Home Quality Mark
Information correct as of 2ndDecember 2021. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.
’02 Approved Document Q compliance’ - KBCN1277
Where a development in Wales registered on or after after the 1 November 2018 complies with the new Approved Document Q for Wales, the minimum requirement in '02 Approved Document Q compliance' can be deemed to have been met.
Where this is the case, when completing an assessment in BREEAM Projects, select 'yes' to 'Approved document Q compliance' and in the comments part please add that it is Approved Document Q for Wales that has been complied with.
‘Safe pedestrian routes’ – Definition and note - KBCN1481
The note below, found within the 'Safe pedestrian routes' definition, has been corrected. Please refer to the bold text within the note and corrections below:
'Pedestrian routes that are outside of the development site and therefore not within the control of the developer do not need to meet the above requirements. However it must be demonstrated that there is a pedestrian route, which is not shared with vehicular traffic, from the site boundary to the transport node (for example via pavements, footpaths, pedestrian crossings). The route shall be signposted.'
'the transport node' should be replaced with 'any relevant amenities recognised within this Issue'.
'The route shall be signposted.' should be replaced with 'The route should be appropriately signposted within the development boundary'
00 Test Note – please ignore - KBCN1100
This is a test note only. If there are no other compliance notes below this one it simply means that none exist yet for this issue.
29 Construction Energy Use & 30 Construction Water Use – Weekly reporting - KBCN1387
03 Detailed monitoring and reporting
crit 3 Conduct the monitoring and reporting of data in crit 2 on a weekly basis.
The reason to ask for data recorded on a weekly basis, is to collect much more granular data which can be potentially overlaid with the project plan. By undertaking this it would enable the construction team to better understand the most energy intensive processes which could be targeted with energy efficiency measures.
29 Construction Energy Use & 30 Construction Water Use -Methodology - KBCN1386
Criterion 3 in both of the above categories states that the meter reading and reporting should be done on a weekly basis however, in step 2 of the Water monitoring and reporting methodology it states:-
“Check the frequency of monitoring the contractor wishes to maintain throughout the project to ascertain eligibility for crit 3 above.”
What this means, is that whichever frequency of monitoring and reporting the contractor wishes to do for the duration of the project, to be eligible for crit 3, they have to be made aware that weekly monitoring and reporting is required to obtain crit 3 credits. This will be required to be shown as evidence.
Access to HQM Logos, Marks and Badges - KBCN0995
All licensed HQM assessors should have access to the HQM ‘Logos, Marks and Badges Folder’ via BREEAM Projects
Accessible and adaptable design in Scotland - KBCN1278
For the purpose of criterion 4, developments in Scotland can demonstrate compliance by meeting the requirements of the local equivalent standard, as referenced within the relevant clauses in Section 3: Environment and Section 4 Safety of the Building Standards technical handbook 2017: domestic buildings. Where higher requirements have been set by the local authority, the home meets those requirements.
Accuracy of life cycle cost projections - KBCN1295
The aim of LCC credits is to encourage homebuilders into identifying enhanced and value-added design and specification to improve the overall quality of the building stock. The design appraisals can help improve upon the design and specification selection should initial projections be too high. HQM LCC credits are not intended to be used for comparison between developments, given the differences in assumptions made in each appraisal. With the introduction of this credit into the HQM, it is expected that projections on durability of elements/ components and forecast for maintenance and operation will improve industry knowledge. This will also encourage transparency in the industry and this credit aims to encourage knowledge-transfer of best practice.
Adding rows to the Energy Reporting tool - KBCN1441
After entering the first product, fill out the row beneath it with the details of another product and a row will automatically be added.
Aftercare Support fees - KBCN0991
To comply with the remote or on-site support criteria, there needs to be a guarantee that the support will definitely be available to occupants of the assessed home, which means it cannot be an optional feature that could be opted out of. This is to ensure credits are only awarded for homes that will have the level of support required, in practice.
If the support is provided as part of the development’s management fees, the costs of the support being provided needs to be communicated to occupants in a transparent way (e.g. via an itemised summary of the fees). This is to ensure occupants know what support is available and what they are paying for.
Air conditioning and cooling - KBCN0373
Energy used for air conditioning and cooling systems should not be included when assessing NOx emissions.
Aligning with other relevant requirements - KBCN1320
If existing solutions conflict with requirements for the Aftercare criteria but it is believed that the criteria intent is being met, please contact BRE Global for consideration.
Alternative certification schemes LZCTs options - KBCN1314
Where Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) or CHPQA certification is not available, the design team must investigate the availability of alternative accreditation schemes in line with the Directives listed in the LZCT definition of the Decentralised Energy issue, or an equivalent country or regional directive or standard. Where an alternative accreditation scheme exists it should be used for the purpose of verifying compliance of the specified LZCT. If no alternative accreditation scheme exists, the design team must demonstrate they have investigated the competence of the installer selected to install the LZCT and are confident that they have the skill and competence to install the technology appropriately.
Amenities – Pharmacy within hospital - KBCN0321
A publicly accessible pharmacy would typically be required in order to constitute a suitable amenity. If it can be confirmed that an internal pharmacy (in Northern Ireland this may also include an onsite controlled medical dispensary) will provide prescribed medicines for building users, this is acceptable.
Applicability of HQM to holiday homes or refurbished homes - KBCN0865
To be able to achieve a HQM rating, the following conditions must be met:
- the home is a new-build, self-contained residential unit
- the home is classed as AD L1A under Building Regulations
- a building warranty that fits the requirements in crit1 of the Aftercare issue is available
Appropriately qualified professional – multiple people - KBCN0864
The appropriately qualified professional role can be fulfilled by more than one person, for the purposes of the Quality Control criteria in the Quality Improvement assessment issue.
The main intention of these credits is to ensure the outcomes outlined in the criteria are fulfilled by an appropriate person throughout the project. It is recognised that this will often require input from multiple people given the range of responsibilities and the competencies outlined in the appropriately qualified professional definition.
Appropriately Qualified Professional and BREEAM Accredited Professional - KBCN0852
A BREEAM AP does not automatically meet all aspects of the 'appropriately qualified professional' role defined under the Quality improvement issue.
HQM assessors are currently the only people recognised as fulfilling the HQM knowledge and experience aspect of the ‘appropriately qualified professional’ role, for the purposes of this issue.
However, this role can be fulfilled by more than one person. The main intention of these credits is to ensure the outcomes outlined in the criteria are fulfilled by an appropriate person throughout the project. It is recognised that this will often require input from multiple people given the range of responsibilities and the competencies outlined in the appropriately qualified professional definition.
Approved software XML outputs - KBCN0848
Some technical issues within HQM require files from external software to be uploaded to BREEAM Projects in order to generate credits.
These files are only valid where they have been produced using software that has been approved by BRE Global. Please visit Greenbook Live or contact the technical team for information on approved software.
Where a required software is not listed as approved , the software provider would need to gain approved status from BRE Global before it can be used to assess an HQM registered project.
Assessing overheating risk in homes – TM59 - KBCN0892
CIBSE TM59 can be used to demonstrate compliance with the requirements in HQM's Temperature issue, where CIBSE Guide A and CIBSE TM52 are referred to in the Temperature issue.
This is to recognise the most up to date methodology relating to the assessment of homes, which builds on and refers to relevant parts of standards referred to in the Temperature issue.
Assessing the roof of a car park that forms the ground floor of the assessed building - KBCN00080
The ground floor of the building above the car park should be assessed as an 'upper floor slab'.
For the purposes of Mat 01 the ground floor slab, which is not assessed, is considered to be the floor which is in contact with the ground.
HQM - Applies to HQM's Environmental Impact from Construction Products assessment issue.
Assessment of multi-phase projects - KBCN0432
Where a project will be designed and built in two or more phases, the following rule should be applied:
If there is enough information on multiple phases to enable the design stage assessment to be carried out at the same time, it is possible to assess these phases at the design stage in one assessment. At this point you have a choice - either wait for those phases to be constructed before doing one post-construction assessment for the whole project, or do a post-construction stage assessment for each phase.
Please note that if you do separate post-construction stage assessments (PCRs), this will require your original registration to be split into the number of phases. A new registration fee applies for any additional registrations, and an additional certification fee will also apply for any additional post-construction stage certificates.
18/10/2016: edited to remove the condition for overlapping phases
Associate membership of the Institute of Acoustics - KBCN00064
Associate membership of the Institute of Acoustics (IOA) is not sufficient to demonstrate that the individual is a member of an appropriate professional body, to meet the requirements of a suitably qualified acoustician (SQA).
The following is stated on the IOA website about Associate Membership; 'this class of membership is aimed primarily at persons who have obtained the appropriate academic qualifications for the grade of Member but who do not (yet) have the relevant period of experience in the profession for the grade of Member.'
13/01/2020 Wording clarified and confirmed applicability to Issue Pol 05
06/01/2020 Clarification that this applies to BREEAM UK NC2018
Balcony is an irregular shape - KBCN1391
Where the balcony is not of a standard rectangular shape, this is acceptable as long as it is of a sufficient size to accommodate a small table and sufficient number of chairs for each occupant. This needs to evidenced in the HQM assessment.
Additionally, where private space credits are awarded, the HQM assessor must be satisfied that the proposed balcony is in keeping with the aim and benefits of the issue for the occupants of the home.
batch upload of HQM SAP XMLS - KBCN1428
There is a bulk HQM SAP xml upload feature at the start of an HQM assessment within the BREEAM Projects tool within the 'Homes' section.
BREEAM AP and BREEAM assessor – conflict of interest - KBCN0196
An individual can be appointed as a BREEAM/HQM Assessor and BREEAM AP/Sustainability Champion for the same project (assuming that the individual is qualified in both of these roles). If this route is chosen, it must be made clear when submitting the assessment that both roles are being carried out by the same person and confirmed how potential conflicts of interest are identified and managed. This will mean, when appropriate, that the assessment can be escalated to a more detailed level of quality assurance checking.
Bristol Transport Access Level (BrisTAL) - KBCN1426
The Bristol Transport Access Level (BrisTAL) method provides a way of measuring the level of public transport connectivity within the city of Bristol. It is derived from the Public Transport Accessibility Level (PTAL) approach used by Transport for London. As such, the ‘Access Index (AI)’ output from BrisTAL can be used as evidence of compliance against the BREEAM and HQM Accessibility Index requirements. Please note that project teams must ensure that they use the latest version of BrisTAL, which is available here: https://maps.bristol.gov.uk/pinpoint/
Broken chain of custody for legally harvested timber - KBCN1321
The Government website referred to in the ‘Legally harvested and traded timber’ definition in the Responsible sourcing issue, provides the necessary guidance for demonstrating compliance with the prerequisite for this issue, which follows the Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET) report on the UK Government Timber Procurement Policy.
The ‘Timber Procurement Advice Note (TPAN)’ provides a checklist (Annex E) for evidence of certified timber (category A evidence). You can find this here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/timber-procurement-advice-note-tpan-comply-with-tpp
Annex F of this document gives further guidance if the supplier isn’t directly certified and there is a broken chain of custody. It notes that ‘As soon as ownership of products is taken by a non-CoC-certificate holder, the products cease to be 'certified'. However, if the evidence is credible, you can make a claim of legal or sustainably sourced products.
Building assessed as part of a larger development - KBCN1313
Where the building under assessment forms part of a larger development and either a new or existing low or zero Carbon technology (LZCT) installation is provided for the whole site, then the amount of LZCT energy generation counted for in this issue, and subsequent CO2 emissions saved, should be proportional to the building’s energy consumption compared to the total energy consumption for the site.
Building warranty for developer managed homes - KBCN0673
The mandatory requirement for a compliant building warranty is still applicable where the developer is responsible for managing the home after construction, even if they have their own internal processes for assuring support to the occupants.
Although internal processes may be in place to protect the occupant, there is limited guarantee that this protection will be in place for the duration of time that a recognised warranty lasts for (e.g. if the development is sold). Warranties from providers that comply with the Consumer Code for Home Builders or the Trading Standards Institute, benefit from a minimum level of occupant protection and support that is assured by independent third parties. This level of support is fundamental to the credibility of HQM assessed homes.
If a specific scenario is present that cannot meet this requirement or provides the same (or better) level of support, please submit a technical query with documentary evidence for further review.
Calculating average plan depth for HQM Temperature Tool - KBCN0891
The average plan depth is calculated by measuring, for each room, the distance from the window nearest to the centre of the room. Then calculate the total distance for all rooms and divide this by the number of rooms. The following should also be taken into account:
There is an element of discretion in terms of calculating this and common sense should be applied to ensure that room depth is being calculated correctly, keeping in mind that this aspect is about determining the rooms ability to circulate air as part of managing high temperatures.
Generally speaking, the average plan depth only becomes an issue for homes with relatively deep rooms and it does not tend to be a problem in the majority of cases, for the purposes of the HQM temperature tool.
The HQM temperature outputs help to determine homes that are less likely to be at risk of overheating in summer months. It is not a design tool and efforts should be applied to reduce risk wherever possible (e.g. appropriate use of ventilation and thermal modelling).
- If the room is a straightforward parallelogram, the ‘centre’ of the room can be considered the midpoint between a line perpendicular to the midpoint of the external wall with the window and the opposite wall.
- If the room is more complicated, a point marked visually (by eye) is acceptable where the plans are provided as evidence.
- Alternatively, the centroid of the floor plan polygon can be calculated mathematically if the calculations are also submitted.
- Only the window nearest to the centre is considered, for each wall.
- Roof lights should not considered.
CHP NOx emission conversion - KBCN0592
If the CHP manufacturer cannot provide the NOx emissions in mg/kWh it is not possible to award any credits. The CHP manufacturer must provide the NOx emissions in mg/kWh, the conversion factors provided in the Technical Manual can only be used for boilers.
Clarification of ‘CN1 Flexible design options’ - KBCN0917
In homes where there are no partition walls, excluding ones that separate the bathroom(s) from the rest of home, it is possible to meet the '02 flexible design' criteria by meeting the requirements of the nationally described space standard.
Classifying lines of trees not part of a continuous hedge - KBCN1333
Lines of trees (where not part of a continuous hedge) should be considered as an area-based habitat, rather than a linear habitat. Please see the ‘Individual Trees and Lines of Trees’ section in Guidance Note 36 for details on calculating this.
Appendix A of GN36 version 0.0 implies the opposite, however this is an error and will be corrected in future updates.
Commissioning certificates – evidence - KBCN1311
Certificates demonstrating compliance with any relevant standards are acceptable for the commissioning criteria, where they cover all the systems referred to in the criteria (hot water, heating, ventilation etc.) and any relevant commissioning best practice guidance has been complied with.
The ‘commissioning best practice guidance’ outlines how to carry out commissioning for various different systems that may be present. Some of the guidance is more appropriate for complex systems and often won’t be relevant. The person or persons carrying out the commissioning activities is expected to be familiar enough with the standards referenced, to determine the ones that are relevant to the systems they are commissioning.
Communal refuse chutes – Apartments over five storeys - KBCN1108
For apartments over five storeys where communal chutes are being used, these should be compliant with BS 1703:2005 Refuse chutes and hoppers – waste should be carried no more than 30m from the home entrance (excluding vertical distance).
Communal space requirements- Public Parks - KBCN0844
Public parks cannot contribute to the communal space area requirements for crit 3.
Crit1 under this issue awards credits for having access to public recreational space. Including public recreation spaces in the communal space calculations would therefore lead to double counting.
Communal ventilation system - KBCN1388
A communal ventilation system is acceptable as long as it meets the requirements in the HQM manual.
In terms of maintenance, if it is not possible for the home occupants to carry out system maintenance themselves due to the type of system installed we would need a statement from the professional designing the system stating this. Instead, any specified ventilation system requiring maintenance must be designed to allow building services engineers to easily complete the work in a safe manner in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and any other safety regulations, to prevent systems becoming redundant or being unable to function to their designed intention.
Comparison between Code for Sustainable Homes (CfSH) and Home Quality Mark (HQM) - KBCN0672
It is difficult to draw comparisons between Code for sustainable homes (CfSH) and Home Quality Mark (HQM) schemes as it is not a like for like comparison. Although in principle CfSH and HQM seem similar in terms of some of the technical areas they consider, fundamentally their approaches and structures are very different. For example, specific technical content is very different and HQM is much more flexible as a scheme with only one mandatory requirement, which is important as a voluntary scheme. The outputs are also very different with any star rating considered as 'better' than minimum standards. The indicator scores within HQM also allow value to be drawn out from dwellings to a deeper level, while using a language that is consumer friendly.
We will be looking at doing a more thorough comparison to help with the transition between CfSH and HQM. This is expected to include case studies on projects that are using both schemes, to see how they compare; we will look to publish a few potential case studies in the near future.
Compliance Note CN3 ‘Cycle route’ clarification - KBCN0845
Shared cyclist routes referred to in Point 3 under CN3 ' Cycle route' relate to two way low flow cycle routes.
Where these are shared with pedestrian routes , a minimum width of 3m is required.
Compliance: Applicability of criteria to subsequent schemes’ versions - KBCN0554
When assessing a project under a certain scheme, criteria or compliance notes from a previous scheme cannot be used to demonstrate compliance.
Compliance: Applicability of criteria to scheme’s previous versions - KBCN0430
Criteria set for a scheme version are not applicable retrospectively to previous versions.
Compliance: Conflicts of interest for the BREEAM assessor - KBCN0107
The assessor can be someone within the design team or work for the same company as the design team member(s) but the assessor must identify and manage any potential conflicts of interest. The assessor should also make BRE Global aware of the situation so that, should it prove appropriate, the certification report can be escalated to a more detailed level of quality assurance checking.
If the assessor is a member of the company who are producing evidence to demonstrate compliance, there must be clear separation of the roles and the BREEAM/HQM assessor must not be personally responsible for producing such evidence.
BREEAM/HQM is a 3rd party certification scheme. Therefore, it is important to avoid any conflicts of interest between those producing evidence and those awarding credits to ensure the robustness of the certification process.
Compliance: Manufacturer/supplier does not comply - KBCN0571
Where equipment is required to meet specific criteria to achieve compliance it is important to ensure the client seeks out manufacturers/suppliers that provide equipment which meets these criteria. If the chosen product / supplier cannot meet the criteria then the credit cannot be awarded.
BREEAM seeks to recognise the use of equipment which offers the latest sustainable solutions.
Compliance: Statutory requirements - KBCN0395
BREEAM is an assessment method which promotes best practice in sustainable buildings.
Matters critical to health and safety, as well as any mandatory requirements from statutory authorities which conflict with BREEAM criteria may take precedence over BREEAM requirements. In this instance, evidence would be required to demonstrate that this is the case.
Note, this does not change the criteria requirements, and where BREEAM requirements are not met the design team must explore alternative options or specifications if the relevant credits are to be awarded.
17/04/18 Wording amended to clarify
Compliant test body – alternative compliance route using a Suitably Qualified Acoustician - KBCN1412
Where acoustic testing and measurement has not been performed by an organisation or individual that meets the definition of a compliant test body, compliance with this requirement can still be demonstrated where a Suitably Qualified Acoustician has reviewed the relevant test report(s).
The test report must:
a) Be countersigned or authorised by a Suitably Qualified Acoustician
b) Include a clear statement that the acoustic testing and measurements have been carried out in accordance with the BREEAM or HQM testing requirements
c) Include evidence that the verifier meets the definition for a Suitably Qualified Acoustician within the relevant BREEAM or HQM technical manual
Composting waste - KBCN0827
Composting waste does not need to be included within the internal waste facilities for purposes of crit 2 and 3. This is dealt separately within crit 5.
Connection during handover not possible - KBCN1319
Where it is not possible for occupants to have access to broadband, telecommunications, TV or data services, when moving in, due to unavoidable delays, temporary measures need to be taken to ensure occupants are given temporary access until full connection is available (e.g. via dongles). This needs to be agreed between the developer, network infrastructure provider and internet service provider where applicable.
Construction inspections and record evidence for homes - KBCN1284
For design stage, something like a clear policy and commitment should be acceptable as long as it shows that it will cover the scope of checks in the inspections and completion issue and any other relevant criteria.
For post-construction stage, it is appreciated that although evidence should be thorough, too much detail may not always be helpful or feasible.
Evidence does not need to show every detailed check made but it does need to show that these checks have been made for every assessed home. The purpose of the minimum requirements for 'construction inspections' and 'construction record' is to ensure consumers can trust HQM-certified homes have been built and finished to a high standard, which is essential to the value of HQM.
With this in mind, a sample should be acceptable to show the detailed checks carried out for the construction record criteria as long as evidence also shows that the same checks are being made for every single home being assessed (this could be in a more summarised format).
In particular, occupants need to have access to the full construction records for their own particular home if they want it and evidence needs to show that all homes have been checked to the extent required for the construction inspections minimum requirement (see relevant criteria in the manual).
In general, we try to make evidence requirements flexible and not overly prescriptive wherever possible, particularly for issues with new content like this one. This is to avoid the unnecessary generation of evidence for the sole purpose of HQM and to recognise existing evidence sources that are available, which can be provided in various formats. As the assessor, you need to be satisfied that the evidence supplied sufficiently demonstrates that the aims of these criteria are being met. The format of evidence is flexible as long as it clearly demonstrates the outcome for each criterion is being met in practice.
Contractor not yet appointed at the design stage - KBCN000002
Where the contractor has not been engaged at the design stage certification, it is acceptable to award the credits based on a commitment. This commitment must be from a suitable member of the design team, and must detail the targets and criteria which must be met. Evidence must also confirm that the details in the commitment will form part of the contractual requirements.
Converting energy consumption into kWh/annum from new EU energy labels - KBCN1462
To convert the energy consumption from new EU energy labels into kWh/annum, the following guidance should be followed:
Dishwasher: multiply kWh/100 cycles figure on EU energy label by 2.08 to get kWh/annum
Washing machines and washer dryers: multiply kWh/100 cycles figure on EU energy label by 2.2 to get kWh/annum
Ovens: multiply kWh/cycle figure on EU energy label by 286 to get kWh/annum
Cost of undertaking an HQM Assessment - KBCN0846
Currently there aren't any case studies on costs associated with undertaking HQM assessments. This is something we expect to become available once more projects have gone through the HQM process.
As with other schemes within the BREEAM family, costs will partly depend on the targeted rating. A one star home represents a home that is better than one that meets the minimum requirements set by building regulations and a five star rating is an outstanding development that goes well beyond standard practice, as with BREEAM.
The BRE Global fees (current - May'16 and new -valid from 1st Jul'17 ) for HQM registrations and certifications is available on BREEAM Projects under BRE Global Fee Sheet.
Cost Output-PV connected to landlord supply - KBCN0833
Any cost savings associated with PV connected to landlord supply are not considered in the HQM cost output.
The intention of the cost output is to provide greater assurance regarding the cost efficiency to the specific home being assessed. If this cannot be assured, a worst case scenario must be assumed.
Cycle spaces – Folding bicycles and scooters - KBCN00024
The provision of cycle storage that is only suitable for folding bicycles or scooters is not compliant.
Providing reduced storage space for folding bicycles or scooters in place of compliant cycle storage may limit future travel options
14 03 2018 Wording clarified and reference to scooters included.
Cycle storage spaces – rounding - KBCN1103
The calculation for the required number of cycle spaces must always be rounded up.
Cycle storage within the curtilage of a home - KBCN0830
Where credits for '01 Cycle Storage' are sought and the cycle storage is located within the curtilage of the home, crit 3 does not apply.
In the above scenario where credits are also being sought for '02 Cycle Networks', access from the cycle storage to a pedestrian or cycle route is not permitted through the home.
Decorative gas/ethanol fires - KBCN1301
Although fires may be decorative, if they are permanent features of the home that burn fuel to produce heat, they will have an impact on local air quality. They should be assessed in the Impact on Local Air Quality issue.
Dedicated cycle paths in the absence of cycle facilities - KBCN00039
Safe cycle access needs to be provided even if there are no dedicated cycle facilities. The dedicated cycle paths will generally need to be provided to the main entrance(s) of the building along routes likely to be used by cyclists through the site. The design team are required to determine what is required to satisfy the intent of the criteria.
Cycle access and cyclists' facilities are assessed independently of each other. Building users may cycle even if the building does not have cycle storage facilities and so safe and secure access to and from the building must be provided.
Design stage evidence – Responsible sourcing of construction products assessment - KBCN0831
At design stage, a letter of commitment from the design team confirming that the products shall be procured from suppliers capable of supplying products covered by the required responsible sourcing certification scheme is acceptable. The letter must confirm the responsible sourcing certification schemes of the proposed products.
Design Stage evidence requirements when a contractor has not been appointed - KBCN1231
Where a contractor has not been appointed at the time of the design stage assessment, a contractually binding document, such as the Employers Requirements, may be used as evidence to demonstrate that the criteria will be met.
Ultimately, the assessor should satisfy themselves that the evidence provided at design stage ensures that the criteria will be met later on in the project.
Designing out crime officer (DOCO) - KBCN000005
As stated in the ‘Secured by Design (SBD) New Homes 2014 Application and Checklist’ form, the Crime Prevention Design Adviser (CPDA) or Architectural Liaison Officer (ALO) has been renamed to Designing Out Crime Officer (DOCO) therefore correspondence or a copy of the report/feedback from the DOCO is acceptable as evidence for this issue.
Determining the number of bedspaces in a home - KBCN1300
The number of bedspaces the home is designed for should be determined using the Nationally Described Space standard. The size of the bedroom should be compared with the technical requirements in section 10 and used to define the number of bedspaces.
District Heating - KBCN1302
Where a project is connected to a district heating system which is outside the scope of the project or the wider development (for example phased developments) and is mandated by a local authority or other statutory body, the system does not need to be included in the assessment and 11 credits can be awarded by default. This is on the basis that the development's design team do not have control over the specification of the system. Where this is the case, evidence must be provided to demonstrate this. Where the development's design team do have control over the specification of the system, then it must be assessed.
District heating connected after post-construction stage - KBCN1312
For HQM, at design stage, it may be acceptable to assume a network will be implemented and used by the assessed home, at completion if appropriate design-stage evidence demonstrates this, even if the system is not implemented at the time of the design-stage assessment.
At post-construction, evidence would need to be revised and re-submitted based on what has happened in practice. In most cases the district heating network would need to have been installed and connected to, in order to use this system as part of the home’s energy calculations for the Energy and Cost issue, and to demonstrate installation of LZCTs in the Decentralised Energy issue.
However, there is a possibility that time-frames could be flexible depending on the specific scenario being considered, which are judged on a case by case basis. To be considered, a technical query needs to be raised, with detailed information about the project including: location, size, whether it’s mixed-use or a phased development, type of network being connected to, time-frames of the connection and justifications for these, and the assurances that will be in place to ensure this happens in-practice.
If it is not possible to provide this information during the design stage, this can be raised later but please be aware that there is a risk that credits achieved at design stage may be lost at post-construction stage, if the network is not connected to as planned.
If this does happen, the ‘infrastructure’ criteria in the Decentralised energy issue may still be applicable if adequate infrastructure is installed by post-construction stage, which can be used to connect the home to LZCTs in the future, in line with any relevant criteria (e.g. feasibility study, CN4 etc.).
In terms of how this works for BREEAM, it is possible that connection after post-construction could be acceptable, if the development is part of a larger or mixed-use project where the centralised services provision only becomes viable at a later phase and there are robust, legally enforceable routes to ensuring delivery of them to a set timeline. Evidence would need to be reviewed at post-construction stage on a case by case basis, in line with KBCN0267
Early product procurement policy - KBCN1309
A documented product procurement policy and procedure needs to be in place by RIBA stage 2, which sets out the requirements for all suppliers and trades to adhere to in relation to responsible sourcing of products. However, this policy and procedure can be fairly high-level at RIBA stage 2, as long as all other criteria are met, including dissemination and the encouragement of products that have responsible sourcing certification over products that don’t.
At this early stage, the policy is likely to contain overarching principles and policies that later feed into a more detailed plan or strategy, further into the design stage. BS8903:2010 and BS8900-1:2013, provide guidance on what is considered good practice.
Our experience with BREEAM has shown that considering the potential for responsibly sourced products early on makes procurement of these products more achievable, which in turn makes the associated credits for this more likely to achieve. This principal extends to the other issues in the Materials category as well.
Ecological enhancement implementation time-frames - KBCN1196
At the Post Construction Assessment stage of large or phased developments, for example, some ecological enhancements may not have been completed. This may include features which are to be added at a later date in the appropriate planting season. In such cases, it is acceptable to provide evidence from the client or principal contractor confirming that the enhancements will be completed within an appropriate period, advised by the SQE.
Electric vehicle charging points – Communal parking – fast-charging infrastructure - KBCN1480
For 0.25 points, compliance may be demonstrated by installing all the necessary fast-charging infrastructure and not the EVCP itself, i.e. capacity in the connection to the local electricity distribution network and distribution board (minimum 7kW to each EVCP). Additionally, sub-surface ductwork to receive cabling to parking spaces must be installed, thus enabling the simple installation and activation of charging points at a future date.
Emissions – measuring heating demand - KBCN0182
Emissions for all heat sources should be measured under normal operating conditions which are when all heat sources from the building plant are operating to their maximum design heat outputs to meet the building's heating demands.
Where plant is designed to operate below maximum capacity, for example multiple or modular systems or standby boilers,the emissions should still be calculated for the plant operating to meet the building’s heating demand. Any redundant capacity or standby plant should not be included.
Erratum – Minimising airborne TVOCs (total volatile organic compounds) from all sources - KBCN1397
The benchmark for 4.1 Criterion 10 should reads as follows:
The TVOC concentration in indoor air is measured post construction (but pre-occupancy) and does not exceed 0.5 mg/m3 (500 µg/m3), averaged over 8 hours.(41)
Reference 41, HM Government Approved Document F Ventilation 2010, sets a lower threshold, however for the purposes of HQM One, the threshold stated above is correct.
This will be corrected in the next reissue of the technical manual.
Erratum – ‘Communal space’ definition – 2.5 Recreational Space - KBCN1365
There is a discrepancy in the manual between crit 4 and the ’Communal space’ definition (for HQM ONE manual SD239 Issue 0.0). In the definition it states that the minimum Communal space required for all developments is 50m2. This is a typo, the definition should say:
Space that is accessible to the occupants of several homes and clearly associated with the development. Each individual space contributing to the total area of communal space should be over 20m2.
Erratum – Accessibility Index – HQM Transport calculator - KBCN1276
The Accessibility Index in the HQM Transport calculator is based on the availability of public transport during peak times only.
Wording in the manual should read as follows:
Criterion 2.c should read as follows:
The average number of services stopping per hour at each compliant node during peak times.
The Methodology for 'Calculating the average number of services' should read as follows:
For the purpose of the calculation, the frequency of public transport is the average number of services per hour. This is calculated by determining the number of stopping services at the node during peak times, divided by the number of hours within that period.
Erratum – Credits for ‘Discharges directly to a tidal estuary or the sea’ - KBCN1371
There is a typo within the following sentence (within 'Methodology'): 'crit 2–crit 5 can be deemed to be met and 12 credits achieved by default if the site discharges rainwater directly to a tidal estuary or the sea.'
It should say 'crit 2–crit 5 can be deemed to be met and 14 credits achieved by default if the site discharges rainwater directly to a tidal estuary or the sea.'
Erratum – Table 1 in V2.5 of GN22: BREEAM and HQM recognised schemes for emissions from construction products - KBCN1436
Table 1 in V2.5 of GN22 has two footnote symbols missing:
• Product Type column – Paints and varnishes should read Paints and varnishes*
• Product Type column – Wood panels should read Wood panels^
These will be corrected in the next reissue of the Note.
Evidence for ’04 Detailed monitoring and reporting’ at design stage - KBCN1232
The evidence requirements associated with ‘04 Detailed monitoring and reporting’ for Design Stage in both the 'Construction Water and Energy Use' are incorrectly formatted and should appear in the Post-Construction Stage column.
For design stage evidence requirements, please refer to
'Design Stage evidence requirements when a contractor has not been appointed'
Evidence requirements – Water calculator - KBCN0668
For crit1b and crit1d, it can be assumed the equivalent modelled water consumption (110 or 100 litres per person per day) has been achieved, where the following conditions have been met:
• the specified water fittings meet the standards outlined in the 'Water fittings standards' table
• waste disposal and/or water softener are not specified and
• either a bath and shower or shower only are specified
In this instance, the water calculator tool does not need to be completed. However, all other evidence must be provided.
Evidence: Final design/’as-built’ drawings as evidence - KBCN0393
Where drawings are not clearly marked to indicate their 'as-built' status, additional evidence would need to be provided by the design team to confirm the drawings represent the completed development and that there have been no changes relevant to the BREEAM/HQM assessment. This could, for example, be a written confirmation from the architect or the contractor, as appropriate.
Evidence: Post construction assessment evidence - KBCN0407
For the purposes of robustness and completeness, both design AND post-construction stage evidence is required for a post construction assessment. However, it is possible to provide only post construction stage (PCS) evidence where it is clear that this completely supersedes the design stage (DS) evidence and renders it unnecessary.
Exemption from meeting the optional standard for a particular water fitting - KBCN1351
For some developments, it may not be possible to meet the maximum water consumption required for a particular water fitting in the optional standard for a reason out of the developers control e.g. occupants have accessibility needs that require particular water fittings.
These situations are reviewed on a case by case basis. If it is felt that there is a robust reason why a water fitting cannot meet the maximum water consumption required in the optional standard, please contact email@example.com
If an exemption is awarded, it may not be possible for maximum credits to be available for this issue.
Existing cycle routes - KBCN0828
Where credits for cycle networks are being sought using existing cycle routes then it must be ensured that these meet the requirements of CN3 'Cycle route'.
External water consumption - KBCN1296
The total water consumption should include external water consumption in the same way as it is for building regulations purposes ( i.e. assumption of 5l/p/d added to the internal water consumption calculated in the water calculator)
Flexible handover visit - KBCN1322
Where appropriate, for the purposes of handover visits, it is acceptable to provide handover visits by offering demonstrations to groups of occupants per dwelling type, including showing a video, as long as a Q&A session is conducted in person afterwards, or similar.
Flood risk – Site situated across numerous flood zones - KBCN0532
Where a site is situated across more than one flood zone, the flood zone with the highest probability of flooding, i.e. the worst case scenario, must be considered for the purpose of the BREEAM assessment. An exception to this would be where the areas in the higher probability zone include only soft landscaping and it can be demonstrated that access to the building will be maintained in a flooding event.
This is to ensure that the site has adequately managed the worst case scenario level of flood risk associated with the site's location.
07/03/2018 Updated to include circumstances where an exception may apply.
FSC and PEFC Mixed Sources certified timber - KBCN00091
Products used in a building element that carry these labels are deemed to comply with BREEAM, i.e. 100% of the product (material) is responsibly sourced and 100% contributes toward meeting the BREEAM requirement that at least 80% of an element is responsible sourced.
Products carrying the FSC Mixed Sources label have to demonstrate to FSC that the proportion of FSC certified and recycled material used in their production is at least 70%.
FSC Controlled Wood - KBCN00054
FSC Controlled Wood is a system developed to ensure that the non-certified portion in products labelled as Mixed Sources do not come from unwanted sources. It is not an FSC certification on its own and products classed as FSC Controlled Wood do not meet the BREEAM definition of responsibly sourced.
Gardens finished - KBCN1328
The ‘finished and habitable’ requirement within the 'visual defects inspection' criteria is focused on ensuring occupants can move into a new home that is accessible, functional, comfortable and safe. As a minimum, any hard landscaping needed to access the home is in place.Soft landscaping may not be complete for the purposes of this criterion as long as the garden areas are capable of planting being done after occupants move in. For example, gardens are clear of building debris and adequate topsoil is present for planting.
GN22 – Scheme version applicability - KBCN0646
Table 1 is for the use of any version of a scheme where the first version was released pre-December 2015, and table 2 is for the use of any version of a scheme where the first version was released post-November 2015.
GN22 Recognised schemes for emissions from building product - KBCN0719
Within the Health and Wellbeing category of a number of BREEAM schemes, credits are awarded for specifying materials that minimise emissions from building products, e.g. formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These criteria involve meeting emission level performance requirements in accordance with compliant performance and testing standards. Similar criteria have been included in the Home Quality Mark (HQM) scheme. The purpose of this Guidance Note is to publish a list of schemes that show equivalent or better performance than the current BREEAM and HQM criteria, and therefore can be used to demonstrate compliance with the criteria. This note should be read in conjunction with the relevant assessment issue guidance provided in the appropriate BREEAM scheme or HQM technical manual.
View full Guidance Note
(licensed assessors only)
View all Guidance Notes
(licensed assessors only)
12/03/2018 Link to Guidance Note updated
25/01/2019 Link to Guidance Note updated
GN28 Home Quality Mark (HQM) Energy and Cost Methodology Guidance Note – Draft - KBCN0768
The purpose of this guidance note is to provide a background to the calculation methodologies underpinning the energy performance section in the HQM ‘Energy and Cost’ issue.
The purpose of this guidance note is to provide a background to the calculation methodologies underpinning the energy performance section in the HQM ‘Energy and Cost’ issue.
As its name suggests, the HQM is focussed around delivering quality homes. When looking to purchase or rent a new home, consumers look for quality, and also for particular features specific to their needs (e.g. location, size, specification etc.). The HQM standard reflects these needs by promoting a holistic approach to assessing homes and reporting on specific attributes of a home. This enables consumers to make informed decisions and allows developers to showcase and differentiate their product in the marketplace.
This document is intended to give a technical background to the calculation methodologies underpinning the HQM ‘Energy and Cost’ issue for end users (e.g. assessors, consultants or others) needing to make decisions influencing a home’s HQM score of the issue. It explains how the methodology works, the HQM inputs required and each of the outputs generated. It also provides guidance on how variations in the input (i.e. SAP inputs, ‘bolt-on’ inputs etc.) affect the outputs. The principles of the calculation methodologies used in the Energy and Cost assessment issue are in keeping with the above.
Three measures have been incorporated into the issue to assist in meeting the above aims:
• Adoption of the ‘triple metric’ approach – this calculation methodology is used to calculate the Home Energy Performance Ratio (HEPR). This ensures a balanced approach when considering the fabric performance, systems efficiency and CO2 emissions of the home.
• Introduction of a cost output – this will allow consumers to compare predicted regulated energy costs and identify specified systems that may perform well environmentally, but be more costly to run.
• Introduction of rigour routes – this enables recognition of measures taken to improve the accuracy of the energy calculations.
This guidance document looks into the detail of the calculation methodologies for each of the above three measures. In particular it looks into:
• The HQM energy calculation engine – the basis of the engine which is used to calculate credits regarding energy performance (and high temperature – see other guidance note), and information on how it works.
• Bolt-on calculations – several new elements have been added to the Building Research Establishment Domestic Energy Model (BREDEM1
) methodology to improve the accuracy of the calculations; the required inputs and methodologies for each of these ‘bolt-on’ calculations are discussed in more detail
View full Guidance Note
(licensed assessors only)
View all Guidance Notes
(licensed assessors only)
GN33 has been updated - KBCN1282
GN33 BREEAM and HQM Responsible Construction Management v1.0 (to be used in conjunction with BREEAM New Construction 2018 and HQM ONE) has been updated to v1.1. The main changes are clarifications to Table 2 as follows:
-the final CCS monitor’s report must be used to determine the score achieved in CCS
-where a score of ≥35 is achieved, a score of at least 7 in each of the five CCS sections must be achieved.
GN33 v1.1 can be downloaded from BREEAM Projects » BREEAM Assessor Guidance
GN33- Evidence requirement clarification - KBCN1157
In Guidance Note 33, BREEAM recognised responsible construction schemes are mapped against the 'Responsible construction management' criteria within the manual, in order to determine the degree of comparability. Table 2 in GN33 provides a mapping of the recognised schemes, the relevant scores and the BREEAM items ‘a-s’ which are achieved.
Where items in the table have been 'ticked', the only evidence that is required is confirmation of the formal certification under the relevant scheme, in addition to the evaluation report. No further information is required to achieve these items.
Where an item in the table has been 'crossed', this means that either, the responsible construction scheme does not demonstrate compliance with that BREEAM item, or that the score achieved is not high enough to confirm compliance with the item. Where a cross exists against an item, additional evidence will be required to demonstrate compliance with those items, (where credits are sought).
View full Guidance Note
(licenced assessors only)
GN40 BREEAM, CEEQUAL, HQM Ecology Assessment Issues Reporting Template - KBCN1190
Purpose and Scope of this Guidance Note
The purpose of this guidance note is to help the Assessor relate the information generated during the project to the BREEAM, CEEQUAL or HQM ecology assessment issues in the scheme being used for assessment. The guidance in this document has been produced to support the assessment of these issues and should not be interpreted as criteria. Use of this document as a template is optional. If the Assessor chooses to use the template provided within this guidance note as evidence in the assessment the Assessor, project team member or the appointed Suitably Qualified Ecologist must complete all relevant sections. The completed document can then be used by the Assessor along with all relevant project documentation to demonstrate compliance with the BREEAM, CEEQUAL or HQM criteria.
View full Guidance Note
(licensed assessors only)
View all Guidance Notes
(licensed assessors only)
GN43 – Home Quality Mark: Energy and Cost - KBCN1438
The purpose of this guidance note is to provide a background to the calculation methodologies underpinning the awarding of
credits in the ‘Energy and Cost’ issue in the Home Quality Mark (HQM) ONE.
See full Guidance Note
(licensed assessors only)
See all Guidance Notes
(licensed assessors only)
GN44 – Home Quality Mark Temperature Guidance - KBCN1439
This guidance note provides background to the calculation methodology that underpins the ‘HQM high temperature
reporting tool’ and the ‘Temperature’ assessment issue in the Home Quality Mark technical manual (scheme versions: HQM
ONE and Beta).
See full Guidance Note
(licensed assessors only)
See all Guidance Notes
(licensed assessors only)
Greater Manchester Accessibility Level (GMAL) - KBCN1394
The Greater Manchester Accessibility Levels (GMAL) method has been created to provide a way of measuring the density of public transport provision at any location within the Greater Manchester region. It is derived from the Public Transport Accessibility Level (PTAL) approach used by Transport for London. As such, the Greater Manchester Accessibility Index (GMAI) scores generated by the GMAL method can be used as evidence of compliance against the BREEAM and HQM Accessibility Index requirements. Please note that project teams must ensure that they use the latest version of the GMAL dataset, which is available from the data.gov.uk website (https://data.gov.uk/dataset/d9dfbf0a-3cd7-4b12-a39f-0ec717423ee4/gm-accessibility-levels-gmal
Green roofs – habitat distinctiveness - KBCN1332
In GN36 Appendix C - Habitat Type Classification and Reference Index the distinctiveness types which have been set for Extensive and Intensive green roofs in part relate to ‘likely’ planting taking into consideration possible options for these roofs.
Taking into consideration evolving and changing practices around green roofs (and generally relating to habitat classification) notes A&B in GN36 Appendix C provide the ecologist with the flexibility to use their professional judgement to use alternative information / classification as long as this is justified.
As such, whilst the distinctiveness levels set in Appendix C should be used in normal circumstances, where the ecologist can provide evidence/justification for doing so, they can specify the distinctiveness of the green roof based specifically on the planting that has implemented on that project.
Green-roofs - KBCN0263
When assessing green roofs, only the structural elements of the roof construction need to be considered i.e. the waterproof layer and above can be excluded. Where Green Guide is being used to assess the issue, it is likely that the online Green Guide Calculator will need to be used to provide a rating for the roof construction.
HQM - For the purpose of HQM, green roofs fall under 3.3 Specialist roof systems therefore should be included in the IMPACT model.
Growing space on request - KBCN1308
Having growing space available on request to interested occupants is not compliant, if this space does not have the capacity outlined in the 'dedicated growing space' compliance note, in the event that all occupants wanted to use the growing space.
Heat pumps - KBCN1316
Heat pumps can only be considered as a renewable technology when used in heating mode. Refer to Annex VII of Directive 2009/28/EC for more detail on accounting for energy from heat pumps.
Heated common areas for homes - KBCN1390
A BRUKL is only required for the HQM calculation if it is already required by building control.
If heated common areas are not applicable to the assessment but the assessment tool is requesting inputs for them, please check your inputs for shared common areas in the 'Home details' and 'Energy and cost' parts of the tool.
Heating zones - KBCN1318
For Multiple Dwelling Units (MDUs) or homes consisting of two main rooms or less, heating zones for the whole unit, rather than individual rooms, are acceptable, provided occupants have control of their own heating zones.
Home information – certificate after occupant moves in - KBCN1281
The HQM scorecard and certificate are required as part of home information when occupants have moved in to make them aware of HQM and how it adds value for them and their home.
If the HQM certificate will not be issued when occupants are due to move in, confirmation should be included as part of the Home information, which says that HQM certification has been targeted and the certificate will be issued separately, subject to successful approval by the certification body, BRE Global. The information should also cover general information about HQM including a link to the website and who they should contact (e.g. the home builder) for information or updates on this.
If a design stage certificate has been issued for the home, this should also be provided and made clear that this is a provisional rating.
Homeowner’s report - KBCN1287
A homeowner's report should be undertaken for the occupants as the maintenance and operational costs will eventually be passed onto them. Therefore when putting together the report it should be assumed they are going to purchase the home.
The homeowner's report should be made available to anyone wanting to rent the home before they make a decision on whether to rent the home.
Homeowner’s life cycle cost report - KBCN1286
The life cycle cost analysis and lifecycle assessment can be undertaken per house type. A house type includes homes that are identical in specification, design and location (end/ mid-terrace, ground or mid/ top floor). Any home that does not meet this definition for house type will need to be modelled separately.
HQM accredited products - KBCN0851
At present there are no HQM accredited products.
HQM applicability – Multi-residential projects and apartment blocks - KBCN0758
HQM has been designed so it can be used for different types of domestic buildings, including homes within apartment blocks , where they fall within the scope described in the ‘HQM application’ section of the HQM technical manual.
‘Multi-residential building types’ within the HQM manual refers to projects that fall within the scope of BREEAM New Construction, where non-domestic buildings contain ‘rooms for residential purposes’ or self-contained dwellings with communal facilities such as catering, leisure, communal lounges and other communal spaces (e.g. student halls of residence or care homes).
If you are unsure of which scheme should be used for a particular project, please refer to a licensed BREEAM or HQM assessor or contact BRE Global.
HQM energy averaging - KBCN0909
Energy averaging cannot be applied for the purposes of HQM, which means the energy credits scored are specific to the individual home being assessed.
This means that individual homes within the same block can score significantly different outputs.
This approach has been taken because HQM is driven by the consumer and its outputs need to relate to the actual home that the consumer is looking to purchase or rent. This is particularly important for aspects like cost, which in practice, can vary significantly between apartments within the same block. If costs were averaged across the building, they would have very little relevance to people’s bills.
In this respect HQM follows the same principles as EPCs, instead of Building Regulations and the Code for Sustainable Homes, which act as regulatory drivers for carbon reduction rather than individual home performance.
This approach applies across other issues in HQM. For example, penthouse luxury apartments may be more likely to score better in issues like 'Daylight' or 'Access and space' compared to smaller mid-level apartments within the same block, which may be more energy efficient and cheaper to run.
HQM energy engine via BREEAM Projects - KBCN0670
The HQM energy engine is built into the full HQM assessment tool within BREEAM projects. To use the engine to calculate the HEPR for a home, you need to register a project on BREEEAM projects and upload the relevant files listed in the ‘Methodology’ section of the ‘Energy and Cost’ assessment issue. The engine is not currently available via the pre-assessment tool.
There is also an excel tool (HQM-2015-Beta-Energy-forecast-and-cost-IE-Pr-70-0201-.xltx) that is used in combination with the HQM energy engine when credits are sought via the comprehensive route in the ‘Energy and Cost’ assessment issue. This tool is available in BREEAM projects, under ‘Home Quality Mark 2015 Beta Assessment Tools’.
HQM tools before licensed - KBCN0884
The full suite of tools are only available once delegates have passed the Home Quality Mark (HQM) assessor training and are fully licensed. This gives assessors and their clients the confidence that they are qualified to carry out HQM assessments, as well as access to the support from BRE Global that is available to licensed HQM assessors.
However, the online HQM pre-assessment tool, accessible on BREEAM Projects, is available to non- licensed users. This tool allows users to enter inputs for the majority of issues, including HQM SAP xml files to the energy forecast and cost issue. This can be used to generate outputs for the energy forecast and cost issue via the foundation route, which can be used as an indication on the minimum number of credits that may be targeted.
Indicator backstops - KBCN1443
The indicator backstops set minimum performance levels for each of the three indicators (My costs, My wellbeing and My footprint), where a set number of credits must be achieved in key issues that are relevant to that indicator
Indicator backstops and HQM star rating - KBCN1442
The indicator backstops are independent from the HQM level/star rating. Therefore any particular indicator backstop level does not have to be achieved to achieve a particular star rating.
There are a number of minimum requirements within key issues which apply for all star ratings . If these minimum requirements are not achieved, a HQM certificate cannot be issued.
Individual home reports - KBCN0861
The purpose of the homeowner report is to provide occupants with information specific to their home to help them reduce the maintenance and operational costs over the lifetime of the home. Each dwelling would therefore needs its own specific evidence however, some evidence can apply to multiple dwellings.
For example, the same evidence may be applicable to multiple dwellings for site-wide issues, particularly within the ‘Our surroundings’ section, and with more organisation-wide process issues like ‘Quality improvement’.
Likewise, in some instances the same evidence can be used for multiple dwellings where the worst case scenario is taken. For example with the daylight issue, when assessing multiple homes from the same house type on a site, some dwellings may achieve a lower score than what they would if they were assessed individually.
Internal composting waste storage - KBCN0829
Internal composting waste storage facilities are not required to be fixed.
Fixed units are only required for recyclable waste.
Late appointment of the Suitably Qualified Ecologist - KBCN0603
If the Suitably Qualified Ecologist (SQE) is appointed after the commencement of activities on-site and if the other requirements of this issue are met, then credits can still be awarded, provided that:
- the SQE confirms that all relevant UK and EU legislation relating to the protection and enhancement of ecology has been complied with during the design and construction process
- the SQE confirms that their late appointment has not compromised the adoption of any measures to improve the assessed site's long term biodiversity.
13th Jul 21 Correction - applied to UK NC2018 LE05
Low or no ecological value to manage and maintain - KBCN1383
The purpose of the criteria is to recognise projects that are positively contributing to local ecological value by managing and protecting it as part of the site being assessed.
If there is no ecological value to maintain or manage on the site, the purpose of the criteria is not being met and credits cannot be awarded by default.
For sites with low ecological value to begin with, the criteria encourage projects to consider ways to create ecological features that support local biodiversity as part of the development (e.g. habitat creation as part of the ecology issues focused on ecological enhancement).
LZC technologies – planning conditions and restrictions - KBCN0535
Where a mandatory planning condition exists (eg to attach to a District Heating Scheme), this will clearly affect the number of options available in a feasibility study. In such cases, compliance can still be achieved where evidence on the planning condition restrictions is provided, and it is clarified how this excludes other technologies from being considered.
The feasibility study will still need to be carried out to cover the remaining energy needs of the building (eg Electrical and lighting load in the case of a district heating scheme).
Measuring ecological change – Updated Defra Metric 3.0 - KBCN1476
We have reviewed this update and determined that the methodologies and sections in DEFRA 3.0 are significantly different to the previous version. Therefore, this cannot be used to demonstrate compliance with the current UK NC 2018 standard. We will look to incorporate this in the next update.
Measuring ecological change with Defra Metric 2.0 - KBCN1407
The Defra Metric tool 2.0 can be used to determine the percentage score that describes ecological change in Guidance Note 36 (Table 9: Reward Scale), if the following is also met:
- A Suitably Qualified Ecologist confirms that they have used the Defra Metric tool 2.0 to measure ecological change in line with up to date good practice regarding the Mitigation Hierarchy and Biodiversity Net-Gain including CIEEM, CIRIA & IEMA, 2019, Biodiversity Net Gain. Good practice principles for development: A practical guide (https://cieem.net/i-am/current-projects/biodiversity-net-gain/)
- The Methodology sections of the relevant ecology assessment issues are followed
- All other relevant criteria are met
- One calculation tool is used consistently throughout the development to determine the change in ecological value. i.e. A mixture of outputs from the BREEAM Ecological Change tool and Defra Metric 2.0 cannot be combined
Alternatively, the BREEAM Change in Ecological Value calculator tool will continue to be accepted until stated otherwise. This is subject to change as part of transitioning to Defra Metric 2.1, once this has been finalised and released. The latest timescales and information on this are available from Natural England: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/natural-england
The BREEAM Ecological Change tool determines credits using the lowest 'Post development percentage of Pre development' score for the Area based and Linear habitats. If the Defra Metric tool 2.0 has been used, the 'Total net % change' results should be used to calculate this.
For example, if the Defra Metric 2.0 tool suggests that there is a net change of -65%, then the 'Post development percentage of Pre development' would be 35% for the purposes of BREEAM. Likewise, if the net change is +8%, then the percentage would be 108%.
Measuring the flow rate of domestic components - KBCN0641
On site testing can be carried out by an appropriate professional to determine the flow rate and capacity of domestic components. This must be overseen by the client’s facilities manager and as-built drawings must be provided to confirm the presence and location of the components and any flow restrictors. Note that the conditions under which the testing is completed must be recorded, e.g. the pressure and the temperature of the water for taps. The assessor could conduct the test provided they are able to carry it out accurately.
15/02/2021: amended to cover all component types.
Minimum requirements - KBCN1454
In order to achieve crit 2.c in issue 11.1 Aftercare, you have to achieve crit 12 and 13 in issue 9.3 Inspections and Completions. Although criteria 12 and 13 are not described as minimum requirements, they do act as minimum requirements and they need to be achieved in order to comply with the minimum requirement of 2.c. Where crit 12 and 13 are not achieved, a HQM rated certificate cannot be awarded.
Minimum ventilation rate above boost flow rate - KBCN1364
Where a ventilation system has the capacity to meet the minimum ventilation rate (Criteria '03 Ventilation rates') and where this is above the boost flow rate, then the boost flow rate can be deemed to have been met by default.
New EU energy labels - KBCN1445
In recent years, the market for domestic-scale appliances has seen excellent progress, with increasingly energy-efficient products becoming widely available. Consequently, the A-rated category was extended over time to include A+, A++, and A+++ ratings. Meanwhile, the lower ratings, such as E, F and G have become increasingly rare. It was clear that an adjustment to a new, simpler set of ratings was required.
March 2021, the European Commission requires new, updated energy labels of A to G for dishwashers, washing machines, fridges and electronic displays.
Lamps will require the new ratings from 1st
September 2021 and requirements for re-labelling tumble dryers are yet to be confirmed.
- A+ to A+++ will transition mainly to C through to F
- A and B will initially apply to very few products
- G ratings will be phased out, with F ratings to follow
Changes for BREEAM and HQM
As a result of the introduction of the new EU ratings and in order to maintain the original intent of the BREEAM criteria, the approach for our schemes has had to change.
It is not possible to establish direct equivalence between the old and new energy labels, therefore the updated approach will be to recognise the best-performing 25% of each appliance type, based on a comprehensive market sample. The table below shows how this translates into the new EU Energy Labels for different appliance types.
Fridges, fridge-freezers, freezers
This approach will ensure that BREEAM continues to drive the energy efficiency of appliances by demonstrating a meaningful reduction in energy consumption. Note that these new requirements will be reviewed from time to time and may be subject to change.
Where assessments have already specified (and can procure) products bearing the old labels, it is acceptable to follow the previous criteria. However, where products bear the new label and for all assessments registered after 31/05/2021, the new criteria must be met.
23 Nov 2021 - Reference to 'freezers' added to appliance types
12 May 2021 - Guidance updated and applicability to HQM One and BREEAM NOR confirmed.
No car parking provisions within the development - KBCN0832
The 'electric charging points' credits cannot be awarded by default where there is no car parking provision within a development.
In such scenarios the aim of the issue to promote alternative sustainable transport options and reducing the dependency on traditionally fueled cars, will not be met.
Off-site construction - KBCN1315
The principle for prefabricated homes is the same in terms of the construction inspections criteria to ensure quality assurance is carried out throughout construction. As long as evidence is provided to demonstrate the criteria are being met, this should be acceptable.
Off-site manufactured installations – internal finishes - KBCN0137
Internal finishes in off-site manufactured installations such as lifts need to be assessed for the VOC criteria.
The specification of internal finishes (regardless of whether they are installed on site or in the factory) will impact on VOC emissions. By specifying low VOC finishes, design teams will be encouraging manufacturers to consider the environmental impacts of their products.
Oil-fired boilers benchmarks - KBCN1293
It has come to our attention that there is an error in Table 35, relating to the NOx emission benchmarks for oil-fired boilers. The table below confirms the correct benchmarks.
|Appliance type and unit
||7 credits (Low pollution location)
||7 credits (High pollution location)
||10 credits (Low pollution location)
||10 credits (High pollution location)
|56 73 |56
|55 67 |50
This will be confirmed in the next update of the technical manual, but can be applied immediately to HQM ONE projects.
Other smart controls - KBCN1317
Where other forms of home controls are present that are not listed in the additional smart solutions criteria, please contact BRE for consideration.
Due to the innovative nature of smart home systems, the examples provided are by no means a full list of all of the types of controls that are, and will be, available.
Paints for specialist applications - KBCN0872
Where a paint or coating does not fall within one of the categories in Annex II of the EU Directive 2004/42/CE or the categories in the relevant tables of the technical manuals (for schemes where the Directive is not applicable), then the paint or coating does not need to be assessed.
16/06/2017 KBCN extracted from existing KBCN0212.
13/03/2020 KBCN amended to clarify exceptions and applicability
Performance requirements to be met by finished product - KBCN0212
Decorative paints and varnishes that occupants are exposed to should be assessed. This is likely to include paints applied to walls, ceilings, floors, doors, etc.
It should be noted where finishes are applied to the product within the factory, these would be assessed as part of the whole product rather than as decorative paints and varnishes. The product as a whole must meet the requirements, for example if a wood panel has a finish applied to it in the factory, the whole product, i.e. all elements that make up that product, including the finish, would need comply with the requirements set for wood panel products in the issue.
The finished product as a whole must meet the performance requirements/emission limits stipulated in the relevant BREEAM technical manual.
16/06/2017 Title and general principle amended to extend the applicability of the KBCN to all finishes. Paints specified for specialist applications covered in KBCN0872.
Portable clothes drying racks - KBCN0164
Portable clothes drying racks are not compliant.
These are not a fixed feature of the built asset and could be removed or moved to rooms which are not sufficiently ventilated.
Portable display device - KBCN1310
A portable display device provided as part of a smart meter can contribute to the basic starter solutions criteria, if the following is met:
- It is connected to the assessed home
- Occupants are informed that the portable device need to be kept in a primary room in order to record a representative internal temperature for the whole home.
- Occupants are informed that the device will not work if they tried to use it in a new property if they moved and instead, they can ask their energy supplier for a replacement that will work in their new home.
The occupant may be informed of the above as part of home information and handover demonstrations.
A primary room is considered as any of the following: main lounge, living room, study, home office, main bedroom or TV room.
Post collection – Waste sorting - KBCN1109
Where there is post-collection sorting, individual bins for each waste stream would not be required, but must meet the required minimum volume and reflect the number of recyclable waste streams collected by the waste collection authority.
Post occupancy evaluation commitments as design stage evidence - KBCN1288
A letter of commitment for POE commitments is an acceptable form of evidence at design stage.
Firmer commitments including contracts are only required at post-construction stage.
Post occupancy evaluation sampling - KBCN0908
Where a post occupancy evaluation (POE) is being carried out for multiple units, not every dwelling needs to be directly monitored, in order to pursue credits, as long as they are significantly represented as part of the study.
The following points can be used as guidance to help determine if a POE is suitable:
- Credits can only be pursued for homes where occupant feedback is being requested from that specific home.
- It should be demonstrated that there is a clear, thought through approach being taken, including the reasons why any monitoring is taking place, what the aim of the study is and how the results will be used to contribute to future learning.
- Clear justifications should be given for the chosen sampling approach, including quantity and type of homes being included, relative to the aim of the study.
- For POE methods other than occupant satisfaction feedback, credits can be pursued for homes that are significantly represented by comparable dwellings in the sample. For example, where a reasonable number of homes of the same house type and on the same site, are part of the monitoring sample.
- Determining an appropriate POE method will also be informed by the appropriately qualified professional’s judgement and the licensed assessor's discretion, to ensure the purpose of this issue is being met. i.e. to evaluate performance in-use and contribute to future learning to help reduce the performance gap.
If it is unclear if a specific POE method complies with the criteria and the above guidance, please send specific details of the POE approach, to the technical team for consideration.
Pre-testing apartment blocks - KBCN1298
For the purposes of the pre-testing criteria, it is possible for there to be flexibility with developments such as apartment blocks if a preliminary air leakage test is carried out for the whole apartment block (instead of every single unit within the block separately).
If this approach is taken, inspection and preliminary air tightness testing also needs to be done on a sample of homes within the block, after all services have been installed, as determined by the appropriately qualified person who has determined the pre-testing regime.
The sample size should include the apartments that are most likely to experience leakage issues, such as those with a large external surface area and more complex or abundant fabric joints and seals, in order to better identify and resolve potential issues through remedial works.
Private gardens - KBCN0850
Private gardens (where they meet the access requirements stated in the definitions) are acceptable for the purpose of demonstrating compliance with the Private Space credits.
Private parking – number of Electric Vehicle Charging Points (EVCPs) per home - KBCN1374
Where electric vehicle charging points are provided for private parking, at least one private space per home with an EVCP must be provided to be able to award credits in accordance with table 4 (found in the HQM ONE manual).
Private space; Minimum depth requirement for three or more bedrooms - KBCN0671
The 1.5m minimum depth requirement also applies to dwellings with more than two bedrooms where private space credits are being pursued.
The minimum depth requirement is not cumulative and is set at 1.5m across the board. The note about the cumulative increase (below table 4) relates to the overall space requirements as noted in table 4 title.
Formatting error in table 4.
Process Notes - KBCN0611
Process notes can be accessed by licensed assessors here
When a new process note has been released, you may be required to tick the box to confirm you have read the note to be able to access other documents in BREEAM Projects. To do this scroll to the bottom of the Process Note index page and tick the box and click next.
Process: Project team member no longer operational - KBCN0590
In situations where a member of the project team is no longer operational, for example where a company has gone in to liquidation or administration, and the assessor is unable to obtain the required evidence to meet the requirements of BREEAM schemes and HQM, any credits affected must be withheld.
Whilst BRE appreciate and sympathise with the circumstances surrounding these types of situations, BREEAM schemes and HQM rely upon an auditable trail of evidence with which to award credits. This trail of evidence is used to demonstrate how criteria have been met. BREEAM standards and HQM must be applied consistently to all developments undertaking assessment to ensure that certificates issued provide an accurate and consistent representation of the level achieved.
If the necessary evidence cannot be presented and the assessor deems it insufficient to demonstrate compliance in accordance with the schedule of evidence then credits should not be awarded.
Process: Registration date and applicable scheme manual issue - KBCN0708
Typically the scheme technical manual issue which is current when a project is registered should be used for the assessment. For example, if a BREEAM UK New Construction 2014 development was registered on 01/07/2016, the current issue of the scheme technical manual at that point would be issue 4.1, which was published on 11/03/2016 (the next issue 5.0 of the technical manual was published on 05/09/2016). However, it is permissible for the assessor to decide to use a later issue of the technical manual. The scheme technical manual version and issue used for the assessment should be clearly referenced within the assessment report.
Note that in any case, the same technical manual version and issue should be used for the entire assessment. It is not acceptable to assess different credits based on different issues of the technical manual and it is not acceptable to change issues between submissions of the assessment.
26 09 17 Clarification added that the 'Issue' of the technical manual may not be changed between assessment submissions
Product procurement policy after RIBA stage 2 - KBCN0994
Where a product procurement policy is put together at a later stage than RIBA stage 2, ‘02 Product procurement policy and product environmental information’ credits may still be achievable. If it can be confirmed by the person responsible for the policy that the policy will not restrict procurement of responsible sourced construction products due to its late production and implementation, then the credits can still be awarded (provided all other compliance requirements are met).
Project preparation criteria for assessments starting after RIBA stage 3 - KBCN1285
The purpose of the minimum requirements within the 'Quality assurance' category is to ensure consumers can trust every HQM-certified home has been built and finished to a high standard, which is essential to the value of HQM. Emphasising quality from an early stage is an important part of achieving this, which is why the project preparation issue criteria requires processes and plans to be in place before RIBA stage 3.
Ideally, the HQM assessor would be appointed earlier than this to help get the most from using HQM when there is the best opportunity to influence the project and credits are easier to achieve. However, there can be flexibility if the same quality outcomes outlined in the project delivery plan will be achieved.
The project delivery plan criteria aim to encourage processes that will deliver quality homes, early enough to influence things like scheduling, procurement, resources and roles that may be required, if they aren't already in place. This helps achieve the delivery of quality outcomes on-site required as part of the other minimum requirements in Project Preparation, Commissioning and Testing and Inspections and Completion. If there is flexibility, it needs to be ensured that these requirements will still be met.
To consider this further, more information about the project needs to be sent to the HQM team at HQM@bre.co.uk including:
- How far along is the project on site? What has actually been carried out at this point?
- Does the late consideration of HQM ONE affect the project's ability to meet the other minimum requirements that require a certain level of quality assurance throughout construction? How will this be assured and demonstrated?
Projects which cannot be assessed under BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment - KBCN0159
Projects classed as new-build dwellings, non-domestic buildings, buildings containing rooms for residential purposes (e.g. student halls of residence) and buildings outside of the UK cannot be assessed under BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment. A full definition can be found in the scope section of the manual. Generally, dwellings subject to Building Regulations Approved Document Part L1b will fall under the scope of BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment.
Public transport node distance - KBCN1307
There is no defined threshold for relevant public transport nodes, for the purposes of calculating the accessibility index (AI) score in HQM.
The HQM Transport Calculator tool gives increasingly more contribution to the AI score, the closer public transport nodes are to the assessed home. The assessor should use their judgement to include public transport nodes that may reasonably be used by occupants, in-practice.
This approach is taken in order to recognise the relative value of having access to public transport nodes, even if they are slightly beyond a clear-cut threshold or are well beyond walking distance but still may be used, even if it is to a lesser extent.
Publicly accessible car club - KBCN0836
In general, a publicly accessible car club is considered a compliant solution for meeting crit 7, provided these are accessible to the occupants, are within 650m walking distances from the home via a safe pedestrian route.
For confirmation on whether a particular publicly accessible car club solution is acceptable, please contact us.
Raised access floors - KBCN00018
For the purposes of Mat 03, raised access floors should be considered as part of the floor structure.
HQM - Applies to HQM's Responsible Sourcing of Construction Products assessment issue.
Reasoning for setting requirements for total water consumption as well as water fittings standard - KBCN0993
We have set requirements for total water consumption as well as for individual water consuming fittings to limit instances where one very high water consuming fitting is specified which requires offsetting by very low water consuming fittings which are impractical to use. The intention was to achieve a balance in water consumption between fittings and ensure all fittings are usable.
Recognised local ecological expertise - KBCN1193
Organisations/individuals that have the expertise to provide specialist input or guidance to inform the adoption of locally relevant (within the zone of influence) ecological measures that enhance the ecological value of the site. This may include bodies such as:
a. Local Government and other statutory relevant organisations.
b. Local community groups, organisations, or charities, such as the Wildlife Trusts.
c. Local, regional, or national fauna focused groups such as Bug life, RSPB, Bat Conservation Trust etc.
This definition will be added to the relevant technical manuals in their next re-issue.
Recommendations made by a SQSS - KBCN0982
Where a facility or function (required by the design brief, local authority and other parts of HQM) increases the security risk, the recommendations from a SQSS should seek to reduce the security risk but without significantly diminishing the facility or function. There shall be no recommendation to remove a facility or function.
e.g. if an allotment forms part of the design brief, the SQSS should not recommend it is removed or significantly diminished on the basis that it may be a security risk. They should instead make recommendations to improve the security of the allotment.
Relating green roofs to multiple assessments in the same building - KBCN1195
A green roof on top of such buildings can be used to award credits for each assessment for which the Land use and ecology Issues apply. The benefit can be applied to to all assessments undertaken for the building provided all are completed within the appropriate time-frame of a valid ecological survey.
Responsible Construction Practices -Crit 1 - KBCN1297
There is a typo in crit 1, it should say 'Achieve items required for two credits in Table 57'
Responsible sourcing insulation - KBCN0907
Insulation is within the scope of the responsible sourcing of construction products.
Risk to Ecologist’s safety - KBCN0704
In some situations a significant safety risk may prevent a suitably qualified ecologist from attending the site to undertake a site survey. In these cases a desktop study can be used to demonstrate compliance, where the ecologist confirms that it is an acceptably robust substitute.
In these cases, the assessor must provide evidence to confirm the type of significant safety risk present.
SABRE Registered Professional as a Suitably Qualified Security Specialist (SQSS) - KBCN1375
A SABRE registered professional that meets the requirements outlined in the ‘SQSS’ definition is deemed to be an SQSS for the purposes of HQM.
A full list of SABRE registered professionals can be found here:
Safe pedestrian routes: definition, measurement and verification - KBCN0238
Safe pedestrian routes include pavements and safe crossing points or, where provided, dedicated controlled crossing points. A safe crossing point could also be a tactile crossing that drops to the level of the road, which could be used by wheelchair users. An element of assessor judgement is required and if in doubt, their justification of safe crossing points should be provided.
For measuring the distance, for example, you could measure a safe pedestrian route along a pavement, across a road at a safe point and along the pavement on the other side. The distance should not be measured diagonally across a road along the most direct route.
In terms of evidence, Google Maps may be used, provided that the scale is appropriate and clearly indicated. In order to demonstrate that the route is ‘safe’, ‘Streetview’ may be acceptable for Design Stage evidence, however this should be verified by the assessor’s site inspection and photographs of any key areas for the Post Construction Review. The assessor's site inspection is an important aspect of the assessment of this issue as it must confirm that the Google Maps and Streetview information is current, and may help to identify safe crossing points or hazards which may not be apparent from a desktop study.
The purpose of requiring ‘safe pedestrian routes’ is to ensure that there are suitable pavements and that distances are not measured using the shortest route, ignoring safety issues. If a pedestrian crossing or crossing island is available to assist crossing busy road, the route and distance should account for this.
Sampling formaldehyde and TVOCs - KBCN0834
The requirement for three sampling tubes per parameter per room is based on guidance in Annex D of ISO 16000-2, covering the dependence of the confidence interval for the determination of formaldehyde in indoor air.
Where deemed appropriate by the accredited organisation performing the sampling work, it is acceptable for one sampling tube to be used in each room for each of the formaldehyde and TVOC measurements (i.e. two per room if both parameters are being measured).
Scheme classification for residential projects (UK) - KBCN1225
Choosing the right scheme for developments is the starting point to ensure successful outcomes and value, in terms of quality and sustainability to building owners and for occupants of the building.
In light of the release of Home Quality Mark (HQM) ONE we have reviewed the existing guidance around scheme classifications of new build residential buildings and have removed ‘GN03 – Scheme Classification – Domestic buildings’ from BREEAM Projects.
When GN03 was written, the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) did not fully consider communal areas within residential blocks as part of the assessment. CSH was also not applicable in Scotland. GN03 was developed to clarify the differences between BREEAM Multi-Residential, CSH and EcoHomes, and when each scheme should be applied.
There is now a clearer distinction between BREEAM Multi-residential and HQM and when these should be used. Ultimately, the determining factor for a scheme classification is now focused on the intent of the building and who is going to be the end user (as opposed to previous guidance which considered aspects such as percentage of communal areas, etc.). Broadly, if the building’s main purpose is for long term homes then Home Quality Mark is the correct scheme to use.
Please use the following as guidance to identify the most appropriate scheme:
Home Quality Mark (HQM)
HQM has been designed with the occupant in mind. It assesses homes individually, but can also account for common areas associated with blocks of self-contained homes. HQM outputs (rating and indicators e.g. ‘my cost’, ‘my wellbeing’ and ‘my footprint’) are specifically aimed at those living in the home and are designed to better inform the occupant about the benefits of the home that they are purchasing or renting.
An HQM project will meet one or more of the following criteria:
Be designed to meet the function of a long-term self-contained home even though there may be some provision of communal facilities which can be used on a voluntary basis
Be classified under Building regulations Part L1a (i.e. required to complete SAP assessments, although there may be some linked SBEM assessed spaces associated with the project)
As such, HQM projects could be homes for sale, social housing or homes for rent (PRS and Built to Rent). They may also include some student and retirement/sheltered accommodation where the units are comparable to a normal self-contained flat/home.
For the purposes of BREEAM Multi-residential assessments, the term ‘multi-residential’ is used in the context of buildings that contain rooms for residential purposes alongside communal facilities for catering, leisure, care etc. These residential rooms would normally not have the full, self-contained functions of a home. This scheme usually covers more specialist residential care homes, student halls of residence, and other more communal accommodation. The scheme can cater for a small number of self-contained dwellings where these form part of a larger multi-residential development (e.g. on-site warden homes etc.). Under this scheme, the project is assessed on a whole building basis and as such does not seek to reflect the performance of individual residential units/rooms.
A BREEAM Multi-residential project will meet one or more of the following criteria:
Be provided for transient /non-permanent occupants
Provide suitable accommodation for occupants requiring support from carers, wardens or similar
Include shared living spaces
Be classified under Building regulations Part L2a (i.e. required to complete SBEM assessments, but can account for some SAP assessed spaces where associated with the project)
As a rule of thumb, if the building contains rooms rather than self-contained flats or homes, a BREEAM Multi-residential assessment would probably be most appropriate. We are aware of some confusion over the meaning of the term ‘multi-residential’ in this context and will be considering the use of term as part of the next review of the BREEAM Multi-Residential scheme.
If you are unsure of the appropriate scheme classification for a particular project, please contact the BREEAM office before registering the project.
Scope: Mixed BREEAM CSH/HQM developments - KBCN0383
In general terms, any relevant areas or facilities which serve the building should be included in the BREEAM assessment, regardless of whether they are also assessed under CSH/HQM.
Whilst CSH is a Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) scheme, it was developed by BRE Global and the requirements are generally aligned with BREEAM. This should not, therefore involve the duplication of work, but means that the same evidence can be applied to each scheme as appropriate.
Secured By Design certificates - KBCN1392
A SBD Gold or Silver certificate may be used as evidence that security measures incorporated in the dwelling/s are 3rd party certificated. However, an SBD Gold or Silver certificate on its own is not sufficient to award credits in this issue.
This is because a documented Security Needs Assessment (SNA) provides evidence that the security measures recommended for incorporation into the development mitigate the site specific risks in a proportionate and well-designed manner.
Security needs assessment (SNA) – Formal consultation with relevant stakeholders - KBCN1470
Providing the SQSS can provide evidence of reasonable attempts to obtain feedback from relevant stakeholders, this aspect of the SNA requirements will be satisfied.
In the event that a relevant stakeholder does not provide a response when consulted (e.g. if they do not respond following a reasonable period, or they confirm that are unable to deal with the enquiry), it would be expected that SQSS consider alternative sources of information. For example, the SQSS may decide to refer to freely-available crime data on the Police UK website
, and include a summary or analysis of this in their SNA.
13 Sep 2021 Applicability to HQM confirmed
Shared cycle storage between two apartment blocks - KBCN1323
In principle, it is possible for cycle spaces within two or more separate buildings (e.g. apartment blocks) can be shared for the purposes of adequate cycle storage if the following can be assured:
- if it is being assumed that cycle spaces within one block will be used by occupants from another, these spaces must be clearly dedicated to these occupants only, and this needs to be clearly communicated (e.g. signage)
- All cycle spaces must be within a close proximity (see definition) to the home or communal entrance and are accessible via a safe pedestrian route.
Please note that these scenarios need to be assessed on a case by case basis. Please raise a technical query with details and plans that demonstrate how the above points have been addressed, for further consideration.
Shower over bath and a separate shower - KBCN0774
To calculate the water use in this scenario, the flow rates of both showers need to be entered into the water calculator tool as well as the capacity of the bath.
Shower with multiple shower heads - KBCN0855
To calculate the water use of a shower with more than one shower head, one of the following should be done:
- If all of the shower heads can be turned on at once, the flow rates should be added up.
- If the shower heads can only be used one at a time, the highest flow rate should be used.
Site clearance prior to purchase of the site - KBCN0916
For sites cleared prior to purchase of the site and less than five years before assessment, a Suitably Qualified Ecologist should estimate the site’s ecological value immediately prior to clearance using available desktop information (including aerial photography) and the landscape type/area surrounding the site. Where it is not possible for the ecologists to determine that the site was of low ecological value prior to the site clearance then the credits must be withheld, i.e. where there is no evidence and therefore justification for awarding the credits.
For sites cleared more than five years ago, the ecological value of the site is to be based on the current situation on the basis that within five years, ecological features would have started to re-establish themselves and therefore act as an indicator of the site’s ecological value.
Site clearance prior to purchase of the site - KBCN1197
For sites cleared prior to purchase of the site and less than five years before assessment, a Suitably Qualified Ecologist should estimate the site’s ecological value immediately prior to clearance using available desktop information (including aerial photography) and the landscape type/area surrounding the site. Where it is not possible for the ecologists to determine ecological value of the site prior to site clearance, i.e. where there is no evidence to determine compliance, the credits must be withheld.
For sites cleared more than five years ago, the ecological value of the site must be based on the current situation, on the basis that, within five years, ecological features would have started to re-establish and this is, therefore, representative of the site’s ecological value prior to development.
Site wide approach to ecological enhancements - KBCN1194
A site-wide approach to ecological enhancements can be used on sites where multiple buildings share areas of soft landscaping. The enhancement benefits are applied to the individual building assessments within the site. The benefit can be applied on a site-wide basis provided all developments are completed within the appropriate timeframe of a valid ecological survey.
Sites with no invasive or diseased species - KBCN0847
Where invasive or diseased species are not present, credits are not automatically awarded for the 'Protecting against invasive or diseased species on site' criteria. This is because these credits intend to recognise developments using sites that are contaminated by invasive or diseased species. If these species are not present the aim of these credits are therefore not being met.
This is part of the broader effort to encourage the use of contaminated land wherever possible, similar to the way credits are awarded for developments on sites that have been previously developed.
Solid concrete washout - KBCN00063
Solid concrete washout waste should be included in the waste resource efficiency benchmarks.
Sound Insulation between rooms - KBCN1114
Testing between rooms cannot be carried out in–situ for the purposes of HQM. Software calculations are not acceptable either.
Lab testing must be carried out as required by Part E of the building regulations (which also does not allow in-situ testing or software calculations).
Sound Insulation testing for Cupboards - KBCN1299
A cupboard (even built in) does not constitute a room and does not need to be assessed for the 'Sound insulation levels for internal walls and floors' credits as it is not permanent (part of the home's fabric) and also non-habitable.
Sound testing between rooms - KBCN1303
Only lab tests carried out in accordance with Part E of the building regulations are accepted as evidence to show compliance with the requirements sound insulation between rooms ( 02 Sound insulation levels for internal walls and floors - HQM ONE). In-situ testing and software calculations are not acceptable ways of showing compliance.
SQCC reluctant to produce the reports in case their projections are inaccurate - KBCN1389
An LCC appraisal demonstrates that the homebuilder has taken care to identify the approximate replacement, operation, and maintenance costs of the asset. The forecasts are considered indicative and the information produced should not be solely used for decision making. Any assumptions, contingencies (in line with the methodology set in BS – ISO 15686-5:2008) should be declared in the report.
Submitting aftercare & post occupancy evaluation data - KBCN0589
Where credits have been awarded which require post-occupancy evaluation or an element of aftercare data collection (according to scheme requirements) from the building once operational and occupied, the data gathering must take place at the specified time and the findings reported to BRE.
The timing of this evidence gathering depends on the criteria of the BREEAM scheme having been undertaken. However, for all schemes, once the evidence is due for submission, it should be sent to BREEAM@bre.co.uk with the following title;
'BREEAM Assessment Type
Building Data BREEAM Assessment Reference
For example, a BREEAM 2011 New Construction assessment would use the following title when submitting their evidence;
'BREEAM NC 2011 Building Data BREEAM-1234-5678'
This KBCN replaces KBCN0695 for HQM.
Suitably Qualified Ecologist – Other recognised organisations - KBCN0192
With regards to the definition of a Suitably Qualified Ecologist, in addition to the organisations already listed within the manual, full members of the following organisations are also deemed SQE's;
- Royal Society of Biology
- Institute of Environmental Sciences
Provided the individual meets all other requirements as outlined in the definition of a Suitably Qualified Ecologist (SQE).
Suitably Qualified Ecologist – Professional membership - KBCN0743
With reference to the definition provided in the technical guidance, where requirements 1 and 2 are met, full members of the named organisations can be considered as a SQE for BREEAM on the basis of their membership.
Those who meet requirements 1 and 2 who are not full members may be considered, however the assessor must ensure, and be able to demonstrate, that the ecologist is covered by a professional code of conduct, subject to peer review and that their expertise and experience is appropriate for the assessed project.
Targeting ecology issues using a mixture of routes - KBCN1306
Where Route 1 is pursued initially and it is subsequently decided that Route 2 should be followed, the Suitably Qualified Ecologist appointed should review all evidence available for the issues already assessed to confirm the actions taken were appropriate.
Note: Route 1 and Route 2 are referred to as the 'Foundation' and 'Comprehensive' routes in HQM ONE, respectively.
Temporary ecological enhancements prior to development - KBCN00065
Where a site has been acquired but development is not scheduled to start immediately, it is possible to determine the baseline ecological value of the site at this point. Furthermore, to recognise where positive measures to enhance ecology have been taken to manage the site until development starts, these enhancement measures will not impact on the baseline value for the purposes of the BREEAM assessment, provided that the following have been met:
Clarification: This guidance is currently under development. Please contact BRE Global with specific project details for confirmation of whether this approach may be used.
The aim of these issues is to demonstrate the impact that a project has had on the site ecology, but comparing the site pre and post development. BREEAM does not want to penalise sites that have put in temporary ecological enhancements that enhance the ecology while waiting for development to begin.
- Following acquisition of the site and prior to any site clearance which involves the removal of any relevant features, the ecological value of a site is recorded in accordance with the relevant BREEAM methodology by a suitably qualified ecologist (SQE) to establish the baseline.
- The SQE confirms and records details of the temporary ecological enhancement and management strategy being implemented on the site for the period prior to scheduled development.
- For a period of up to 10 years, the initial baseline determined for the site is valid for the purposes of BREEAM assessment.
- Any enhancements prior to scheduled development that are not being carried forward into the design, construction and operational phases can be disregarded for the purposes of establishing the baseline ecological value at development.
- The assessment report shall provide documentary evidence of the above for certification.
- Any enhancement and management practices implemented prior to scheduled development that will be maintained and continued through the design, construction and into the operational phase can contribute toward the awarding of credits via the BREEAM calculator tools.
Testing laboratory certification - KBCN1337
Where an organisation used for sampling and analysis of indoor air or for analysis of emissions from building products is not accredited to ISO / IEC 17025, the organisation must be accredited either by a national accreditation body, or by a member of any one of the following accreditation groups:
European Cooperation for Accreditation
International Accreditation Forum
International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation
The accreditation must specifically covering sampling and analysis of indoor air or analysis of emissions from building products.
For indoor air sampling, alternative qualifications/accreditation to ISO 17025 (or the listed accreditations) could be considered compliant where this demonstrates that the organisation/individual performing the sampling has a suitable level of competence and experience. Any alternative qualifications will need to be reviewed through a technical query.
07/05/2021: Added clarification regarding alternative qualifications
10/05/2021: Updated scheme applicability
The distance of the cycle route from the cycle storage - KBCN0826
There is currently no set requirement in the HQM technical manual with regards to the distance the cycle route must be from the cycle storage. The HQM assessor should use their discretion to decide whether the distance in their specific scenario is acceptable.
Thermal model sampling - KBCN1015
Thermal modelling, in accordance with CIBSE AM11, does not need to be carried out for each individual home, where the thermal modeller uses their professional judgement to ensure that an appropriate sampling approach is adopted, in line with section 3.1 of CIBSE TM59 and the following considerations:
- All house types are adequately sampled
- The homes and situations most at risk of overheating are modelled (i.e. the worst case scenarios)
- There is no risk of overheating in the homes not modelled
The modeller needs to provide evidence and justifications that demonstrate how the samples have been determined, with their justifications, in line with the above.
A house type should include homes that are identical in specification, design and location (end/ mid-terrace, ground or mid/ top floor).
Thermographic survey – Seasonal constraints - KBCN00031
Where seasonal constraints prevent the thermographic survey from being completed prior to certification at the post construction stage, the requirements can be satisfied with:
Thermographic surveys are designed to map the thermal efficiency of buildings and to detect areas where there are breaches in the thermal envelope. Surveys need to be conducted when temperature differences between the external areas of the building and surrounding air can be detected after the envelope is sealed. There may will be instances where the survey cannot be done before certification after the envelope is sealed and as such, the survey would take place after certification.
- Evidence that a Suitably Qualified Professional (SQP) has been contractually appointed
- Written confirmation by the SQP that the seasonal constraints prevent the survey at an appropriate time before certification
- The survey is scheduled to take place at the earliest opportunity after the handover, and
- There is a specific contractual agreement in place to remedy any identified defects before the defects liability period expires.
Timing of Ecological survey/report - KBCN0292
If the ecologist's site survey and/or report is completed at a later stage than required, the assessor would need to be satisfied that it was produced early enough for the recommendations to influence the Concept Design/design brief stage and leads to a positive outcome in terms of protection and enhancement of site ecology.
21/02/2017 Wording clarified.
Tools: Use of reissued tools - KBCN0384
The most up-to-date version of an excel tool should be downloaded from the BREEAM Assessor's Extranet when a new assessment is started. If an updated tool is subsequently released then it will not be necessary to use the updated tool instead of the version already being used. The assessor can choose to use the updated tool if they wish.
When new tool versions are released, assessors are notified through the monthly Process Note. We would expect Assessors to review the 'Schedule of Changes' tab when an updated tool is released. If fundamental changes have been made to the tool and they will affect the results for the issue in question please contact BRE for guidance.
Training courses that provide competencies to be considered an AQP - KBCN1294
We are not aware of any specific training courses that provide all the necessary competencies to be considered an AQP but they may come from a combination of sources:
- industry training courses.
- Industry-recognised methodologies
- Specific research skills. For example, someone who has worked as a social researcher or has a degree or masters involving research methods.
- Consultancies or specialist organisations who provide POEs as a specific service
Using borehole water to offset water consumption - KBCN00094
Borehole water is included within our definition of "potable water" and cannot therefore be used to offset water consumption in the same way as rain or grey water harvesting.
A significant amount of water used for public consumption is already drawn from aquifers and often private boreholes draw from the same aquifer that water companies use.
Ventilation air intakes CIBSE TM21 compliance - KBCN0669
As TM21 largely contains general guidance, rather that strict rules, it is expected that the designer or services engineer would be familiar with the requirements within TM21 and be able to determine which sections are relevant for the development in question.
The main areas to consider in relation to TM21 are:
• Provision of filtration
• Positioning inlets to minimise impacts of traffic pollution
• Positioning inlets to minimise impacts of other local sources of pollution
• Positioning inlets to minimise recirculation from ventilation exhausts
Confirmation is required that each of these items (and anything else the designer/engineer deems relevant) has been considered in determining the location of air intakes. Suitable evidence may for example be in the form of a short report with diagrams indicating the proposed location of intakes, with respect to sources of pollution and with reference to the relevant parts of TM21.
Ventilation controls - KBCN0932
To meet the requirements of crit 9, CO2 levels (monitored via sensors in bed and living rooms) can be used as a proxy for occupancy levels within a home. The increase in ventilation rates above the minimum set out in Approved Document F should be proportional to the rise in occupancy above that set out in Approved Document F.
Relative humidity sensors can be used to trigger a 'boost' mode in wet rooms.
Ventilation rates criteria for MVHR - KBCN0924
The ventilation rates provided in Approved Document F 2010 are explicitly stated as being the ‘minimum’. 25% as a boost should be factored in as a matter of good design. If systems are so critically sized that an increase of 25% requires larger MVHRs, and larger ducts then this suggests there was no flexibility in the original design/sizing and AD-F was deemed to be the target ventilation rate.
Correct sizing of systems is especially critical for flats where we have the worst problems of under ventilation and where making changes retrospectively may be costly. MVHRs should not be operating above 50% fan speed in background mode, so the ability to achieve boost should always be present, regardless of dwelling type.
Verification of an ecology report / information - KBCN1192
If the appointed ecologist does not meet the definition of a ‘suitably qualified ecologist’ (SQE) the report / information submitted to support the assessment must be verified by an individual who does.
1. The individual verifying the report must provide written confirmation that they comply with the definition of a ‘suitably qualified ecologist’.
2. The verifier must provide signed confirmation
that they have checked and approved the report. This must clearly reference the report and can be in the form of a signed letter or their printed name and signature on a completed pro-forma. In doing so, they are deemed to confirm that the report:
a. represents sound industry practice
b. is correctly, truthful, and objective
c. is appropriate given the local site conditions and scope of works proposed
d. avoids invalid, biased, or exaggerated statements
Such confirmation from the verifier must be provided in addition to all other information required by the relevant technical manual and referenced as part of the evidence submitted to demonstrate compliance.
It can take a number of years for an ecologist to meet the SQE definition. Verification of information by an existing SQE supports the practical application of the assessment criteria and is in line with industry practice.
13/08/2019 Updated to clarify, in practical terms, what evidence of verification will be considered acceptable.
Warranties covered by alternative consumer codes - KBCN1289
Alternative consumers codes to the ones referred to in the Aftercare issue are acceptable if they are approved by the Trading Standards Institute, such as the Consumer Code for New Homes and the Consumer Code for Home Builders.
If you are unsure if a warranty or consumer code is acceptable for the purposes of HQM, please raise a technical query.
Washer dryers - KBCN0699
Where a washer dryer is specified, the water consumption figure for the wash and dry cycle should be used. The drying cycle of a washer dryer is taken into account because it usually uses water during this drying process (e.g. for cooling during the drying cycle) and in some cases, this water usage can be significant.
Water fittings – Categories present - KBCN1455
- Where only 6 water fittings categories are present in a home, 5 of the 6 must meet the optional fittings standard for 5 credits.
- Where only 5 water fittings categories are present in a home, 4 of the 5 must meet the optional fittings standard for 5 credits.
- Where only 4 water fittings categories are present in a home, 3 of the 4 must meet the optional fittings standard for 5 credits.
- Where Criterion 1 says 'All water fitting categories...' for 8 and 11 credits, this means 'all water fitting categories present'.
Note that the modelled water consumption benchmark in Criterion 1 must also be met to award credits.
Water quality credits clarification - KBCN1283
Crit 10 under the 'Water Quality' section states: 'The water quality credits are only available where at least 3 credits are sought in the comprehensive route.'
Where it says 'sought' above, this should be interpreted as 'achieved'. Therefore the 'water quality' credits can only be awarded where 3 credits have been achieved in the comprehensive route.
Watercourse pollution from indoor parking - KBCN0545
If the design team can demonstrate that there will be absolutely no run-off from the indoor parking then the intent of the credit will be met. However, such proof would also have to demonstrate that no hydrocarbon spillage from vehicles found its way into the watercourse/sewer. It is likely that there would be water ingress from outside or that internal parking areas would have drains fitted and be cleaned regularly. In such conditions, the criteria are still applicable.
The intent of this criteria is to ensure no hydrocarbons run off to any watercourse.
Weightings: New Methodology for Generating BREEAM Category Weightings - KBCN0746
For a detailed description of the new weightings methodology a Briefing Paper is available here
and on the BREEAM website (Resources section)
When PV is connected to the communal landlord areas in a block of flats - KBCN1444
In terms of crit 4.a (There is a direct supply of energy produced to the home under assessment), where PV is connected to the communal landlord areas in a block of flats, instead of directly to individual flats, this criteria can be deemed to be met because PV wired to each individual flat would conflict from a material efficiency point of view.
Wine coolers - KBCN0374
Wine coolers fall outside of the scope of this issue therefore do not need to meet the criteria for fridges.
HQM - this means they do not need to be included in HQM's Energy Forecast and Cost bolt-on reporting tool.
‘Communal space’ definition - KBCN1452
It is acceptable for communal space to be accessible to the public and it is not required that access is restricted to just the occupants of the homes within the development.
Information correct as of 2ndDecember 2021. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.
‘Previously Developed Land’ clarifications - KBCN0757
Please see below clarifications related to crit 1 and the definition of 'Previously developed land' provided in the manual:
•‘Proposed development’ is defined as ‘Any new development (building, hard landscaping, car park and access roads) and temporary works (e.g. temporary offices/parking, material/machinery storage) that falls within the boundary of the assessed site.’
•Undeveloped areas of the site to be used for temporary works are not considered as ‘previously developed land’ unless they have been defined as ‘land of low ecological value’.
•Any land on the site that is being developed and any disturbances to land that was previously undeveloped fall outside the definition of ‘previously developed land’.