Confused about BREEAM? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know and how following our advice early could save your project!

In this article we will outline what Breeam ratings are, how they are calculated and why ignoring them could be a costly mistake.

What is BREEAM?

BREEAM (pronounced bree-am), is an acronym standing for Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method. Launched in 1990 in the UK by Building Research Establishment (BRE), initially a government body which has since been privatised.

BREEAM is the world’s leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings, popular alternatives include: Leed (USA only), Ska ( applies exclusively to refurbishments), Well measures health and wellbeing instead of environmental sustainability).

What is it for?

BREEAM exists to reduce the impact construction has on the environment through promoting and rewarding sustainability, essentially it is a set of standards which buildings are scored against. It initially only covered new office builds, however now all new buildings including education, healthcare, prisons, courts, multi residential (student housing, care homes etc) and other commercial buildings are subject to it.

Buildings following Breeam standards are typically cheaper to run, maintain, are more durable, and energy efficient, they should also be a more pleasant environment for people to be in.

What are BREEAM ratings? And how are they awarded?

The BREEAM rating system are based on a score awarded by a qualified assessor. The diagram below outlines the factors graded and outlines how much each category contributes towards a buildings overall score. They encompass all areas of sustainability and encourage going above and beyond best practices to improve efficiency.

(Source: https://www.breeam.com/domrefurbmanual/content/03scoring/01scoring_and_rating.htm)

Is BREEAM a legal requirement? And when is it applicable?

Local authorities decide their own minimum BREEAM requirements. In some areas new buildings must meet a rating of Excellent in others Very Good is sufficient.

When BREEAM rules are applicable also depends on rules set by local authorities, however refurbishments or new buildings larger than 500 square metres or costing above £2m are typically required to meet a pre-determined Breeam standard.

What should I do to achieve a high BREEAM rating?

The first stage to achieving a high score is to contact a qualified BREEAM assessor as early in the planning process as possible. They will guide you through the process of planning and explain how to apply the BREEAM principles to your project.

Failing to hire an assessor early in the planning process often results in losing crucial “time limited” credits. These make up approximately 30 credits – considering an Excellent score requires a minimum of 70 out of 110 credits, it is clear how important it is to get an assessor on board early on!

Getting the right team for the job

The next step is to ensure reputable, experienced contractors are hired to execute the project. It is worth doing your research as choosing the right team will save you from losing vital credits during the construction or refurbishment process. It is commonplace for inexperienced contractors to make costly errors, resulting in an expensive game of catch-up later in the process to recover credits, sometimes this does not bring enough credits to meet standards, jeopardising the whole project.

Intecho has helped many companies like yours achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating, slashing their energy consumption, helping the environment, and making better environments for the occupants. By using Intecho you can take advantage of our 12 years of BREEAM experience, save money, and avoid common pitfalls during the planning and building stages.

Why is Intecho an industry leader and what can they do for your project?

With over 12 years of experience, our unrivalled knowledge puts us at the cutting edge of energy efficient building controls. We are specialists in heating, lighting, security and water controls. With a commercial portfolio spanning across industries – click here to see our previous high-profile projects.

Acknowledged as an industry leader within the UK and with a team of highly trained and skilled engineers we relish collaborating with your delivery team to ensure you as the building developer or owner benefit for the long term from our smart building technologies and systems and can be proud of an excellent BREEAM rating. 

Contact us today to see how we can maximise your projects potential.