What is BREEAM?

BREEAM, which stands for Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, is a widely used sustainability assessment method which guides and informs developers and architects to masterplan projects, infrastructure and buildings within the built environment.

BREEAM was launched in 1990 by BRE, the Building Research Establishment. Since then, it has revolutionised the way buildings are developed through their design, specification, construction, and operational phases of their lifecycle. Through the effective implementation of BREEAM, we can create more sustainable buildings sympathetic to their environment, promote the wellbeing of the people who use them and encourage more attractive and ethically minded property investments.

Through its emphasis on sustainability across the project lifecycle, BREEAM inspires developers and designers to innovate, ideate and continuously improve designs to meet the stringent requirements of the BREEAM model. As a result of this process, we get more attractive, environmentally friendly, comfortable and unique buildings that continue to deliver cost savings by delivering green solutions during their lifetime.

How does BREEAM Work?

BREEAM works through a certification system that provides independent, third-party certification to assesses the performance of the built asset with regards to overall sustainability. It is important to note that the assessment and certification of a building’s performance can take place at any stage of an asset’s lifecycle. This begins at the design stage, continues into construction and follows through to the operational phase and future refurbishment of a built asset.

The certification of a project is carried out when a qualified BREEAM assessor assesses plans to ensure that they meet the stringent performance and quality standards of the scheme. Through this process, a BREEAM rating is given to a project. A certified rating is a reflection of the work put in by all stakeholders of a project and will reflect a building’s sustainability, attractiveness to investors and comfort level for its users.

A BREEAM rating ranges from Acceptable, Pass, Good, Very Good and Excellent. A number of remedial suggestions for works to be carried out to improve the BREEM rating of a project will usually be suggested by a BREEAM Assessor. This will be shown by the number of stars on the certificate for the building.

How popular is BREEAM?

The popularity of the BREEAM assessment method is reflected by how many countries it is applied in around the world. Today, BREEAM is used in over 70 countries. Statistics show that more than 550,000 developments are now certified by the BREEAM scheme, with well over 2 million building registered to be assessed by a BREEAM Assessor.

In the UK, as we move towards carbon neutrality, signposted by government we can expect the uptake of BREEAM to continue to grow. Statistics show that around half of local-level planning authorities in England utilise the BREEAM assessment method within their development framework. Within London, over 70% of planning authorities use the BREEAM method, boosted by the importance of the London Plan.

Supporting you with BREEAM from early-stage design

Stroma Built Environment can support you with a dedicated BREEAM Assessor, who will work with your design team from early stages to advise on sustainable design and environmental performance elements to achieve your desired BREEAM rating. Our BREEAM Assessments can also be used to demonstrate compliance with planning applications by Local Authorities.

Get in touch to discuss BREEAM and your next project.