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SKA, BREEAM, LEED and WELL are the key sustainability assessment certifications. Each is the subject of its own fact sheet.

What is BREEAM?

BREEAM is an internationally recognised standard which was launched in 1990 and operated by the Building Research Establishment (BRE). It is an evidence-based environmental assessment method which enables individual fit out and refurbishment projects to benchmark their performance against a criteria arranged into ‘credits’.

BREEAM measures sustainable value in a series of categories ranging from energy to ecology. Each of these categories addresses the most influential factors: low impact design and carbon emissions reduction; design durability and resilience; adaption to climate change; and ecological value and biodiversity protection.

BREEAM assessment and certification

A third-party qualified, licensed BREEAM Assessor is engaged to advise the project and review the evidence against the BREEAM criteria.

Assessment and certification can take place at a number of stages in the built environment life cycle, from design and construction through to operation and refurbishment.

BREEAM has different standards for: communities; infrastructure; new construction; in-use (commercial buildings); and refurbishment and fit out 'RFO' (commercial buildings and homes).

BREEAM ratings

The main output from a certified BREEAM assessment is the rating. A certified rating reflects the performance achieved by a project and its stakeholders, as measured against the standard and its benchmarks. Ratings can be difficult to achieve. A collaborative approach, from pre-construction to post-completion is required to achieve any targeted rating.

The BREEAM rating ranges from Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding and is reflected in a series of stars on the BREEAM certificate. To obtain the highest ratings, mandatory credits and pre-requisite criteria need to be achieved.

BREEAM certificates are awarded by the BRE, based upon the percentage score built up by achieving credits.