Frequently Asked Questions

What is BREEAM?

What type of buildings does BREEAM cover?

Does BREEAM cover the masterplanning of large scale developments?

Which countries use BREEAM?

What is the BREEAM Extranet?

Can I have access to the BREEAM Extranet?

At what stage of the project should I appoint a BREEAM Assessor?

How do I find a BREEAM Assessor?

How long does it take to have an assessment carried out?

I am a product manufacturer and want to find out if my product can be used in a BREEAM assessment to help achieve credits

Who can become a BREEAM Assessor?

What fee will an Assessor charge?

Which BREEAM scheme should I use if my project does not fall into any of the existing standard scheme categories?

How much does BRE Global charge for Bespoke criteria development?

Can I adapt BREEAM for my country?

Can I use local building regulations or standards when doing an assessment that is outside the UK?

Where can I find more information on BREEAM Innovation applications?


What is BREEAM?

BREEAM is the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method for buildings and large scale developments. It sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design and has become the de facto measure used to describe environmental performance of buildings and communities.

What type of buildings does BREEAM cover?

BREEAM can be used to assess any type of building anywhere in the world. Standard schemes have been developed for many building types e.g. offices, retail developments, industrial buildings etc. BREEAM UK also has standard schemes that have been tailored with input from key stakeholders/clients in the UK such as healthcare, prisons and other non-standard building types.  ‘Bespoke’ criteria can be used to assess building types that do not fall into the scope of the standard schemes available.

Does BREEAM cover the masterplanning of large scale developments?

The BREEAM Communities scheme can be used to assess large scale developments anywhere in the world. BREEAM Communities assessments can be undertaken for both mixed-use and single-use developments. The BREEAM Communities framework recognises the variation in development impacts on the surrounding community and environment. It therefore does not prescribe size thresholds for developments, but is appropriate for developments which are likely to have significant impacts on existing communities or infrastructure and also those which trigger new provision of services and facilities. The scheme can be used for assessments throughout the UK, and internationally through the BREEAM Communities Bespoke International process.

Which countries use BREEAM?

BREEAM is used to assess buildings and large scale developments in many countries around the world. In several countries (e.g. UK, Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Norway, Sweden) National Scheme Operators operate country specific versions of BREEAM. Where there is no National Scheme Operator BREEAM International New Construction is used for new developments. Major Refurbishment and Fit-Out projects can also be assessed using BREEAM Europe Commercial or BREEAM International Bespoke.

What is the BREEAM Extranet?

The BREEAM Extranet is an online portal used by licensed BREEAM Assessors to access all relevant BREEAM tools and documents.

Can I have access to the BREEAM Extranet?

The BREEAM Extranet is only available to qualified and licensed Assessors.

At what stage of the project should I appoint a BREEAM Assessor?

It is recommended that a BREEAM Assessor is appointed at the early design stages (Design Brief or equivalent) for BREEAM building level assessments and at the earliest possible opportunity in the masterplanning process for BREEAM Communities assessments. Involving the Assessor at this early stage will make it easier to obtain the desired rating cost effectively, in some cases either at no extra cost or an overall cost saving. Appointing an Assessor at a later stage will reduce the influence that they and BREEAM can have on the project and may result in the desired rating being unobtainable, or being obtainable only through additional investment.  Additionally some issues within BREEAM must be sought at key design stages (such as carrying out a feasibility study for low or zero carbon technologies at concept design) and so late appointment may result in certain credits being unavailable to the project.

How do I find a BREEAM Assessor?

If you wish to contact a BREEAM Assessor please visit www.greenbooklive.com where all licensed assessor organisations for all BREEAM schemes are listed.

How long does it take to have an assessment carried out?

The time taken to complete a BREEAM Assessment will vary from project to project. It must be remembered that BREEAM certification is based on building performance / designs and plans for a development confirmed by the Assessor through the collation of rigorous and credible evidence.

Assessment and certification therefore depends on when the Assessor is appointed, the stage in the design process and the availability and format of information. For building level assessments interim ‘design stage’ certification would typically take place between the end of the detailed design stage and the beginning of operations on site. Final certification, which relies on 'as built' evidence of compliance with BREEAM, will occur toward the end of operations on site and handover of the building.

For large scale developments being assessed under BREEAM Communities, interim certification (Step 1) loosely aligns with outline planning in the UK and involves establishing the principle of the development. Final certification (Steps 2 and 3) loosely aligns with detailed planning and these two steps cover determining the layout of the development and designing the details of the design.

I am a product manufacturer and want to find out if my product can be used in a BREEAM assessment to help achieve credits

Credits are awarded in BREEAM for the use of construction products that have a low environmental impact and are responsibly sourced.

The environmental impact is determined using BRE Global's Green Guide. To view the Green Guide online please click here. If you are interested in obtaining the environmental impact assessment and rating specific to your product please visit our Environmental Profiles page for further details.

If you would like to obtain certification for your product to demonstrate that it has been responsibly sourced please visit our Responsible Sourcing of Construction Products for further details.

Who can become a BREEAM Assessor?

BREEAM Assessors training courses are currently open to all. Training will be of interest to those:

  • Designing or specifying buildings and  large scale developments to optimise economic, social and environmental benefits and impact
  • Delivering BREEAM or other environmental Assessments
  • Satisfying professional CPD requirements
  • Wanting to gain a recognised qualification

BREEAM Communities training is suitable for planning officers, consultants and developers involved in the delivery of large scale developments and masterplans. There are no pre-requisites to attend the assessor training course, although attendees should have an interest or involvement in the above.

What fee will an Assessor charge?

The Assessor's fee will vary depending on what services you require from them. You may wish for them to offer BREEAM related consultancy advice in addition to carrying out and guiding you through the formal BREEAM assessment and certification process. To contact a licensed BREEAM Assessor organisation to discuss your requirements and assessment fees please visit GreenBookLive.

Which BREEAM scheme should I use if my project does not fall into any of the existing standard scheme categories?

For projects that cannot be assessed using the standard BREEAM schemes, BREEAM Bespoke should be used.

How much does BRE Global charge for Bespoke criteria development?

If your project cannot be assessed using one of the standard BREEAM schemes and therefore requires Bespoke criteria, there will be a bespoke criteria development fee in addition to the standard registration and certification fees. The bespoke criteria development fee is dependent on the project and its complexity and so a tailored proposal will be provided once a bespoke application form is completed.

The latest fee sheet details the current registration and certification fees and can be found on the BREEAM Assessor Extranet. If you are not a licensed Assessor and do not have access to the BREEAM Assessor Extranet please contact a licensed Assessor for more information (for a list of BREEAM Assessors please visit (www.greenbooklive.com)

For further information about the Bespoke process, please visit the Schemes page using the link at the top of the page.

Can I adapt BREEAM for my country?

Country-specific BREEAM schemes can be developed and implemented by National Scheme Operators. If you are interested in becoming a National Scheme Operator please visit the country specific BREEAM schemes page for more information.

Can I use local building regulations or standards when doing an assessment that is outside the UK?

Yes, international BREEAM schemes allow the use of local codes and standards where they are equivalent or where they set a higher standard than the European or UK standards. There is a process in place for assessors to follow with regard to this, which is detailed in the Operational Guidance located on the Assessor extranet.

Where can I find more information on BREEAM Innovation applications?

Information on BREEAM Innovation Applications can be downloaded from the ‘Resources’ section of the BREEAM website.  You can also find further information in the BREEAM Scheme Documents, from BREEAM Assessors or BREEAM Accredited Professionals, or by contacting our helpdesk – breeam@bre.co.uk.