Whenever a new BREEAM technical manual is introduced, we can be sure it will seek to keep the rating scales of the assessment process relevant, close the performance gap and try to push the industry to be more innovative, sustainable and productive. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that every new version of the manual will introduce a number of new requirements. Often, developers, architects and contractors in the construction industry can design and price new projects based on details from the last successful project; however, if there’s been any recent change in building regulations or sustainability criteria this can prove to be a risky approach. When a new BREEAM technical manual is released, therefore, it’s vital to identify and understand new requirements quickly, in order for the project to run smoothly. 

What should I watch out for in the 2018 edition? 

The 2018 technical manual is a case in point. A technical change has been introduced that will severely challenge the way the industry currently organises its BREEAM assessments (especially in relation to design and build contracts). 

Current industry practice for design and build contracts is often to leave the heavy BREEAM lifting to the successfully appointed contractor. However, according to the new requirements, if the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for Mat 01 is not submitted to the BRE before a project is submitted for planning then all seven associated credits are lost, and are unable to be secured post-submission. 

What might this mean for my building project? 

Assuming the LCA for Mat 01 isn’t submitted before the planning submission, and those seven credits are lost, it places increasing pressure on contractors to secure Excellent BREEAM ratings with fewer credits available. If contractors aren’t aware of the change in time, they may price for new projects that require a BREEAM Excellent rating, without knowing that expensive credits will need to be sought outside of Mat 01. 

To better manage this risk for developing projects assessed under BREEAM 2018, it would be advisable to appoint a dedicated BREEAM advisor during the early project development stages, as with other members of the design team. This would make sure that valuable early BREEAM credits are not overlooked or lost, increasing the likelihood of compliance with the highest sustainability standard. 

Appointing a BREEAM assessor during the early development stages would also ensure that the bid team are able to ascertain any potential pitfalls or risks inherent in the project’s initial design, including relevant BREEAM actions that may have been overlooked before planning submission. 

A BREEAM consultant working at this stage has time to gain early BREEAM involvement credits such as Man 01, achieve RIBA stage dependent credits such as Mat 01, identify resource efficiencies and place the project in a strong position right from the start to achieve its desired BREEAM rating.

Here at Darren Evans Assessments we have the expertise to support any type or size of project you’re working on. Our advice reduces risk and promotes successful BREEAM compliance, and we’d be happy to talk you through any next steps you have in mind. 

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