Last edited 28 Feb 2018

Main author

Emma Houston Other Consultant Website

BREEAM Visual comfort View out


[edit] Aim and benefits

To allow occupants to refocus their eyes from close work and enjoy an external view, thus reducing the risk of eyestrain and breaking the monotony of the indoor environment.

Where close work is being carried out the availability of a view out provides opportunity for the eyes to relax and readjust.

[edit] When to consider

RIBA stages 1 - 2

[edit] Step by step guidance

Areas within 7m of a window should be identified.

It should be checked that the area of the relevant window(s) is greater than or equal to 20% of the surrounding wall. If so then the area within 7m of that window is compliant.

Permanent workstations, desks, receptions, anywhere a building user will be located for a significant amount of time (e.g. more than 30 mins), and carrying out work, should be located within these compliant areas. Windows or room depth could be adjusted to allow compliance.

Areas which are greater than 7m from a window can still comply but BS8206 (BS 8206-2:2008 Lighting for buildings. Code of Practice for daylighting) should be consulted. Table 1 ‘Minimum glazed areas for view when windows are restricted to one wall’ of this document provides a range of percentages for the window of the wall depending on how far away the desk is. If the percentage is greater than 35% the area will comply no matter the depth.

The view out should be visible from a seated position unless a person would be expected to be standing at the workstation.

For 2014 assessments 95% of the floor area of the relevant building areas needs to comply to achieve the credit. For 2014 prison cells and patient occupied areas must have a view out that is not obstructed by something closer than 10m away.

[edit] Questions to ask while seeking compliance

What is the room depth?

Where are permanent workstations?

How big are the windows?

[edit] Tools and resources

BREEAM manual

BS 8206-2:2008 Lighting for buildings. Code of Practice for daylighting

[edit] Tips and best practice

The following areas are excluded (see manual):

1. Nurse bases where they are located centrally in a ward/patient area in order to enable patient observation.

2. Courtrooms and interview rooms where compliance is not possible due to security or privacy criteria.

3. Prison staff areas containing workstations that for security or observational purposes must be located centrally within the building.

4. Any clinical areas where the control of environmental/operational conditions prevents such spaces from providing a view out.

5. Conference rooms, lecture theatres, sports halls, acute SEN and also any spaces where the exclusion or limitation of natural light is a functional requirement e.g. laboratories, media spaces, etc.

[edit] Typical evidence

[edit] Design stage

Design drawings showing room depth and permanent work stations.

Design drawings showing window sizes and location.

Window area calculations carried out by a design team member.

[edit] Post construction

As built drawings showing the room depth and permanent work stations

Confirmation from design team if there were any changes to window sizes or locations.

Assessors site inspection, room depth and location of work stations with windows.

[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.

  • List applicable schemes here

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 11:16, 18 Jan 2018 (BST)