Last edited 17 Apr 2018

Design team perception of the BREEAM standard

Contents

[edit] Benefits of BREEAM

Real benefits can be seen if the Design Team have a favourable Perception of the BREEAM Standard. Projects which seek higher BREEAM certification, for example BREEAM Excellent, will appoint BREEAM AP at an early stage in the project to guide them through the BREEAM process. This contact between the BREEAM AP and Design Team can assist in Project Team collaboration and streamline the Assessment process.

[edit] Perception

[edit] Box ticking

  • BREEAM can be seen as an aside rather than an integral part of the design process. This is perhaps reinforced by the main focus often being on the Assessor rather than the AP. Indeed, even appointing an AP can be seen as a “box ticking exercise” rather than helping the DT create a more sustainable project. Perhaps this can be compared to the old joke where the barman asks the customer whether he wants a tray for their drinks and he replies, “don’t you think I’ve already got enough to carry?” BREEAM ought to be seen as the tray helping the DT carry the project instead of “yet another thing to carry”.
  • The design team generally sees BREEAM as a planning requirement. As Home Quality Mark (HQM) the residential equivalent to BREEAM, is not mandatory client's generally never take an interest in subscribing to an HQM scheme. The perception is that BREEAM adds to the cost.
  • Clients see BREEAM as a box ticking exercise and find it hard to see the value for their development and it doesn’t help when the QA and evidence requirements are so pedantic, we’ve had to drop credits where the client has essentially achieved the credit but the document has been done too late or misses one of the BREEAM requirements e.g. travel plan doesn’t quite tick all the boxes.
  • There is usually a misconception that the design team believes BREEAM is simply a checklist exercise. It is critical to engage the design team early on to ensure that they understand the complexity of the Standard and that it can add significant richness to the project’s design if discussed with the design team (and other relevant stakeholders) from day one.

[edit] Quality Assurance Procedures

  • Negative perception can be hard to change when requirements/ QA feedback are pedantic.

[edit] Duplication of Requirements

  • There is often duplication of documents/ work which is not very welcome by the team i.e. stakeholder consultation in the design team always happens, and inputs obviously influence the design process, but providing evidence is time consuming. The whole process is perceived as too academic and often not aligned to practice.
  • We sometimes find that design teams see some items as a “BREEAM” thing and therefore it is only benefiting the BREEAM process rather than being something that would be good for the building and the occupants. An example is thermal comfort, and the benefit of utilising modelling to determine if there would be any issues now and to future-proof the building, by ensuring that the building provides a good thermally comfortable environment for occupants. Or metering - when metering requirements are based on those set out in the Building Standards.
  • Lots of additional work that requires particular documentation that wouldn't otherwise be required for a project e.g. materials efficiency can be demonstrated on any project but wouldn't necessarily be documented formally and as such creates a paper exercise that can be viewed negatively

[edit] Innovation

  • One item that we find hard to justify with a client is the innovation credits. Sometimes a client has carried out a successful innovation on a project (project A) which rendered this development more sustainable. However, the client (or design team) cannot learn from that innovation and apply it again (on Project B) as it would not be given any recognition by the BRE in the credits assessment.
  • Applied for innovation credits are almost impossible to convince a client to go for because of the cost to apply for them. It may be that another un-connected project has already applied for the same or similar innovation; although there is a list of some successful innovations not all have been published. The perception for the potential of an applied for innovation to be rejected is too great for most Clients to consider.

[edit] Misconceptions

[edit] Criteria Selection

  • Criteria selection is done by AP/ Assessors; based on the investment cost and “easiest job to get the certificate” (devaluing the certification only to the paperwork, I've seen this in other pre-assessments several times, generally it's a hard job to explain to the design team, client.
  • Working with the BREEAM international technical manuals the design team members often comment that the manual is not applicable for the local conditions. We then need to explain the local weighting and standards and that we can comment on new manuals before they are published.

[edit] Inconsistencies/ Rationale

[edit] Same Credit, Different Standard

[edit] Credit Rationale, Inflexible Requirements

  • It is hard to justify the rationale of some of the credits. For example, an existing tree needs to be removed (one tree in a very large site) however this can lead to losing BREEAM credits, despite the client proposing to plant more replacement trees instead.

--Multiple Authored Article 11:56, 17 Apr 2018 (BST)