Pre-demolition and pre-refurbishment audits
Funding from the BRE Trust has allowed researcher Kathryn Adams to drive resource efficiency on refurbishment and demolition projects.This piece of work aimed to build upon BRE’s existing knowledge to set out a process for completing independent pre-demolition audits and implementing the results. A further objective was to consider the scope for incorporating the resulting technical guidance within further revisions of BREEAM. This included the potential for an independent audit and a mechanism for recording what is actually achieved in comparison to the recommendations of the audit.
Pre-demolition and pre-refurbishment audits provide clients with independent advice about the products and materials that can be reused or recycled prior to demolition or major refurbishment. The client can then use this report to set targets and objectives within the demolition or refurbishment tender documents to ensure best practice in resource efficiency is adopted by the appointed contractor.
To date there has been little guidance available about how to conduct audits and this has had implications for the quality of audit work and the potential for commercial interests to influence audit outcomes.
Most audits are carried out by demolition contractors themselves in the form of a method statement. A key driver for audits is BREEAM; the Building Research Establishment’s (BRE) Environmental Assessment Method which sets best practice standards for the environmental performance of buildings through design, specification, construction and operation. An audit has to be undertaken to obtain credits relating to demolition waste management. There is an opportunity to make this part of the assessment more rigorous with clear guidance on the requirements of an audit and the procedures to follow.
This research built upon BRE’s existing knowledge to set out a process for completing independent pre-demolition audits and implementing the results. It considered the scope for incorporating the resulting technical guidance within further revisions of BREEAM. This included the potential for an independent audit and a mechanism for recording what is actually achieved in comparison to the recommendations of the audit.
Technical guidance was produced and trialed on two projects:
- The demolition of two Bradford college buildings for principal contractor BAM
- The demolition of a former retail/industrial unit for principal contractor RG Group.
The actual waste arisings and waste management routes were compared with those forecast by the audit. Overall, the comparison showed that the forecast from the audit was more detailed and more accurate than that provided by the demolition contractor. Recording of materials for reuse was poor and could have been improved if considered earlier in the project – ideally before the demolition contract was put out to tender.
BRE is working with the UK Contractors Group (UKCG) to publish the guidance which will inform their membership. An online module for recording pre-demolition/pre-refurbishment audits has been developed as an add-on to the SMARTWaste tool. The data entered via this module will be used to improve understanding of resource efficiency on demolition projects and to provide best practice guidance to the industry.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Design for deconstruction.
- Design for deconstruction, BRE modular show house.
- Design for deconstruction – helping construction unlock the benefits of the circular economy.
- How to conduct a pre-demolition audit.
- Qualitative research and the built environment.
Issue support documents
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Issue support documents are written for named BREEAM Issues or sub-issues. More info. (ac) = awaiting content.
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- BREEAM Sustainability champion
- BREEAM Environmental management
- BREEAM Considerate construction
- BREEAM Monitoring of construction site impacts
- BREEAM Aftercare support
- BREEAM Seasonal commissioning
- BREEAM Testing and inspecting building fabric
- BREEAM Life cycle cost and service life planning
- BREEAM Stakeholder consultation (ac)
- BREEAM Commissioning (ac)
- BREEAM Handover (ac)
- BREEAM Inclusive and accessible design (ac)
- BREEAM Post occupancy evaluation
 Health and Wellbeing
- BREEAM Visual comfort Daylighting (partly ac)
- BREEAM Visual comfort View out
- BREEAM Visual comfort Glare control
- BREEAM Indoor air quality plan
- BREEAM Indoor air quality Ventilation
- BREEAM Thermal comfort
- BREEAM Internal and external lighting (ac)
- BREEAM Indoor pollutants VOCs (ac)
- BREEAM Potential for natural ventilation (ac)
- BREEAM Safe containment in laboratories (ac)
- BREEAM Acoustic performance
- BREEAM Safety and security (ac)
- BREEAM Reduction of energy use and carbon emissions
- BREEAM Energy monitoring
- BREEAM External lighting
- BREEAM Low carbon design
- BREEAM Passive design
- BREEAM Free cooling
- BREEAM LZC technologies
- BREEAM Energy efficient cold storage (partly ac)
- BREEAM Energy efficient transportation systems
- BREEAM Energy efficient laboratory systems
- BREEAM Energy efficient equipment (partly ac)
- BREEAM Drying space
- BREEAM Transport assessment and travel plan
- BREEAM Public transport accessibility
- BREEAM Sustainable transport measures
- BREEAM Proximity to amenities
- BREEAM Cyclist facilities
- BREEAM Alternative modes of transport (ac)
- BREEAM Maximum car parking capacity
- BREEAM Travel plan
- BREEAM Home office (ac)
- BREEAM Water consumption
- BREEAM Water efficient equipment
- BREEAM Water monitoring
- BREEAM Water leak detection (ac)
- BREEAM Hard landscaping and boundary protection
- BREEAM Responsible sourcing of materials
- BREEAM Insulation
- BREEAM Designing for durability and resilience
- BREEAM Life cycle impacts
- BREEAM Material efficiency (ac)
- BREEAM Construction waste management
- BREEAM Recycled aggregates
- BREEAM Speculative floor & ceiling finishes
- BREEAM Adaptation to climate change
- BREEAM Operational waste
- BREEAM Functional adaptability (ac)
 Land Use and Ecology
- BREEAM Site Selection
- BREEAM Ecological value of site
- BREEAM Protection of ecological features
- BREEAM Minimising impact on existing site ecology
- BREEAM Enhancing site ecology
- BREEAM Long term impact on biodiversity (ac)
- BREEAM Impact of refrigerants
- BREEAM NOx emissions
- BREEAM Flood risk management (ac)
- BREEAM Surface water run-off (ac)
- BREEAM Reduction of night time light pollution (partly ac)
- BREEAM Reduction of noise pollution
Once an ISD has been initially created the '(ac)' marker can be removed
This particular index is based around the structure of the New Construction and RFO schemes.