Last edited 01 Jan 2021

Main author

Emma Houston Other Consultant Website

BREEAM Protection of ecological features


[edit] Aim and benefits

To protect existing ecological features from substantial damage during site preparation and completion of construction works. Often consideration is not given to the fact established ecological features have taken years to grow and develop. Their value is not easily replaced and removal of them has lasting effects.

[edit] When to consider

Before RIBA stage 1 where possible. A site inspection by an ecologist must be carried out before any works begin on the chosen site. If an area of the site needs to be protected then the design and works will have to work around that and the earlier this is known the better.

[edit] Step by step guidance

This credit can only be achieved if the assessment zone is defined as ‘land of low ecological value’.

It is recommended that a suitably qualified ecologist be procured from the earliest point.

Before procuring an ecologist, it should be checked that they are suitably qualified in line with BREEAM requirements.

If using an ecologist, they will need to carry out a site inspection prior to any works beginning on site and at appropriate times of the year to determine if there is any ecological value in the site. If the overall value of the site is low the credit will be achievable but if there is value the site cannot gain the credit. See compliance notes in the BREEAM manual if the site was cleared prior to purchase.

Where the ecologist confirms the overall value is low but there are some features that should be retained and protected during construction these should be highlighted to the design team as early as possible.

The contractor should know they must put in place protection measures before they are appointed.

Before site works being the protection measures recommended by the suitably qualified ecologist should be put in place. BS42020:2013 should be consulted by the ecologist and for best practice the contractor. These measures may be protection around existing trees, rivers or ponds. Specific measures to prevent water pollution. Siting and timing of all construction-type activities to avoid harm to important nature conservation features. Erection of information or warning signs for site workers specifying location, type and means of installation. Erection of wildlife exclusion barriers to prevent, where necessary, particular species (e.g. water voles, badgers, amphibians and reptiles) from moving from one area or feature to another.

If any features of value have been removed from the site pre-of post purchase then credit cannot be achieved.

[edit] Questions to ask while seeking compliance

What state is the site in?

Is it mostly hard standing?

Is it a greenfield site or a brown field site?

What surrounds the site, urban, semi rural, rural?

Are there any derelict buildings?

Are there trees on site, if so are they established?

[edit] Tools and resources

Knowledge base -

BS42020:2013 can be purchased from a number of suppliers such as -

[edit] Tips and best practice

Good ecologist used from the earliest point.

It should be noted the assessment zone is defined as any land on the site which is being developed (and therefore disturbed) for buildings, hard standing, soft landscaping, site access, plus a 3m wide zone measured outward from the boundary around these areas irrespective of site boundary. It also includes any areas used for temporary site storage and buildings.

[edit] Typical evidence

Ecology report produced by suitably qualified ecologist.

Confirmation ecologist is suitably qualified

Site photographs

Confirmation from the design team/contractor that the features of value will be protected in line with the ecologists recommendations.

[edit] Applicable Schemes

The guidelines collated in this ISD aim to support sustainable best practice in the topic described. This issue may apply in multiple BREEAM schemes covering different stages in the life of a building, different building types and different year versions. Some content may be generic but scheme nuances should also be taken into account. Refer to the comments below and related articles to this one to understand these nuances. See this document for further guidelines.

BRE Global does not endorse any of the content posted and use of the content will not guarantee the meeting of certification criteria.

--Emma Houston 11:44, 18 Jan 2018 (BST)

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