Volume Approach – Site visit requirements

This guidance applies only to assessments for clients who have entered into a formal agreement with BRE to enter the Volume Approach.

The aim of the Volume Approach is to assist clients with large numbers of assets, and their assessors, to conduct assessments in a robust manner, whilst also taking a practical view. From the clients’ assets that have entered the process, BRE will identify which assets may undertake a virtual site visit.

The assets and their assessments cannot be new to the BREEAM In-Use process and must be identified and communicated to BRE prior to undertaking the site visits.

The requirements of the virtual site visits are as follows:

Gathering evidence for site assessments:

In cases where BRE has identified an asset can undergo a virtual site visit, the assessor is not required to personally visit or gain access to the site, they can use the following methods:

  1. Appoint a suitable individual, for example a main contractor or asset manager, to undertake a formal site assessment on their behalf. The appointed individual would be expected to provide a robust account to the assessor of evidence in place of their own site assessment report. We would expect the report to contain photographs and/or virtual tour stills from the building and be signed off by both the appointed individual and assessor.
  2. For assessment issues relating to external spaces beyond the site, we will accept stills/images from Google Street View (or equivalent), provided it is demonstrated that such evidence is current.
  3. Desk-based evidence will be accepted where evidence demonstrates that the criteria are being met as far as possible without a site assessment.

It is important to note that where one of the above 3 options has been selected, the assessor is responsible for assessing the evidence and for the awarding of any credits.

Timing of workshops, testing and other subsidiary evidence submissions:

Given the widespread availability of remote communication technologies, it is generally possible to undertake the majority of activities relating to our assessment criteria without the need for face-to-face contact or site assessments. With respect to workshops, the key consideration is that they take place at a time when they have a meaningful impact and achieve the aim of the criteria.

With respect to subsidiary, third party assessments such as ecological site inspections or audits, desktop surveys based on available information (e.g. planning surveys, agent’s reports, photographs, Google Earth), can be used as an alternative provided there is enough material for a confident recommendation and/or outcome to be achieved.