We are often asked by assessors to identify the issues and credits we check during a quality assurance audit.
As with similar certification schemes, BREEAM does not notify assessors about what proportion of the requirements/issues are or have been checked; it could be all of them or just some. Over the course of a number of audits all, or a significant majority of issues will be checked and, via raising non-conformances where they are found, the assessor should gain confidence that their approach to the application of the standard is the correct one, without compromising the independence or randomised nature of the auditing process (by revealing all items checked in every audit).
Furthermore, to identify the issues audited and confirm those without non-conformities as ‘OK’ would imply that everything provided and referenced as part of that issue was being confirmed by BRE Global as compliant. This would not necessarily be the case and could pose further problems in future assessments. Finally, in the past we experienced some assessors using the QA audits as a form of ‘checking service’ and would submit assessments before they were complete and at a stage ready to be certified. This undermined the purpose of the QA audit process and contributed to delays in QA turnaround times. Maintaining the anonymity of the issues audited we feel is the best way to check that assessments have applied BREEAM in accordance with the requirements of the scheme and, in the long term, maintain the standards of assessment.
The assessor can expect the auditor to provide positive feedback regarding aspects of the assessment process that have been carried out well (within the feedback section at the beginning of the QA form). This will not be issue-specific feedback but it will draw upon examples from within the assessment being audited. We will also feedback on QA-related issues to the wider assessor network, through events like the Customer Liaison Workshop, BRE Academy webinars, the Forum and Knowledge Base. This feedback is not linked to specific assessments, but highlights trends, common issues and pitfalls identified via the QA of particular BREEAM issues, credits, criteria and evidence. This will, we hope, help assessors in evaluating their approach to credits, foster further good practice and quicker audits.