Environmental Assessment (BREEAM)

Matthew Boulton CollegeBREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is the leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings.

It sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design and has become the de facto measure used to describe a building’s environmental performance.

Services Design Associates have many years’ experience of designing for BREEAM Excellence in many sectors.

Although BREEAM is the leading assessment method, other environmental assessment standards also exist. SDA have experience of carrying out assessments utilising DREAM, which is the Ministry of Defence environmental assessment method.

BREEAM assessments are carried out by Qualified Assessors licensed by BRE Global. Assessments are carried out initially at the design stage to establish measures necessary to achieve the desired sustainability target. A post construction assessment is carried out to determine that targets have been achieved before a BREEAM certificate can be issued. The assessment procedure is subject to quality control which is administered by BRE Global.

The Department of Heath have issued guidelines that all NHS capital projects should be subject to BREEAM assessment as a condition of capital business plan funding. All capital developments exceeding £2million must achieve an Excellent BREEAM rating for new build projects and Very Good for refurbishment projects. In additional all projects must achieve the BREEAM TRA 5: Travel Plan credit. Projects with a value less than £2million should be subject to a pre-assessment to determine if BREEAM accreditation is viable.

BREEAM provides clients, developers, designers and others with:

• market recognition for low environmental impact buildings

• assurance that best environmental practice is incorporated into a building

• inspiration to find innovative solutions that minimise the environmental impact

• a benchmark that is higher than regulatory standards

• a tool to help reduce running costs, improve working and living environments

• a standard that demonstrates progress towards corporate and organisational environmental objectives

BREEAM addresses wide-ranging environmental and sustainability issues and enables developers and designers to prove the environmental credentials of their buildings to planners and clients. It:

• uses a straightforward scoring system that is transparent, easy to understand and supported by evidence-based research

• has a positive influence on the design, construction and management of buildings

• sets and maintains a robust technical standard with rigorous quality assurance and certification

The assessment of the building results in a final report and BREEAM certificate detailing the performance of the assessed building against the environmental issues covered by the Standard. The building’s performance is expressed as a BREEAM rating of PASS, GOOD, VERY GOOD, EXCELLENT or OUTSTANDING.

Further information about BREEAM can be found at the official BREEAM web site.

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