Technical queries – Submission guidance

Contents

1.0 General

2.0 Compliance

3.0 Compliance principles

4.0 Reassurance

5.0 Assessment strategy

6.0 Multiple queries

7.0 Live Chat (Technical)

8.0 Tools and systems

9.0 Specific notes for BIU assessors

 

1.0 General

1.1 The purpose of BREEAM Technical Support is to:

  • help assessors to correctly interpret the criteria
  • confirm an assessment strategy
  • resolve conflicting, incorrect, unclear or missing information in the technical guidance
  • manage and resolve issues with our tools and systems

It is the assessor’s responsibility to determine compliance. BREEAM cannot do this on behalf of the assessor.

1.2 Before submitting a technical query, please ensure that you have checked all available resources, including the technical manual, relevant Guidance Notes, the BREEAM Forum and the Knowledge Base.

1.3 If you do need to submit a query on the webform, please ensure that you select the correct Department/Area and Query Type in the form details and include details of the scheme and assessment issue.

1.4 When wording your query, please ensure that you provide a clear and concise question in the ‘Question’ field. If we are unsure what you are asking, we will be unable to provide you with a clear response.

1.5 If you need to check the progress of your enquiry, please do so by replying to the acknowledgment email you receive from our Customer Services team, which includes the QN reference. Please do not re-send your query or chase using the webform and bear in mind our target response time for the type of query submitted. These can be found here.

1.6 If you find that you no longer need an answer to your query, please let us know.

 

2.0 Compliance

2.1 BREEAM cannot confirm whether a solution meets the criteria on behalf of the assessor. To do so would conflict with the role of BRE as the certifying body for BREEAM.

2.2 We are unable to assist with the following types of question:

  • Does this approach meet the criteria?
  • Is this product BREEAM compliant? – Please refer to KBCN0925
  • Can I award the credit?
  • Does this evidence demonstrate compliance?
  • What evidence do I need to provide?

 

3.0 Compliance principles

3.1 There may be situations where the assessor believes that the intent of the criteria can be fully met by an alternative approach which does not align with the published criteria.

BREEAM can consider such submissions where they might result in a new compliance principle that can be applied to other similar assessments.

3.2 Compliance principle submissions must:

  • Be submitted on the webform under Department/Area: Technical > Query Type: Compliance Principle.
  • Be written in generic terms, so that the approach can be reviewed and potentially published and applied to all similar assessments
  • Be drafted in the form of a straightforward question or principle.

For example, ‘Building type A is required to meet criteria 1, 2 and 3. Is it acceptable to demonstrate that the intent is met by compliance with criterion 1 and meeting alternative requirements x and y’?

  • Provide detailed justification and robust evidence, to show that the proposed principle is valid.

3.3 Compliance principle queries are generally referred to subject experts in BREEAM or the wider BRE Group. These fall outside the scope of a standard technical query and may be subject to an extended response time.

Please note that if such queries are submitted under another query type or in the incorrect format, this may lead to delay.

 

4.0 Reassurance

4.1 We understand that assessors require a degree of certainty in advising their clients. However, compliance decisions and awarding credits are the responsibility of the BREEAM assessor.

4.2 We cannot answer the following query types:

  • I believe my approach is correct. Do you agree?
  • I just want to check, so this doesn’t get a non-conformance at QA. Please can you confirm?

These are effectively compliance questions (see 2.0, above)

BREEAM Technical Support is not intended as a pre-certification checking service.

 

5.0 Assessment strategy

5.1 Please do not simply submit the project information and ask BREEAM to provide you with an assessment strategy. It is the assessor’s responsibility to classify and register assessments. However, where there is no clear guidance available or if you are unsure how to proceed, we are happy to assist.

5.2 Before submitting a technical query, please ensure that you have reviewed the Scope section of the relevant manual(s).

For mixed use developments or multiple building NC and RFO assessments, please ensure that you have reviewed GN10.

5.3 Straightforward building type queries can be submitted as a simple question. For example,

  • Question: How do I register and assess a police station with no holding cells?
  • Answer: Offices

For more complex scheme classification queries, please provide us with your proposed assessment strategy and highlight any areas of doubt or concern.

Please include clearly labelled floor or site plans that are relevant to your question and reference these in your submission.

 

6.0 Multiple queries

6.1 If you have multiple related queries which all depend on resolving a single aspect of the assessment, these can be accepted in a single submission.

6.2 We will not accept multiple, unrelated queries in the same submission.

 

7.0 Live Chat (Technical)

For further details and availability, please see https://tools.breeam.com/projects/assessorsupporthome.jsp

7.1 The Live Chat service is intended for simple questions and must not be used to submit complex queries, which may require research or discussion with other team members.

7.2 This service is currently available for questions relating to BREEAM New Construction, RFO and BIU standards or general technical issues.

7.3 Please do not share your BREEAM Projects account or use someone else’s account. Live Chat is intended for licensed assessors only.

7.4 The Live Chat platform is not connected to our query management system. It should not be used to chase a response to a webform query. Please refer to Section 1.0.

7.5 Repeating a query in Live Chat that you have already submitted on the webform, without disclosing this, will result in duplication and unnecessary work for our team. This will be considered as a ‘mis-use of the service’.

Please refer to: KBCN1002 BREEAM Live Chat – Terms of use

 

8.0 Tools and systems

8.1 Please note, these cannot generally be resolved in the Live Chat service.

8.2 Before submitting a query, please ensure that:

  • The problem is not due to your own virus protection, firewall, cache or other organisational system-related issues.
  • You have correctly understood the criteria and how the tool is intended to work.
  • You have checked all available resources (see 1.0 above).
  • You have entered all the required information into the tool correctly and in the correct format.
  • You have addressed any error message pop-ups.

8.3 When submitting a query, please include the following, as appropriate:

  • the offline Excel calculator
  • BREEAM assessment registration number or AST/PRY number for BREEAM In-Use
  • whole display screenshots
  • a detailed description of the issue including the time/date (inc. timezone) the issue occurred

8.4 Tool errors may take some time to resolve. Please allow time for these to be investigated and resolved before you need to submit your assessment.

 

9.0 Specific notes for BIU assessors

Whilst it is not currently mandatory for BIU assessors to use a ‘webform’ to submit technical queries, we do require that the principles outlined in this guidance are followed, when composing technical queries.

9.1 With reference to section 1.3, please ensure you include the ‘scheme version’ and ‘assessment issue’ in the subject header, e.g. BIU V6 C – Ene 01

9.2 With reference to section 1.4, in addition to any supporting or background information, please ensure that you provide a clear and concise question.

9.3 With reference to section 3.2, for such queries, please include the scheme version, assessment issue and ‘Compliance principle’ in the subject header of your query.

9.4 With reference to section 5.0, please include ‘Assessment strategy’ in the subject header.

 

01 Dec 2022 - Section 9.0 Specific notes for BIU assessors added
28 Nov 2022 - Minor updates/clarifications
Temporary Note: Sections 1.4 and 3.2 refer to features of the webform that are currently under development.