Introduction to BREEAM

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method) is the world's first sustainability rating scheme for the built environment and has contributed much to the strong focus in the UK on sustainability in building design, construction and use. BREEAM is now an international standard that is locally adapted, operated and applied through a network of international operators, assessors and industry professionals. Through its application and use BREEAM helps clients measure and reduce the environmental impacts of their buildings and in doing so create higher value, lower risk assets.

To date, BREEAM has been used to certify over 590,000 building assessments across the building life cycle and it is being applied in over 85 countries.

Aims of BREEAM

Objectives of BREEAM

BREEAM is developed and operated to meet the following underlying principles:

The aims, objectives and principles of BREEAM are embodied within a Core Technical Standard owned and managed by BRE Global. This is applied through a suite of BREEAM schemes covering aspects of the built environment life cycle. These schemes are locally developed and operated by a number of different organisations, called National Scheme Operators (NSOs), across a range of countries.

For a full list of BREEAM NSOs and schemes visit the BREEAM website (

The BREEAM schemes

BRE Global is the NSO of BREEAM in the UK. We develop and operate a number of BREEAM schemes for the UK and internationally, each designed to assess the environmental performance of developments at various stages in the life cycle, and these include:

Independent BREEAM Assessors, trained, qualified and licensed by BRE Global can undertake a BREEAM assessment using this scheme document and associated reporting and calculation tools.

Once an assessment is complete and quality assured BRE Global will issue a BREEAM certificate. The BREEAM certificate provides formal verification that the Assessor has completed an assessment of a building in accordance with the requirements of the scheme and its quality standards and procedures.

A BREEAM certificate provides assurance to any interested party that a building's BREEAM rating, at the time of certification, accurately reflects its performance against the BREEAM standard.

Anyone wishing to verify the BREEAM rating of a building can do so by either checking its BREEAM certificate, which will contain the certification mark, (see Figure 1) or by searching the BREEAM buildings listings on BREEAM Projects ( Examples of a BREEAM New Construction certificate can be found in Appendix F – Examples of BREEAM New Construction certificates.

Sample of the BREEAM certification mark

Figure 1: The BREEAM certification mark

Ensuring quality and consistency

All BREEAM schemes are developed and operated by NSOs in accordance with the Code for a Sustainable Built Environment. The Code for a Sustainable Built Environment is a set of strategic principles and requirements which define an integrated approach to the design, management, evaluation and certification of the environmental, social and economic impacts of the built environment.

The Code is interpreted through the BREEAM Core Process and Technical Standards. These linked documents set out the requirements that a compliant scheme must meet in order to be affiliated with the Code. The Standards ensure that a common scientific and performance basis is used by all compliant schemes operated by NSOs, while ensuring that these are relevant to local demands, standards and practices.

To ensure competence, impartiality and performance capability, all National Scheme Operators are required to maintain scheme operations to internationally agreed standards and seek accreditation from a national accreditation body.

BRE Global is a United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited certification body (No. 0007). The scope of our accreditation to ISO/IEC 17065 ‘Conformity assessment - Requirements for bodies certifying products, processes and services’ can be verified on the UKAS website, and includes BREEAM Scheme SD123 ‘Environmental assessments of the built environment – certification of the process’.

BRE Global is also certified to ISO 9001 ‘Quality management systems – Requirements’ for all its BREEAM related activities.

As an accredited certification body, BRE Global maintains an open and accountable governance structure.

BREEAM operates a series of Technical Working Groups, these provide BRE Global with access to a range of experts that can review BRE Global's standards and schemes to ensure their robustness from a scientific, technical and market perspective as well as ensuring the development of the standards and schemes is open to greater external and independent scrutiny.