3 General Technical /

General Technical

Information correct as of 21stMay 2024. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.

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

Certificate validity - KBCN0798

EPDs and Green Guide ratings which have expired or are pending verification at the time the relevant product was specified, cannot contribute to awarding credits.  
04/11/2019 Confirmed applicability to UK NC2018
27/03/2020 Added applicability to Green Guide ratings and ISO 14001 certificates
27/05/2020 Reference to ISO 14001 removed - Whilst the same principle applies, the wording relating to product specification does not - See KBCN1401.

Certificate validity – EMS - KBCN1401

The requirement for the principal contractor to operate an EMS relates to the duration of operations on site. Therefore, certification against ISO 14001/EMAS must be valid as above and cannot be expired, pending or applied retrospectively.

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.

Confirmation of version / year of technical standards - KBCN0519

When providing evidence of compliance it is important for design teams to clearly refer to the version and / or year of the standard being complied with for an assessment. The issue / release / adoption of standards sets the requirements appropriate at the time of publication of the BREEAM scheme documentation.  A standard may be updated in between BREEAM re-issues and updates so the standard cited in the requirements or the most current version of a standard can be applied. This applies to standards such as National (e.g. British) Standards, HTM documents, Environment Agency and Policy Planning Guidelines etc. Where the current version of the standard differs notably from the cited standard in the manual, it is the role of the assessor or design team to verify that it is equivalent or more robust than the original requirement. Evidence failing to demonstrate this will be result in raising of a non-conformance within QA and will delay certification. See also: KBCN0747 Equivalent standard use
23/08/17 Merged with “Superseded standards and evidence referenced” KBCN0453

Conflict of Interest statements for BREEAM USA In-Use assessments - KBCN1421

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 Assessor must not be personally responsible for producing such evidence.   If the Assessor believes there is or may be a potential for a conflict of interest, the Assessor should inform BRE America of any potential conflict as soon as the potential conflict becomes apparent. This should be considered before the assessment begins. The Assessor should send the statement to [email protected]. Assessors should confirm the roles undertaken by the Assessor/Assessor Organization and how any potential conflicts of interest have been managed.  A statement confirming that there was no conflict of interest is not sufficient.  In such circumstances, the assessment and evidence submitted may be subject to closer scrutiny.  Where BRE Global has unresolved concerns relating to the potential conflicts of interest, the assessment will not be permitted to proceed.  BREEAM is a third-party certification program. 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. 
2021 01 05 Updates to title, links and text

Definition – laboratory containment levels 2 and 3 - KBCN0903

Laboratory containment levels 2 and 3 are defined in: The Management, Design and Operation of Microbiological Containment Laboratories 2001, ACDP This was defined from BREEAM International NC 2016 onwards.
11-Oct-2022 - Title amended for clarity and consistency. Wording updated. Scheme applicability updated.

Equivalent standard use - KBCN0747

Reference to 'an equivalent standard' in the criteria ensures there is flexibility for different or newer standards to be used to demonstrate compliance. The 'equivalent standard' needs to address the requirements of the referenced standard and be demonstrably equivalent or more robust. It is the role of the assessor or design team to verify this. Different, new or other standards may be used if these achieve the aim of the referenced standards within the criteria. They could potentially be those published or only available after the launch of a scheme.

Gross Internal Floor Area (GIFA) or gross internal area (GIA) - KBCN1062

In general terms, this is the total area enclosed by the external walls of a building, measured to the internal face of those walls and taking into account every floor in the building. This is comprehensively defined by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors: http://www.rics.org/uk/knowledge/bcis/about-bcis/forms-and-documents/gross-internal-floor-area-gifa-and-ipms-for-offices/

Laboratory containment level category definitions - KBCN0943

BRE does not designate or define containment levels for laboratories. The categories listed in the manuals are based on industry standard definitions. For further information, please refer to HSE/COSHH or DEFRA definitions, depending upon the hazard type.

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.

Retail/Industrial Showrooms Appendix - KBCN1115

This Criteria Appendix has been developed for developments such as car showrooms which incorporate both retail and industrial areas. The appendix clarifies, for specific BREEAM issues, which criteria are applicable to each area of the assessment. This should be read in conjunction with the relevant scheme version of the BREEAM UK  technical manual. This is applicable to BREEAM UK New Construction 2014 and 2018 and BREEAM UK RFO 2014. Such assessments should be registered against the 'Retail' building type and the Appendix will soon be available for download in the guidance for 'Retail' assessments for each relevant scheme on BREEAM Projects. In the meantime, the Criteria Appendix can be requested by emailing [email protected].
22/05/2018 The title of this appendix has been changed and additional information provided. This includes removal of the specific reference to 'Car Showrooms' in order to clarify that this approach can be applied to other similar retail developments, which include industrial servicing areas.

Scheme classification queries - KBCN0540

As the Operational Guidance clarifies ‘…A scheme classification requires the assessor, client or design team to submit floor plans showing the layout of the building(s) along with its intended functional areas and any other relevant information. BRE Global will then confirm the appropriate means of assessing the development, using either one or more standard schemes or by developing project-specific bespoke criteria…’ BREEAM Technical cannot definitively confirm a scheme classification in the absence of drawings. Relevant information could also include specification of the scope of works, clarification of general building functions, spaces within them, as well as their management and access to the public.  

Scheme update frequency - KBCN0745

BREEAM schemes are updated on average every three years. This should allow sufficient time for Assessors to process, and become familiar with, the updated scheme content, which we try to evolve rather than completely overhaul to limit the impact and burden of change on clients and assessors. The timescales for an update and release of a new scheme version is normally driven by factors such as changes in best practice, regulation and alignment across schemes. It allows rationalisation of technical FAQs and Compliance Notes so reducing complexity for assessors.

Signage and labeling - KBCN1643

Where BREEAM requires signage or labeling, it must be fit for purpose:   Examples of non-compliance:

Technical queries – submission workflow - KBCN1616

The technical query submission workflow is a visual guide to submitting technical queries. It is broken down and explained fully in our Technical Query Principles training. The workflow is intended to be used as a downloadable reference for those who have completed the module. Technical query submission workflow rev 0.1 [accordion] [accordion_block title="Technical Query Principles training"] This 1 hour CPD module is currently offered free of charge, and is for BREEAM Assessors, APs or anyone who submits technical queries to us. It is written to help BREEAM Professionals achieve the best outcome from our technical support services, and expands on KBCN1555. The training module covers: You can access the training via direct link here. [/accordion_block] [/accordion]

Time critical BREEAM requirements – reference to RIBA (or equivalent) work stages - KBCN1156

As a building design process passes through successive work stages, increasingly more aspects of the design become fixed. BREEAM criteria often require actions at, before or after specific project work stages, as these are the optimal stages to achieve the required sustainability outcome. When undertaken at a different stage, the criteria may be difficult to comply with, opportunities may be missed, options limited or costs may become prohibitive. Knowing which stage your project is at Where possible, BREEAM refers to industry-standard work stages, for example the RIBA plan of work stages. However different project teams can interpret these referenced stages differently. Furthermore, many projects do not follow these stages in a simple linear fashion for all aspects of the design at the same time. For instance, the envelope design may be well advanced even to the point where installation has commenced before any specification decisions have been made on some interior finishes. As such, a project may not be at one project stage for all elements of the design at any one point in time. This Knowledge Base compliance note is intended to provide supplementary information to enable projects to determine what stage they are at with respect to time critical BREEAM requirements, including where different elements are at different stages. Although project team members may be willing to offer their opinion on the stage the project has reached, this will often be subjective and hence inconsistent. Therefore, the process set out here looks at the currently available design information for the project (e.g. drawings, specifications) to determine the current work stage in relation to the issue under consideration. This provides a more objective, demonstrable approach for the assessor to follow.   Concept Design Stage The RIBA definition of ‘Concept Design’ (RIBA stage 2) can be found here https://www.ribaplanofwork.com/PlanOfWork.aspx . The core objective given is ‘Prepare Concept Design, including outline proposals for structural design, building services systems, outline specifications and preliminary Cost Information along with relevant Project Strategies in accordance with Design Programme. Agree alterations to brief and issue Final Project Brief.’ Table 1 and table 2 (in the link below) provide further guidance, specific to BREEAM, to help determine whether a project, or part of the project relevant to the issue/credit, is at ‘Concept Design’ stage. If there is ambiguity or uncertainty about the stage of the project, the assessor should check with the design team whether the design documentation (drawings, specifications, BIM etc.) currently being produced by the design team will generally include the information listed. It is possible for different aspects of the project to be at different stages in terms of how progressed the design is. For example, the substructure design may be at technical design or even installed while the internal partitions are still at concept design. Whether this matters depends on the issue/credit being pursued. The following steps take this into account. Step 1 First, for the issue/credit being pursued, determine which of the relevant assessment scope items in table 1 and 2 are relevant. For example, if the issue/credit only relates to substructure, then only the substructure assessment scope items shall be considered. If the issue/credit is of a general nature concerning the whole project, then all the assessment scope items shall be considered. Step 2 For the relevant assessment scope items from step 1, decide which of the following applies the most: - Please note that the items listed are indicative of the typical information produced at ‘Concept Design’ stage. Technical Design Stage The RIBA definition of ‘Technical Design’ (RIBA stage 4) can be found here https://www.ribaplanofwork.com/PlanOfWork.aspx . The core objective provided is ‘Prepare Technical Design in accordance with Design Responsibility Matrix and Project Strategies to include all architectural, structural and building services information, specialist subcontractor design and specifications, in accordance with Design Programme.’ The following provides further guidance, specific to BREEAM, to determine whether a project is at the ‘Technical Design’ stage: The RIBA plan of work definition of ‘Technical Design’ clearly states that it should ‘…include all architectural, structural and building services information, specialist subcontractor design and specifications…’. Therefore, it is a simpler task to determine whether the project, or part of the project relevant to the issue/credit, is at this stage. If there is ambiguity or uncertainty about the stage of the project, the assessor should check with the design team whether the design documentation (drawings, specifications, BIM etc.) currently under production by the design team (and the contractor’s specialist sub-contractors, if applicable) will, when finished, generally include all the final design information required for the construction works on-site. Like concept design, it is possible for different aspects of the project to be at different stages in terms of how progressed the design is. The following steps take this into account. Step 1 First, for the issue/credit being pursued, determine which of the relevant assessment scope items are relevant (the assessment scope items given in table 1 and 2 may be used, but the rest of the information in these tables relates to concept design). Step 2 For the relevant assessment scope items from step 1, decide which of the following applies the most: - KBCN1156_IndicatorTables  
17/06/2019 KBCN updated to provide additional guidance

Tools and systems – Macros in Excel Calculators - KBCN1610

Some BREEAM Excel tools use macros. If macros are disabled at an organizational or local level, these tools will not work. In February 2023, Microsoft updated the default security setting for macros within files downloaded from the internet. More information on macros and how to manage them can be found in this guidance from Microsoft Please ensure that you read and followed this guidance before submitting a query relating to an Excel tool not working.   For more information on Tools query submissions, please see KBCN1555 Section 8.0

Tools: Tracker+ - KBCN0760

Please note that Tracker+ is not a BRE-owned or managed reporting tool. For issues concerning Tracker + please contact the provider (Southfacing) as the BRE cannot advise on technical issues relating to Tracker+.

Unoccupied spaces - KBCN0873

Buildings that have no spaces occupied for more than 30 mins at any given time, e.g. multi-storey car parks, storage spaces, WCs, etc, cannot be assessed under BREEAM as stand alone assessments. However, they can contribute to achieving compliance with certain criteria, when associated to a larger building. Multi-storey car parks may be assessed against the Civil Engineering Quality Assessment and Award Scheme (CEEQUAL). Please see www.ceequal.com for further information. BREEAM is used for the assessment of buildings that are designed to be occupied.

WELL v2 and BREEAM – Alignment - KBCN1158

WELL v2 is currently live. IWBI has produced a ‘one-way’ alignment document ‘Applying BREEAM and the WELL Building StandardTM – Strategies for interiors, new buildings and existing buildings seeking dual certification’, which shows how BREEAM New Construction scheme credits can contribute to achieving the WELL v2 building standard. The document is available to download from Applying BREEAM and WELL v2 | Tools | WELL International WELL Building Institute (wellcertified.com). Queries about WELL v2 and related alignment/‘crosswalk’ documents should be made directly to IWBI ([email protected]).  
15.02.2019: Updated to reference the latest publication from WELL, and to outline the predicted timescales for an updated version of the BREEAM Briefing Paper ‘Assessing Health and Wellbeing in Buildings: Alignment between BREEAM and the WELL Building StandardTM 
13/03/2020: Updated timescales
15/11/2023: removed: 'It is anticipated that an updated version of the BREEAM Briefing Paper ‘Assessing Health and Wellbeing in Buildings: Alignment between BREEAM and the WELL Building StandardTM will be published when the final version of WELL v2 is launched.' 
Updated KBCN to confirm WELL v2 is live and updated link to crosswalks. 

Information correct as of 21stMay 2024. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.