The BREEAM acronym stands for Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology. It establishes a world standard for building ratings and a method of assessing their environmental impact. Acoustic testing companies work in collaboration with BREEAM assessment companies to guarantee that your building meets one of the comprehensive regulations and measures on a building’s environmental performance.
However, there are several factors to be considered both for those testing and for those requiring them. Understand what BREEAM is and means in practice; how it relates to building compliance requirements, and why it is so important for so many buildings and developments.
As a leading methodology for assessing buildings, BREEAM ensures compliance with sustainable construction, operation, and design and can be used to assess both renovation schemes and new developments.
It was originally developed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) as a way of assessing new offices, but now it is a widely used method. With its inherent focus on sustainability, it has helped to create a much greener built environment in the UK and across Europe, with schemes implemented in Norway, Sweden, Spain, and the Netherlands.
How does BREEAM work?
A benchmark standard for sustainable development and environmental awareness around the globe, BREEAM assessments consider several factors to determine BREEAM certification eligibility. BREEAM evaluates sustainability against a range of targets and rewards performance based on its benefits to society, the economy, and the environment.
What are the Criteria?
These are some of the categories and criteria BREEAM assessors consider:
- Water consumption
- Health and Wellbeing
Following these criteria, BREEAM assessors award building credits or points for each of the following categories, which are then multiplied by a weighting factor for environmental impact. Each category score is added together, and then the building is given a BREEAM rating.
Why is BREEAM important?
As a result of several factors, BREEAM is becoming increasingly important, with up to 70 percent of local authorities in cities across the UK requiring a BREEAM certification. The non-compliance with BREEAM standards may prevent developers and property owners from carrying out building projects:
- As part of the government’s Construction Strategy, all public projects must now undergo an environmental assessment; achieving a BREEAM Excellent rating is a requirement
- Sustainability is becoming more and more in demand. Therefore, ensuring that a building or development has a high BREEAM rating can make the commercial property more desirable and valuable
- By improving the desirability of buying a property that meets BREEAM standards, BREEAM can lead to faster sales
- As part of a BREEAM assessment, factors such as efficient heating systems, low water consumption components, and energy-efficient lighting are taken into consideration, reducing property running costs for landlords.
- Developers‘ failure to reach BREEAM targets stipulated by local planning authorities can have an economic impact on their development projects. A developer or contract may be in breach of their contract (which could lead to an expensive legal case).
- Social benefits are provided by it. The UK Green Building Council surveyed over 71% of people who had used BREEAM assessment as part of their building development and reported that it had been socially beneficial. The most popular reason for this was the improved image as a result of both the company and building BREEAM certification
Furthermore, BREEAM’s environmental impact over time is also important. As a result, development strategies have become increasingly focused on reducing construction waste, reducing CO2 emissions, and improving the environment for wildlife.
BREEAM assessments require contractors to develop a Resource Management Plan; with BREEAM assessors regularly monitoring on-site developments to ensure they meet waste and efficiency targets.
Benefits of BREEAM
Better for the environment
We all live on the same planet, so taking care of it is important. Through smarter energy solutions, reducing operational pollution, and using sustainable materials, BREEAM standards aim to minimize harmful carbon emissions. It can also aid in reducing material waste and improving water consumption.
If the goal is to improve the life cycle value of the space, achieving a high rating may cost you more in the short term in terms of higher-quality materials and equipment but will save you more in the long run.
Four out of five survey respondents said they’d seen a clear reduction in operational costs after using BREEAM, meaning they can make a higher ROI over time.
Better Industry Reputation
Your company can improve its reputation in the industry by focusing on sustainability through BREEAM.
What is a good BREEAM rating?
According to our experience, a good BREEAM rating is Excellent or Outstanding, which puts you approximately in the top 10% of non-domestic developments in the UK. The BREEAM certification does not require that you reach this standard to obtain the certification.
No matter the industry you’re in, a space with a high BREEAM rating will benefit you in one way or another, whether it’s financial, operational, or reputational. Consider incorporating BREEAM into your next project if you want a better workplace, a higher profit margin, or a better reputation.