BREEAM UK Non-Domestic Refurbishment and Fit-Out

Launched at MIPIM UK, the latest in the BREEAM family of sustainability rating schemes has been developed by BRE Global to assess and improve the sustainability of UK building refurbishment and fit-out projects.

The new scheme has been tailored to take account of the challenges of improving existing buildings ensuring projects are assessed against the issues that each project can reasonably be expected to influence and not on factors outside of their control.  In addition, stretching targets focus on getting project team to work together to meet requirements for issues such as the re-use of materials on site.

The scheme’s flexibility derives from a new four part modular approach, giving a range of certification options. Part One deals with the building fabric and structure, Part Two is concerned with core services (e.g. centralised M&E plant), Part Three deals with local services and Part Four with interior design. Refurbishment and fit-out projects can be assessed against one or all of the four parts, or any combination, depending on which are relevant to a particular project.

The following table highlights example project types and the parts that are applicable.   

Project Type

Part 1:

Fabric & Structure

Part 2:

Core Services

Part 3:

Local Services

Part 4:

Interior Design

Full refurbishment


Yes Yes Yes
Shell & Core Refurbishment to Cat A


Cat B Fit-Out


  Yes Yes
Interior refresh


Upgrade of central services




The scheme also introduces assessment criteria that have been adapted for refurbishments and fit-outs, to reflect the split between tenant and landlord responsibilities and the limitations and opportunities for improving existing buildings.  It sets new performance benchmarks that reward improvements to the poorest performing buildings, whilst also giving recognition for buildings that already perform well.  There are also a number of new criteria aimed at making existing buildings fit for the future such as issues focusing on climate change resilience and functional adaptability.

As with all BREEAM schemes, projects assessed under the scheme can receive a BREEAM rating from Pass to Outstanding. The certificate will indicate the parts that have been assessed, providing comparable performance across the property market and between competitors.

The launch of BREEAM UK Refurbishment & Fit-Out 2014 follows two years of development, industry consultation and pilot studies with clients including the Green Investment Bank, Legal and General, Lloyds Banking Group, Boots, World Duty Free Group and others. The scheme was also tested out on the refurbishment of one of BRE’s buildings in Watford, with significant savings made as well as many other positive learning outcomes.  Work will now start on extending its use to other countries where refurbishments are currently assessed under BREEAM International New Construction.

The scheme will go live for registrations on 31st October where clients can seek an assessment using the new BREEAM Projects website at

The scheme’s Technical Manual and a range of supporting documents will also be available from the BREEAM website (Resources section) on 31st October.