New Construction / UK / 2011 /

08 - Land Use and Ecology

Information correct as of 26thMay 2022. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.

Change in ecological value- Larger post-development area - KBCN0299

Where the post-development area is larger than the pre-development area, for example due to green undercrofts or green facades, the extra area should be included as hard landscaping before development with no species present. Post development this area should be given its own habitat type with the species numbers verified by the suitably qualified ecologist.  

Change in ecological value- non-native species - KBCN0221

Non-native species specified by the Suitably Qualified Ecologist (SQE) can be included in ecology calculations. There are no requirements set for LE 03 relating to the specification of non-native species (this differs from the requirements in LE 04). If an SQE specifies non-native plants for the development and confirms the species count pre and post development, then non-native species can be included in the ecological change calculation.

Contaminated Land- Presence of radon gas - KBCN0155

Naturally occurring radon is not considered as contamination in relation to BREEAM. However, where radioactive substances have been introduced as a consequence of human activities, that land would then be considered to be ‘contaminated with radioactivity’ and remediation of such contamination would fall under the scope of the relevant BREEAM issue.

Ecological enhancements – large mixed use/multi-building developments - KBCN0588

At the Post Construction stage of assessment, for large mixed use/multi-building developments, where the whole site has not been completed and ecological enhancements have not yet been added, or where features are being added at a later date in an appropriate planting season: evidence from the client or principal contractor confirming planting will be completed within 18 months from completion of the development is acceptable.

Ecological value – timing of planting - KBCN0479

Where the 18 month deadline for the completion of the planting is likely to be exceeded due to the timing or phasing of the construction, the project team will need to clearly justify the reason for this variation, and provide a written commitment to carry out the planting within a reasonable and justifiable timescale.

Green walls – recognition of ecological value - KBCN0869

Green walls cannot be considered compliant for the, 'Minimising impact on site ecology' Issue due to concerns over high maintenance requirements, whereby the plants are not self-supporting and cannot, therefore, be considered as a sustainable solution in themselves or in mitigating the impact of the loss of ground-based planting. In terms of 'Enhancing site ecology', however, where a specific green wall system and species mix are supported by the SQE's recommendations and there is evidence that a comprehensive on-going maintenance strategy will be in place, this can be recognised. In such cases, a separate calculator tool may be completed for this Issue to demonstrate the species richness of the site, including the contribution of the green wall. The following methodology may be used:
30/11/17 Guidance on methodology added

Habitat management plan – Level of detail required - KBCN0132

The level of detail required in the landscape and habitat management plan needs to be commensurate with the complexity and extent of the landscaped areas. If there is a limited amount of landscaping, then a simple plan would be acceptable, commensurate with the significance of the area assessed. Where the suitably qualified ecologist, appointed prior to commencement of activities on site, confirms that a landscaping and habitat management plan is not applicable due to the nature of the site and its surroundings, such as being nearly all or entirely hardstanding or having little or no external space, then full credits can be awarded for demonstrating that the relevant legislation has been followed.

Land reclaimed from the sea - KBCN0558

Land reclaimed from the sea cannot be considered as previously developed land. It has not been occupied by a permanent structure and any associated fixed surface infrastructure (please refer to the Additional information section).

Landscape and Habitat Management Plan – SQE involvement - KBCN0564

Even if not stated explicitly, it is implied and expected that the Suitably Qualified Ecologist (SQE) does verify the content of the Landscape and Habitat Management Plan to ensure that it is consistent with the whole site ecological strategy.
19 Nov 2021 Applicability to UK NC2018 confirmed

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:
13th Jul 21 Correction - applied to UK NC2018 LE05

Late confirmation of site boundary - KBCN0307

The ecologist must be appointed and engaged early on (equivalent RIBA Stage 1) so that they are able to inform the design brief. For projects where the site boundary is only confirmed at the next design stage (equivalent RIBA Stage 2), it would be acceptable to delay the full ecology survey until this time. In these circumstances, the ecologist's input at design brief may be based on a desk study or initial viewing of the site and its potential boundaries. The aim of early engagement with an ecologist is to facilitate and maximise potential ecological enhancement, exact boundary definition does not negate this.

LE03 / LE04 calculator – number of habitat types rows - KBCN0880

Unfortunately, due to the complexity of the calculator tool it takes a significant amount of time to add additional rows, but in cases where there are more than 20 habitat types, the following method can be followed to calculate the overall ecological value and number of credits achieved:
  1. Open two LE03&LE04 calculator tools (LE03&LE04 Ecology Calculator 2)
  2. Enter 20 habitat types into the first tool
  3. Take the total Ecological Value for pre-development (cell H51) from the first tool and enter this into the first habitat row of the second tool (cell F8 in NC 2011 v1.10 and cell F9 in NC 2014 v.2.0)
  4. Take the total site area for pre-development (cell H49) from the first tool and enter this into the first habitat row of the second calculator (cell H8 in NC 2011 and H9 in NC 2014)
  5. Take the total Ecological Value for post-development (cell K51) from the first tool and enter this into the second habitat row of the second calculator (cell F10 in NC 2011 and cell F11 in NC 2014)
  6. Take the total site area for post-development (cell K49) from the first tool and enter this into the second habitat row of the second calculator (cell K10 in NC 2011 and cell K11 in NC 2014)
  7. This will combine 20 species types into 2 rows, leaving space for a further 18 habitat types
  8. Send in both tools as evidence at QA, including this compliance note.
For a project which needs even more rows, this process can be repeated using a third tool if required. In this case all tools need to be send as evidence to QA, including this KBCN.

Off-site ecological enhancement - KBCN0651

BREEAM does not recognise enhancements which are not within the boundary of the site being assessed, as the aims of the land use and ecology section relate to the ecological value and biodiversity of the specific site under assessment. However, off-site ecological enhancement can be accepted where: Full justification and robust evidence must be submitted when relying on this approach. BREEAM recognises that the red-line boundary drafted for planning purposes may not reflect the entire site within the control of the developer or building owner.

Previously developed land – temporary structures - KBCN0659

The presence of concrete and hardstanding areas established as temporary structures for enabling works are not considered to be previously developed land on a site. The nature of enabling works are temporary; with the purpose of enabling the delivery of a development and are not constructed to be permanent. Temporary structures of this kind are not included in the definition of previously developed land no matter how long they have been present on a site.

Previously developed land- Definition of ‘Curtilage’ - KBCN0148

Although the local authority may determine the buildings curtilage in relation to planning matters, in relation to BREEAM, curtilage is considered as the small area immediately surrounding the building which comprises of hard landscaping and / or permanent fixed structures and minor areas of soft landscaping. Large expanses of soft landscaping should be excluded from the calculations.  

Previously occupied land – Fixed surface infrastructure - KBCN1140

Car parks and other hard-landscaped areas often incorporate small pockets of soft landscaping. Where these are integral to the hard landscaping and constitute a small proportion of the total area, these areas can be considered as part of the fixed surface infrastructure.

Previously occupied land – multi-use games areas (MUGAs) - KBCN1464

For education assessments, playing fields are considered previously occupied land if an equivalent area of playing field is reinstated on land of low ecological value within one year of completing the construction works. Multi-use games areas (MUGA) or similar are also acceptable as replacements for playing fields.

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.  

Shared ecological enhancements - KBCN0656

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. Similarly, where a building comprises more than one assessment, eg different floor assessments, a green roof on top of that building can be used to award credits for each assessment for which the Land use and ecology issues apply. 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 multiple assessed buildings - KBCN0920

For sites with multiple assessed buildings, where it proves difficult to clearly define separate construction zones for each building, the assessment of this Issue can be done on a site-wide basis where the boundary of the construction zone is considered to be the whole site. Similarly, when it is difficult to define the proposed development footprint for each assessment, the issue can be assessed on a site-wide basis. This can be applied to each BREEAM assessment.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Unexploded ordnance - KBCN0775

Unexploded ordnance can be defined as a contaminant as they are objects which can be classed as a hazard to health and/or the environment.  Therefore, if the contaminated land specialist confirms that leaving the ordinance on the site would lead to a serious risk to human health and the environment, the site can be defined as “contaminated land” (please see the definition within the 'additional information' section of the manual). However, the credit can only be awarded where all criteria have been met, and therefore the site investigation, risk assessment and appraisal must determine that the site is “significantly contaminated” i.e. without remediation, development of the site is not possible. Also, it should be noted that decontamination needs to occur specifically for the purpose of re-development of the site, as detailed in the compliance notes “Prior Decontamination” and “Health and Safety related decontamination.”
Information correct as of 26thMay 2022. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.