Last edited 17 Jan 2021

Main author

Emma Houston Other Consultant Website

Common contractor errors

This article highlights some common contractor errors which should be considered when approaching construction.


[edit] Step by step guidance

[edit] Responsible construction practices

Considerate Construction scores count and it is the last assessment which contributes to the final BREEAM assessment. This can be forgotten.

[edit] Construction site impacts

The contractor must be aware from the beginning what they are required to monitor. It is usual for all energy and water use to be monitored but transport is less common. The contractor should be informed about what needs to be in place to achieve the credit. Sometimes the required units are not provided.

Most contractors have a ISO 14001 certificate. This should be part of the contractors prelims as without an ISO 14001 one credit cannot be achieved.

Contractors may have pollution prevention policies but may not be familiar with the environmental checklist and so should have this highlighted to them as soon as possible.

All contractors should be using timber in line with the government procurement policy but sometimes there is a misunderstanding between timber used in the project and timber used on site.

[edit] Stakeholder participation

Building User guide, all contractors will be familiar with O and M manuals and can be mistaken thinking they are appropriate here. The Building User Guide requirements should be highlighted to them, they are found in the BREEAM manual. It is important that each relevant heading is addressed. This document is often left to the end of the construction and then drags on. If the guide is begun early it should not be as much of a burden at the end. There are companies available which will out a BUG together for a fee.

[edit] Indoor Air Quality

Minimising Sources of Air pollution. The architect’s specification should detail compliant products, sometimes specific products. The contractor may be unaware of the importance of the standards detailed and the effect a change could have on the BREEAM score. The contractor should be made aware that any change in product needs to still be compliant. Collection of manufacturers datasheets as the products are procured is helpful to negate a paperchase exercise at the end of the project.

[edit] Thermal Comfort

A change to window choice can mean the thermal comfort levels in the development fail. Contractors should involve the engineers in changes like this and check which BREEAM credits are being targeted.

[edit] Acoustic Performance

The acoustician will carry out calculations and make recommendations for compliance during the design. The contractor can forget that when the acoustician carries out testing at the end of construction, if the building does not pass remediation must be carried out and this is a cost. Careful consideration to the acoustician’s recommendations should help avoid this.

[edit] Energy

The contractor should be wary of changes to insulation, lighting, u-values these can have impacts on the energy model and resultant BRUKL. Energy monitoring can be queried as more metering means more of a cost. The metering provision should be checked that it meets the criteria and is not in excess of it if cost is an issue.

[edit] Water consumption

Sometimes sanitary fittings are changed without consideration to flow rate. The flow rate and flush volume is what dictates the achievement of Wat 1. Increase in volumes can mean loss of credits.

[edit] Responsible Sourcing of Materials

It is important that an exercise to determine the achievable responsible sourcing credits is carried out early and where possible with the contractors input. The contractor will likely know who will supply their materials and so the level of responsible sourcing will be known. Certificates should be collected as materials are procured to negate a paper chase at the end of the project. Credits are easily lost here because suppliers were not compliant or did not provide certification.

[edit] Waste

Overly ambitious project managers or design teams can sometimes commit to difficult waste reduction levels. If possible, the contractor should have input before commitments are made or be fully aware of the requirement in their pre-lims. There is no way to get waste credits back.

[edit] Ecology

The contractor if targeting ‘Long term impact on biodiversity’ will need to have a biodiversity champion. There are training requirements and a log book which must be carried out. If one item is not completed the credit is likely lost.

[edit] NOx Emissions

A change in plant can have a big impact on the Nox emissions. Where any change is made the calculations should carried out again.

[edit] Questions to ask while seeking compliance

Is the Contractor aware of the requirement to achieve BREEAM?

Are BREEAM requirements part of the contractor’s contract?

[edit] Tools and resources

BREEAM Manual and Knowledgebase

[edit] Tips and best practice

When the contractor has a sustainability champion or person dedicated to environmental management and BREEAM the process often runs much smoother.

[edit] Typical evidence

Formal letters – signed, dated and on headed paper

Extracts from the Pre-lims. Must be clear they are for the specific project

Policy documents

Training sign in sheets

Manufacturers literature

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)

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