Home Quality Mark /


Information correct as of 1stMarch 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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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 AND c) Include evidence that the verifier meets the definition for a Suitably Qualified Acoustician within the relevant BREEAM or HQM technical manual

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. 

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.'

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 KBCN1231 'Design Stage evidence requirements when a contractor has not been appointed'

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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:

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).

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: 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 Edited 23/09/20:  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%.  

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.

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.

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 Fuel 7 credits (Low pollution location) 7 credits (High pollution location) 10 credits (Low pollution location) 10 credits (High pollution location)
Boiler (mg/kWh) Oil 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

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.

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 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).

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:

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.

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'

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: http://www.redbooklive.com

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. BREEAM Multi-residential 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.

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:

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.

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.

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.    

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; 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.  

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.

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:

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.

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.  

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.
Information correct as of 1stMarch 2021. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.