Last edited 21 Dec 2020

Main author

Emma Houston Other Consultant Website

BREEAM Site Selection


[edit] Aim and benefits

To encourage the reuse of land that has been previously developed and discourage the use of previously undeveloped land for building.

To encourage positive action to use contaminated land that otherwise would not have been remediated and developed.

To avoid land which has not been previously disturbed.

[edit] When to consider

RIBA Plan of Work 2013 - Stage 1: Preparation of Brief - as early as possible.

Once the site has been selected there is nothing that can be done to change the situation.

A site investigation report will be done at the earliest stage and should indicate if there is any contamination. But often it has already been decided that this is the site whether it is contaminated or not.

These credits are very difficult to choose to achieve as they are mainly situational.

[edit] Step by step guidance

[edit] Previously developed land credit

Was the site previously developed?

An early Site investigation report will detail this but often it is known by the design team from the onset.

As evidence, previous use will likely be detailed in the Design statement or Site investigation report. The Ecologists habitat survey may demonstrate previous land use. A Geotechnical and Geo-environmental interpretative report or Ground investigation report would also detail any previous uses.

The 2011 assessment asked that the previous development to have been within the last 50 years. It is common that the land has clearly had a previous land use but if not, historical maps can be used.

The design team must demonstrate that more than 75% of the site was previously used. The most straight forward method to demonstrate this is with an existing site plan showing the site boundary and the area of previously used land and the area of proposed development. Separate drawings can be used. The areas in m2 must be detailed so the 75% can be calculated.

There is a compliance note in relation to education assessments and use of playing fields.

[edit] Contaminated land credit

It is unlikely that a site would be chosen because it is contaminated but where there is a choice hopefully the client would choose it.

A ground investigation report or Geotechnical and Geo-environmental interpretative report would demonstrate that there is contamination.

A specialist in contamination would then likely compile a separate report or section on the contamination and the remediation measures required.

The ecology report may also detail some contamination as some non-native invasive species are contaminants. Currently the two species which currently qualify are Japanese knotweed and Giant hogweed. The DEFRA website provides more information on these species. 2014 assessments can approach the BRE if they find a species which acts as a barrier to development and see if it can qualify. The ecologist would likely be able to advise on the appropriate removal of invasive species.

The specialist report with the remediation instructions should be used as evidence but to achieve the credit the remediation must be carried out. For the design stage assessment, the team must confirm that the remediation is to be carried out as the specialist has instructed.

[edit] Questions to ask while seeking compliance

Was the site previously developed?

How much of the site was previously developed?

What was the previous land use?

How long ago was it developed?

Is there likely to be contamination?

Has the ground been investigated?

Has a habitat survey or environmental impact assessment been carried out?

[edit] Tools and resources

DEFRA website e.g.-

SEPA e.g.-

[edit] Tips and best practice

Make sure it is very clear for the auditor that 75% of the proposed site is on previously developed land.

[edit] Typical evidence

(All of these documents are not required).

Existing site drawing

Proposed site drawing

Design statement

Site investigation report

Geotechnical and Geo-environmental interpretative report

Contamination report

Confirmation of remediation

[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 11:17, 18 Jan 2018 (BST)

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