BREEAM is an environmental assessment scheme that aims to quantify and improve the environmental performance of buildings by rewarding designs that take positive steps to minimise their environmental impact. Increasingly used for planning and funding purposes, BREEAM enables clients and their design teams to demonstrate the environmental credentials of their buildings through independent certification.

BREEAM can be used at any stage of a building’s life from design and construction through to refurbishment and even in operation.

Valco Sustainability are licensed BREEAM assessors and we have extensive experience of supporting project teams through the assessment process on a wide range of building types. Our services include:

  • BREEAM pre-assessments - An early stage review that allows a building’s maximum potential to be established to offer a cost effective route to the required BREEAM rating. This is often carried out as part of the planning process
  • Formal BREEAM assessment – Carried out in two stages, a building’s performance is first evaluated at design stage (Interim certification) and is then confirmed post construction to gain Final certification
  • Design advice – Often offered in conjunction with the formal assessment to assist the design team and client in gaining the required rating in the most time efficient and cost effective manner

There are a number of different versions of BREEAM for different building types such as:

Bespoke BREEAM – where a development does not fit into a standard scheme or where there are mixed uses within a building then a Bespoke BREEAM assessment is required. In these cases BRE develop BREEAM criteria to be developed specifically for a project.

BREEAM Education – covers primary / secondary schools, sixth form colleges, further education / vocational colleges and university buildings.

BREEAM Healthcare - covers teaching/specialist, general acute, community and mental health hospitals as well as other healthcare facilities such as GP surgeries and health centres/clinics.

BREEAM International – can be used for the assessment of any building type outside the UK.

BREEAM In Use – used for the assessment of existing buildings in operation to evaluate and improve their performance over time.

BREEAM Offices – can be used for both speculative and fitted out office buildings and associated areas such as meeting and training rooms

Launched in April 2007, The Code for Sustainable Homes replaced EcoHomes for the assessment of new homes in England. In addition, since April 2008 Northern Ireland has required CSH assessments to be carried out on all new public sector housing and the National Assembly for Wales has also committed to adopt the CSH for new housing in Wales in the near future.

Owned by and operated under license to the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG), the Code for Sustainable Homes is required as follows:

  • In England, from April 2008 it is mandatory for all new homes to obtain a rating under the Code. In addition, any homes built with a funding contribution from either the Housing Corporation or English Partnerships must achieve a Code Level 3 rating and homes built in any “eco-towns” planned by CLG must achieve Code Level 5 or 6
  • In Northern Ireland, from April 2008 a rating of Code Level 3 must be achieved on any public sector housing

Using our experience of EcoHomes assessments as the foundation, we can help our clients understand the new more stringent Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) criteria and help them to achieve the necessary rating

EcoHomes (or BREEAM for Homes) was developed by BRE in partnership with the Housing Corporation and launched in 2003 for the assessment of new and refurbished housing developments in the UK. Following the launch of The Code for Sustainable Homes EcoHomes is now only used for the assessment of refurbished housing in England, new / refurbished housing in Scotland and some type of housing developments in Wales and Northern Ireland (see text on The Code for Sustainable Homes).

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