Refurbishment and Fit Out / International / 2015 /
08 - Land Use and Ecology
Information correct as of 17thOctober 2021. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.
Aircraft safety – developments in the proximity of airports - KBCN0977
Where it can be demonstrated that an assessed development, within or adjacent to an airport or similar must restrict the ecological value of the site for reasons of aircraft safety (mitigating the risk of bird-strikes to meet ICAO/EASA/CAA or equivalent regulations), the approach for some issues in the Land Use and Ecology category can be adjusted. If in these circumstances, the client wishes to enhance ecological value on an external site, outside of the main development site, this can be considered in the following way for each issue:
Ecological value of site and protection of ecological features: The development site only must be assessed, but the recommendations may be tailored to suit the requirements of the relevant legislation.
Enhancing site ecology: The development site and the external site must be included in the SQE’s report and recommendations, albeit that, for the development site, the approach may to be to restrict biodiversity. Enhancements implemented in-line with the recommendations of the SQE are likely to apply to the external site.
Long term impact on biodiversity: Both sites must be considered in the SQE’s report, albeit that, for the development site, the approach may to be to restrict biodiversity. Credits for additional measures to improve the site’s long-term biodiversity can be awarded on the basis of adopting these for the external site only, in line with the guidance.
Criterion 3 – Error in the manual - KBCN0736
Only 1 credit is available for LE 04 issue (except for prisons) and all recommendations of the ecology report for the enhancement of site ecology must be implemented for criterion 3 to be met.
In the versions 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 of the technical manual the table under criterion 3 is wrong.
This table will be removed in the next update of the scheme.
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.
GN13 Relating ecologist’s report and BREEAM - KBCN0626
This guidance note is to be used for registered BREEAM UK New Construction 2014 and RFO 2014 and International New Construction 2016 and RFO 2015 assessments, where an ecologist has been appointed by the client and has produced an ecology report for the proposed development.
The purpose of this guidance note is to help the BREEAM Assessor relate the content of the ecologist’s report to the BREEAM Land Use and Ecology section criteria (assessment issues LE 02, LE 03 (UK only), LE 04 and LE 05). The guidance within this document has been produced to support the assessment of the aforementioned BREEAM issues and should not be interpreted as criteria. If the BREEAM Assessor chooses to use the template provided within this guidance note as evidence in the assessment (use of this document is optional) the assessor or the appointed suitably qualified ecologist must complete all relevant sections
View full Guidance Note
(licensed assessors only)
View all Guidance Notes
(licensed assessors only)
01/04/2020 Clarified applicability to UK RFO 2014 and International RFO 2015 schemes
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.
International suitably qualified professionals - KBCN1266
In some issues the International NC and RFO schemes prescribe specific requirements for suitably qualified professionals. We appreciate that some countries might have different recognition schemes in place, and these might differ from the BREEAM requirements. Where this is the case, assessors should submit a technical query with appropriate information, and we will review and approve each situation on a country basis.
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.
Late appointment of the SQE and RFO schemes - KBCN0792
The late appointment of the ecologist does not necessarily impinge on achieving the credit, provided they would have had no advice for the early site layout decisions. The ecologist needs to provide an explanation detailing this, that they would have had no advice if they were appointed during the Preparation and Brief stage.
This does not set a precedent. The early appointment of an ecologist has important benefits and must be followed as per the 'Early stage involvement from the SQE' Compliance Note within the technical manual. This KBCN is specific to situations where their late appointment has not had a bearing on the advice they could have provided.
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.
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.
Measures for protecting features of ecological value - KBCN0583
Where the actions outlined in CN 'Protecting features of ecological value' are deemed not appropriate for a particular site, by a suitably qualified ecologist (SQE), it would be acceptable for alternative means of protection to be used where recommended by an SQE. Where alternative approaches are being used, the assessor must ensure that adequate evidence is collated to demonstrate the ecologists recommendations have been implemented, this should include clear photographic evidence of the solution implemented.
This is to ensure that professional expertise is applied to appropriately address specific scenarios.
No external areas controlled by developer - KBCN0608
Where evidence can be provided by the design team that there are no external facades, roofs or external areas within the developer's control, there is no requirement for a SQE or wildlife group to supply evidence for confirmation.
04/10/17 KBCN no longer applicable to UKRFO LE04. For this scheme and Issue, refer to KBCN0919.
No opportunity for ecological protection or enhancement - KBCN0921
This Issue is not applicable to the assessment where it can be demonstrated that;
- There are no new or existing landscaping areas and therefore no need for ecological protection (ie when the ‘Protection of ecological features’ Issue is N/A)
- There is no opportunity to make ecological enhancements (ie when the ‘Enhancing site ecology’ Issue is N/A). An example of such a case could be a retail building with a glazed shop frontage, where there are no other external elements or spaces for enhancement.
Evidence that there are no suitable external facades, roofs or other external areas within the developer’s control must be provided by the design team.
When both of the above conditions are in place and the two relevant scoping questions are completed in the scoring and reporting tool, this Issue will be filtered out of the assessment.
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:
- It is within the wider site, surrounding or adjoining the development.
- The land is currently under the ownership of the developer and intended to remain so (i.e. there are no immediate plans to sell);
- The Suitably Qualified Ecologist (SQE) confirms that the proposed ecological enhancements are appropriate and more effective than can be done solely within the red line boundary;
- The owner remains responsible for the on-going maintenance of the land.
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.
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.
Temporary ecological enhancements prior to development - KBCN00065
Where a site has been acquired but development is not scheduled to start immediately, it is possible to determine the baseline ecological value of the site at this point. Furthermore, to recognise where positive measures to enhance ecology have been taken to manage the site until development starts, these enhancement measures will not impact on the baseline value for the purposes of the BREEAM assessment, provided that the following have been met:
Clarification: This guidance is currently under development. Please contact BRE Global with specific project details for confirmation of whether this approach may be used.
The aim of these issues is to demonstrate the impact that a project has had on the site ecology, but comparing the site pre and post development. BREEAM does not want to penalise sites that have put in temporary ecological enhancements that enhance the ecology while waiting for development to begin.
- Following acquisition of the site and prior to any site clearance which involves the removal of any relevant features, the ecological value of a site is recorded in accordance with the relevant BREEAM methodology by a suitably qualified ecologist (SQE) to establish the baseline.
- The SQE confirms and records details of the temporary ecological enhancement and management strategy being implemented on the site for the period prior to scheduled development.
- For a period of up to 10 years, the initial baseline determined for the site is valid for the purposes of BREEAM assessment.
- Any enhancements prior to scheduled development that are not being carried forward into the design, construction and operational phases can be disregarded for the purposes of establishing the baseline ecological value at development.
- The assessment report shall provide documentary evidence of the above for certification.
- Any enhancement and management practices implemented prior to scheduled development that will be maintained and continued through the design, construction and into the operational phase can contribute toward the awarding of credits via the BREEAM calculator tools.
Information correct as of 17thOctober 2021. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.
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.