Home Quality Mark / HQM ONE / A Our Surroundings /
Information correct as of 18thOctober 2021. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.
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.
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.
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.
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 – ‘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.
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.
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).
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%.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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 18thOctober 2021. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.