset is 10 per Part; therefore, the maximum additional score available is 10%.
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