Domestic Refurbishment /


Information correct as of 15thJuly 2024. Please see for the latest compliance information.

Adding a basement extension to an existing dwelling - KBCN0253

A basement extension, which includes habitable space, is considered to be part of the house and would need to be assessed and meet the minimum standards. This is classed as new space

Adequate external storage when there is a compliant collection scheme in place - KBCN1329

When following criterion 1 for the first credit, you do not need to provide adequate external storage in accordance with CN2.

Air conditioning and cooling - KBCN0373

Energy used for air conditioning and cooling systems should not be included when assessing NOx emissions.

All insulation material have a Green Guide rating of A or A+ - KBCN1326

Where all insulation material within the building elements external walls, ground floor, roof and building services has a Green Guide rating of A or A+ the Mat 03 Calculator would not need to be completed as the insulation index would always be 2 or greater. Evidence would still be required as follows: In this instance it would not be necessary to provide the volumes and thermal conductivities of each insulation type; however, you must be satisfied that all relevant insulation has been accounted for within the assessed building.

All life cycle stages EPDs - KBCN0822

A third party, independently verified EN 15804 EPD that includes life cycle stages A, B and C may be considered a tier 1 EPD in the MAT 01 issue.

Allocating AP credits - KBCN0200

All credits in this issue are independent, therefore exemplary credits can be awarded without any other credit being awarded first.

Assessing basement external walls - KBCN0241

Only the external walls above ground level are required to be assessed under 'external walls'. The external walls below ground (i.e. within a basement area) perform a specialist function, these are not comparable with other external walls in a building. These are included in the 'basement retaining walls'.
20/08/2021 Scope clarified in accordance with the New Rules of Measurement (NRM) by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Assessing new dwellings built above or below an existing dwelling - KBCN0318

A new build dwelling above or below an existing dwelling is considered to be a new space and therefore criterion 2 of Hea 01 should be followed to assess the minimum daylighting levels. The whole dwelling, whether above or below the existing one, is a new space and has more stringent criteria than for existing spaces.

Assessor completing a site survey - KBCN0141

The BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment assessor can complete a site survey to identify whether there are any ecological features present.  This needs to be based on evidence demonstrating the ecological features present, for example a building/site inspection report, photographic evidence, drawings or other detailed documentary evidence.

The BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment assessor is recognised as a member of the project team.

BRE Environmental Profile certificates - KBCN0777

BRE Environmental Profile certificates are compliant EPDs and can be used as evidence for the purposes of Mat 01.

BREEAM Accredited Professional (AP) – Retrospectively applying AP status - KBCN0308

The AP status cannot be applied retrospectively. The purpose of using an AP on a project is that they can advise and steer the development from the outset to maximise its BREEAM and sustainability performance for the least cost/risk. If early AP appointment and involvement does not occur then the aims and criteria of this BREEAM issue are not being met.    

BREEAM AP and BREEAM assessor – conflict of interest - KBCN0196

An individual can be appointed as a BREEAM/HQM Assessor and BREEAM AP/Sustainability Champion for the same project, where the Assessor also holds current and applicable AP/Sustainability Champion credentials. If this route is chosen, it must be made clear when submitting the assessment that both roles are being carried out by the same person and confirmed how potential conflicts of interest are identified and managed. This will mean, when appropriate, that the assessment can be escalated to a more detailed level of quality assurance checking.

BREEAM Certificate not available to include in Home User Guide - KBCN0315

If the BREEAM certificate has not been issued prior to occupation, information about how to obtain the certificate can be included in the Home User Guide. Ensures the occupant can obtain the certificate if required.

Building elements’ Materials - KBCN0190

For each element, only the materials that make up a significant majority of the building element (up to 80%) need to be responsibly sourced. Any material which comprise the remaining 20% can be included at the discretion of the assessor if it contributes to achieving more points. It should be noted that including additional elements from a lower tier level may reduce the number of points scored. Criterion 2.b To achieve points for any given building elements, at least 80% of the materials that make-up that element must be responsibly sourced i.e. classified in tier 1-7.

Carbon monoxide (CO) detector and dwellings - KBCN0272

A carbon monoxide detector is not needed in dwellings supplied only by electricity or communal/district heat. Centralised plant rooms would nonetheless require appropriate detection systems. CO detectors are only required in line with the criterion where there is combustion of relevant fuels within the dwelling . 

Change in main contractor - KBCN0645

In situations where the main contractor changes mid-project, for example where the original contractor goes into administration and is replaced by another main contractor, it is acceptable for the post-construction credits to be awarded based on the new contractor providing information on their activities. This is providing the project is yet to start on site. This is in effect assessing the issue using the Post Construction Assessment route instead of a Post Construction Review. However, if the project has already started on site and information about the site activities of the previous contractor is not available it would not be appropriate to award the credit solely based on the new contractor activities.

CHP NOx emission conversion - KBCN0592

If the CHP manufacturer cannot provide the NOx emissions in mg/kWh it is not possible to award any credits. The CHP manufacturer must provide the NOx emissions in mg/kWh, the conversion factors provided in the Technical Manual can only be used for boilers.

Communal CHP or boilers - KBCN0310

In a block of dwellings where the heating and hot water are supplied from a communal CHP or boiler there does not need to be a carbon monoxide detector in each invidual dwelling. However, there does need to be one in the plant room where the CHP unit or boiler is located. There is only a risk from Carbon Monoxide when fossil fuels are being burnt, with such communal systems this is in the plant room rather than the individual dwellings.

Communal cycle storage in adjacent building - KBCN1105

Communal cycle storage may be provided within an adjacent building to the dwellings provided the storage is  

Communal laundry facilities - KBCN0776

Credits can be awarded to all dwellings that have access to communal laundry facilities, provided the appliances meet the EU energy labelling requirements in Ene 05.

Company name changes - KBCN0947

To change the company name on the BREEAM licence agreement we require a licence application to be completed. For company name or address changes it is only necessary to complete sections 2, 5 and 6 with the necessary details and signatures. If the company registration number will be remaining the same you will only be required to complete a BREEAM Licence application form with the legal name change.  The licence renewal date will remain the same. If the company registration number has changed then a new licence agreement will need to be signed as it is a new company. This means it will be necessary to terminate the current licence agreement and all assessors will need to re-apply for a licence with the new company details. Please be aware there will be additional licence, registration and certification costs associated with this. It is the responsibility of the licensed company to ensure that BRE Global is informed of any changes to the licence agreement and licensed assessors. Please contact the BREEAM Licensing team for further information.

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.

Compliance: Conflicts of interest for the BREEAM assessor - KBCN0107

The assessor can be someone within the design team or work for the same company as the design team member(s) but the assessor must identify and manage any potential conflicts of interest. The assessor should also make BRE Global aware of the situation so that, should it prove appropriate, the certification report can be escalated to a more detailed level of quality assurance checking. 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/HQM assessor must not be personally responsible for producing such evidence. BREEAM/HQM is a 3rd party certification scheme. 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. 

Compliance: Manufacturer/supplier does not comply - KBCN0571

Where equipment is required to meet specific criteria to achieve compliance it is important to ensure the client seeks out manufacturers/suppliers that provide equipment which meets these criteria. If the chosen product / supplier cannot meet the criteria then the credit cannot be awarded. BREEAM seeks to recognise the use of equipment which offers the latest sustainable solutions.

Compliance: Statutory requirements - KBCN0395

BREEAM is an assessment method which promotes best practice in sustainable buildings. Matters critical to health and safety, as well as any mandatory requirements from statutory authorities which conflict with BREEAM criteria may take precedence over BREEAM requirements. In this instance, evidence would be required to demonstrate that this is the case. Note, this does not change the criteria requirements, and where BREEAM requirements are not met the design team must explore alternative options or specifications if the relevant credits are to be awarded.
17/04/18 Wording amended to clarify

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

Composting facilities – Size of internal containers - KBCN1663

If the internal containers are provided by the Local Authority and the assessor considers these to be appropriate, the minimum size requirement of seven litres can be disregarded.

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

Considerate construction – corporate registration - KBCN0905

Where credits are awarded for the assessment of the site against a compliant scheme, corporate registration, which assesses the contractor's overall operations and performance across multiple sites, is not in itself recognised. To award considerate construction credits, BREEAM requires the assessment of the specific assessed development, in line with the criteria.

Contractor not yet appointed at the design stage - KBCN000002

Where the contractor has not been engaged at the design stage certification, it is acceptable to award the credits based on a commitment. This commitment must be from a suitable member of the design team, and must detail the targets and criteria which must be met. Evidence must also confirm that the details in the commitment will form part of the contractual requirements. Note: This does not apply to the requirement for a pre-demolition/pre-refurbishment audit, which must be undertaken at Concept Design Stage.
12 Jul 2022 - Note added to clarify the scope of this guidance

Control systems for external lighting - KBCN1324

If it can be demonstrated that the control system for external lighting is equally or more energy-efficient than those is shown in the 'Definitions' section of Ene 07, then it may be used to show compliance with the criteria.

Converting a non-habitable room into a habitable room - KBCN1327

If the refurbishment project involves a room, for example a garage, being converted into a habitable room, the pre-refurbishment SAP assessment needs to include this space in the total floor area. The energy assessment of this space will need to be based on the default values in SAP Appendix S or actual values where available.

Cycle spaces – Folding bicycles and scooters - KBCN00024

The provision of cycle storage that is only suitable for folding bicycles or scooters is not compliant. Providing reduced storage space for folding bicycles or scooters in place of compliant cycle storage may limit future travel options.
14 03 2018 Wording clarified and reference to scooters included.

Cycle storage accessible through staircase - KBCN0639

While BRE does not rule out the possibility for cycle storage to be accessed via a staircase, health and safety considerations must be made, especially with regards to wet, icy and dark conditions. On reflection of the above, the assessor should be satisfied that the cycle storage location is easily accessible.

Cycle storage spaces – rounding - KBCN1103

The calculation for the required number of cycle spaces must always be rounded up.

Design stage evidence – Responsible sourcing of construction products assessment - KBCN0831

At design stage, a letter of commitment from the design team confirming that the products shall be procured from suppliers capable of supplying products covered by the required responsible sourcing certification scheme is acceptable. The letter must confirm the responsible sourcing certification schemes of the proposed products.

Design team meetings via conference call - KBCN0201

Design team meetings can be conducted via conference calls.

It can be difficult for design team members to be in the same place at the same time. Conference calls are a more sustainable way to conduct meetings. 

Designing out crime officer (DOCO) - KBCN000005

As stated in the ‘Secured by Design (SBD) New Homes 2014 Application and Checklist’ form, the Crime Prevention Design Adviser (CPDA) or Architectural Liaison Officer (ALO) has been renamed to Designing Out Crime Officer (DOCO) therefore correspondence or a copy of the report/feedback from the DOCO is acceptable as evidence for this issue.

Dwellings connected to a communal primary heating system - KBCN0160

Where a dwellings primary heating source is a communal system, it may not be possible to measure the energy consumption based on the incoming mains supply with the EDD (Energy Display Device) alone. Where heat is supplied to the dwelling as hot water, for example, a compatible heat meter will be required to calculate the energy consumption in kilowatt hours (kWh), which can then be transmitted to the EDD. The EDD must report on all applicable energy uses.

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.

Emissions from products – installations manufactured off-site - KBCN0137

Internal finishes to installations manufactured off-site such as elevators need to be assessed for the emissions from products criteria. The specification of internal finishes (regardless of whether they are installed on site or in the factory) will impact on VOC emissions. By specifying low VOC finishes, design teams will be encouraging manufacturers to consider the environmental impacts of their products.
10-Oct-2022 - Title amended to align with standard KBCN naming format for clarity and consistency. Made applicable to UK and International NC V6.

Emissions from products – paints and varnishes – historic buildings - KBCN1041

Scope This KBCN covers the use of paints and varnishes for the 'emissions from products' criteria. These are paints that: These paints may be used in new extensions to historic buildings (this KBCN is a manual compliance note in RFO 2014). Exemptions for use The use of such paints is allowable if: Localisation National conservation bodies and accepted grade listings applicable to this KBCN are: Remedial actions In all cases, procedures are in place to flush the building out for a sufficient period before occupation. This is to reduce the risks associated with VOCs in accordance with the criteria.
11-Oct-2022 KBCN restructured for clarity. Title amended for clarity. National conservation body for NI updated. Scheme applicability updated.

Emissions from products – scope of assessment - KBCN0212

General This issue covers any product installed or applied inside the inner surface of the building’s infiltration, vapour or waterproof membrane. Where this membrane is not present, it applies to the inside of the building envelope’s interior-facing thermal insulation layer. Only products that are installed or applied in parts of the building where their emissions are likely to affect indoor air quality need to be assessed. Paints and coatings Any decorative paints and varnishes that occupants are exposed to should be assessed. This is likely to include paints and coatings applied to walls, ceilings, floors, doors, etc. Whole products A finish applied to a product in the factory is assessed as a whole product, and not separately as a paint or coating. For instance, a wood panel has a finish applied in the factory. The whole panel, including all the elements that make up that panel, would need to comply with the requirements set for wood panel products in this issue. The finished product as a whole must meet the performance requirements / emission limits set in the manual.
11-Oct-2022 - Title amended for clarity and consistency. Content merged with KBCN0871.
10-Oct-2022 - Wording simplified. Scheme applicability updated.
16-Jun-2017 - Title and general principle amended to extend the applicability of the KBCN to all finishes. Paints specified for specialist applications covered in KBCN0872.

Emissions from products – specialist paints and coatings - KBCN0872

Where a paint or coating falls within: then the paint or coating must be assessed. Specialist paints and coatings are exempted from meeting the emission limits where there are no alternative products available that can perform the function, and still meet the emission limits. This must be clearly evidenced.
27-Oct-2022 Wording clarified. New compliance principle added from UKNC V6.
10-Oct-2022 Title amended for clarity. Scheme applicability updated.
13-Mar-2020 KBCN amended to clarify exceptions and applicability.
16-Jun-2017 Content merged with KBCN0212.

Emissions from products – alternative testing standard for paints - KBCN1003

Where stated in EU Directive 2004/42/CE, ASTMD 2369 can be used as an alternative the testing standard for paints where reactive diluents are present.
11-Oct-2022 - Title amended for clarity and consistency. Wording simplified.

Energy and water monitors located outside the dwelling - KBCN0781

Credits can be awarded if the energy monitor is located outside of the dwelling provided it is connected to a display within the dwelling. The occupant needs to see at regular intervals their energy and water use. 

Energy output from large scale renewable or low carbon technologies - KBCN0287

Where renewable energy generation calculations cannot be determined by the MCS installer it should be obtained from the SAP assessor or Domestic Energy Assessor. The output should be given in kWh/m²/annum.  

Energy Savings Trust website criteria - KBCN0140

In previous versions of BREEAM New Construction 2011, compliance with the Energy Saving Trust (EST) criteria for domestic scale appliances was required  for credit Ene 08 Energy Efficient Equipment. As this information is no longer readily available from EST, compliance can be demonstrated where domestic scale equipment meets the requirements for the EU Energy Efficiency Labelling Scheme as outlined in the latest BREEAM New Construction 2011 manual.

Enhancing ecological features without protecting existing features - KBCN0311

You may meet the criteria for ecological enhancement without meeting the criteria for protection of ecological features. This will achieve 1 exemplary credit. It may not be feasible to protect existing ecological features but still possible to enhance site ecology as part of the project. 

Erratum – References to Part F sections 5 and 7 - KBCN1607

In BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment we refer to the 2013 version of Part F where the section numbers differ from the current version of Part F. Please follow the following updated criteria which has the correct references to Part F: One credit — minimum ventilation requirements One credit can be awarded where the following whole dwelling is brought up to the following ventilation requirements: 1          A minimum level of background ventilation is provided (with trickle ventilators or other means of ventilation) for all habitable rooms, kitchens, utility rooms and bathrooms compliant with Section 3, Building Regulations Approved Document Part F, 2010. 2          A minimum level of extract ventilation is provided in all wet rooms (e.g. kitchen, utility and bathrooms), compliant with Section 1, Building Regulations Approved Document Part F 2010. 3          A minimum level of purge ventilation is provided in all habitable rooms and wet rooms, compliant with Section 3, Building Regulations Approved Document Part F, 2010. 4          The building is a historic building (CN4) and meets the requirements for historic buildings below. Two credits — advanced ventilation Two credits can be awarded where: 5          Ventilation is provided for the dwelling that meets the requirements of Section 1 of Building Regulations Part F in full. 6          Where the building is a historic building and meets the requirements for historic buildings (CN4). This is correcting the references within Part F which were not updated in the manual when Part F was updated.

Evidence for meeting minimum standards in listed buildings and buildings in a conservation areas - KBCN0156

The assessor and project team should work with the planning conservation officer to produce a report which demonstrates that the minimum standards have been met as far as practically possible. Where this is not possible, it would be acceptable for the assessor and project team to write a report and for the conservation officer to sign this off.

To acknowledge the limitations associated with listed buildings and buildings in a conservation areas.

Evidence requirements – responsible sourcing of materials at post-construction - KBCN1599

Whilst the UK BREEAM manuals are less prescriptive in the evidential requirements to allow flexibility, to ensure consistency across the schemes, it is expected that robust evidence should be provided to verify the source of any certified materials and how the assessor has confirmed the products and manufacturers used. Evidence supplied at post construction stage must reflect the completed building and confirm the responsibly sourced materials that have been procured and installed on the project. Supporting documentation is required to validate letters of confirmation or schedules of materials. Evidence provided could include proof of purchase, for example, invoices, delivery tickets, purchase orders or correspondence from suppliers. This may be an example for each material sourced, rather than every delivery ticket for instance.  Alternatively, evidence of the use of the responsibly sourced materials may include as-built drawings, O&M documentation or site photographs.

Evidence: Final design/’as-built’ drawings as evidence - KBCN0393

Where drawings are not clearly marked to indicate their 'as-built' status, additional evidence would need to be provided by the design team to confirm the drawings represent the completed development and that there have been no changes relevant to the BREEAM/HQM assessment. This could, for example, be a written confirmation from the architect or the contractor, as appropriate.

Excluding excavation waste from ‘Diversion of resources from landfill’ - KBCN0226

Excavation waste should not be included and assessed against the requirements under ‘Diversion of resources from landfill’. This also applies to BREEAM Communities RE05 - 3rd/4th credits.  

Flood risk – Site situated across numerous flood zones - KBCN0532

Where a site is situated across more than one flood zone, the flood zone with the highest probability of flooding, i.e. the worst case scenario, must be considered for the purpose of the BREEAM assessment. An exception to this would be where the areas in the higher probability zone include only soft landscaping and it can be demonstrated that access to the building will be maintained in a flooding event. This is to ensure that the site has adequately managed the worst case scenario level of flood risk associated with the site's location. 
22/07/2022 Applicability to HQM One confirmed
07/03/2018 Updated to include circumstances where an exception may apply.

Flood risk – Using PPS25 to carry out a FRA - KBCN0252

Although the government has scrapped PPS25, assessors can continue to use either this guidance or the more recent online guide, 'Flood risk and coastal change' - The PPS25 document referred to in the manual is still considered good practice  

Flow rate for ‘click’ taps - KBCN0543

The flow rate for click taps should be taken as the maximum flow rate, as quoted by the manufacturer, of the lower range before the water break or 'click'. All water consumption is based on 'typical' use patterns and it is assumed that most operations of 'click' taps will be at the lower level.

Flow restrictors - KBCN0976

If a flow restrictor can be demonstrated to effectively reduce the flow of water and it is integral to the fitting or supply pipework (ie not easily removed by the building occupant), this can be accounted for in calculations for this Issue. Such devices must be fit-for-purpose. Proprietary flow restrictors, therefore partly-closed isolation valves, for example, are not an acceptable solution.

FSC and PEFC Mixed Sources certified timber - KBCN00091

Products labelled: Meet the BREEAM responsible sourcing requirements. This means any such products: Products carrying the FSC Mix label contain at least 70% FSC certified and recycled material. These products may contain a small proportion of FSC Controlled Wood (KBCN00054). However for BREEAM compliance, the FSC Mix label is sufficient to meet our requirements.
14-Mar-2024 - Wording clarified and expanded. Relevant prerequisites and requirements clarified. Scheme applicability updated.

FSC Controlled Wood - KBCN00054

The FSC Controlled Wood label minimises the risk that wood comes from illegal or controversial sources, however it does not eliminate this risk. Therefore, products which are: Do not meet the BREEAM definition of responsibly sourced. Where FSC Mix labelled products contain FSC Controlled Wood, see KBCN00091. This means that any such products:
14-Mar-2024 - Wording clarified and expanded. Relevant prerequisites and requirements clarified. Scheme applicability updated.

GN18 BREEAM Recognised Responsible Sourcing Certification Schemes and BREEAM Scheme Applicability - KBCN0723

Latest version: v3.7, May 2023 BREEAM awards credits for responsibly sourcing construction products (typically under the Mat 03 issue) to encourage responsible product specification and procurement in construction. To achieve these credits, applicable specified products (as listed in the relevant technical manual) must be covered by an Environmental Management System (EMS) or a responsible sourcing certification scheme (RSCS) recognised by BREEAM. Guidance Note 18 lists the responsible sourcing certifications schemes recognised by BREEAM along with the relevant summary scores to be used in BREEAM assessments. Download Guidance Note 18 Download Guidance Note 18 v2.0 (licensed assessors only - optional for projects registered prior to release of v3.0 in September 2016) View all Guidance Notes on BREEAM Projects (licensed assessors only)

Green Guide ratings for domestic buildings of more than four storeys high - KBCN1106

For domestic projects of greater than 4 storeys it is advised to use the domestic ratings for the first four storeys and commercial ratings for the higher storeys. If the designed structure of the first four storeys are more similar to commercial than domestic due to the load of a higher structure, you may use the commercial ratings for the whole building. This approach ensures the most appropriate ratings are used based on the characteristics of the building. 

Green-roofs - KBCN0263

When assessing green roofs,  only the structural elements of the roof construction need to be considered i.e. the waterproof layer and above can be excluded. Where Green Guide is being used to assess the issue, it is likely that the online Green Guide Calculator will need to be used to provide a rating for the roof construction. HQM - For the purpose of HQM, green roofs fall under 3.3 Specialist roof systems therefore should be included in the IMPACT model.

Grid NOx emission factors - KBCN0151

The Grid NOx emission factors should be compliant and relevant to the scheme of the development under assessment i.e. BREEAM NC 2011/ 2014 or BREEAM 2008. In the same way that we do not apply the more stringent requirements of some BREEAM NC 2011 / 2014 Issues retrospectively to 2008 schemes, for a BREEAM 2008 scheme, the emission figures stated in the relevant manual must be used.
09 Aug 2023 - Applicability to IRFO 2015 removed due to conflict with the guidance.

Heat pumps powered by renewable energy - KBCN0422

Where renewable energy is used partially to offset grid electricity in heat pumps, this can contribute towards a reduction in equivalent NOx emissions. To account for seasonal variations in renewable energy generation, this must be calculated over the course of a year.

Issues where credits can be awarded by default - KBCN0157

Wat 02 and Hea 02 have credits that can be awarded by default in certain circumstances as clarified in the manual.

The scheme includes criteria which can be applied to all house types and in general, for all Issues, the credits must be awarded or withheld based on compliance. The above are exceptions to this principle.

Location of the Refurbishment Green Guide Calculator? - KBCN0288

The Refurbishment Green Guide Calculator is within the generic Green Guide Calculator on the BRE Website. When adding a new specification please select 'Refurbishment - Domestic' as the name of the scheme. This will allow you to specify 'reused' elements which can have a green guide rating up to A+(6)  

Mat 01 / Mat 03 calculator not big enough - KBCN0647

If a project has more specifications than there is rows available in the tool you can group specifications that have the same green guide rating/responsible sourcing level with each of the specifications with the same rating listed in the same row. The proportion that they contribute to the overall area is also combined. For example where a project has 30 different upper floor specifications, if 10 upper floor specifications are A+, 10 are A, 5 are B and 5 are C then you would only need to use 4 lines.

Material not listed in the Green Guide calculator - KBCN0377

Please refer to Guidance Note GN17 'Bespoke Green Guide Specification Guidance' available from the BREEAM Extranet under 'Green Guide to Specification - Assessor information'

Measuring the flow rate of domestic components - KBCN0641

On site testing can be carried out by an appropriate professional to determine the flow rate and capacity of domestic components. This must be overseen by the client’s facilities manager and as-built drawings must be provided to confirm the presence and location of the components and any flow restrictors. Note that the conditions under which the testing is completed must be recorded, e.g. the pressure and the temperature of the water for taps. The assessor could conduct the test provided they are able to carry it out accurately.
15/02/2021: amended to cover all component types.

Minimum standard for listed buildings and buildings in a conservation area - KBCN0207

A report must be produced in consultation with the Conservation Officer to include the fabric report detailing explicit restrictions and demonstrating that energy efficiency measures elsewhere in the building have been maximised. Where minimum standards cannot be met, this must be fully justified. This is needed to justify that as much as possible can be done within the restrictions imposed by the listed status. 

New EU energy labels - KBCN1445


In recent years, the market for domestic-scale appliances has seen excellent progress, with increasingly energy-efficient products becoming widely available. Consequently, the A-rated category was extended over time to include A+, A++, and A+++ ratings. Meanwhile, the lower ratings, such as E, F and G have become increasingly rare. It was clear that an adjustment to a new, simpler set of ratings was required.

Statutory Changes

From 1st March 2021, the European Commission requires new, updated energy labels of A to G for dishwashers, washing machines, fridges and electronic displays. Lamps will require the new ratings from 1st September 2021 and requirements for re-labelling tumble dryers are yet to be confirmed. This means:

Changes for BREEAM and HQM

As a result of the introduction of the new EU ratings and in order to maintain the original intent of the BREEAM criteria, the approach for our schemes has had to change. It is not possible to establish direct equivalence between the old and new energy labels, therefore the updated approach will be to recognise the best-performing 25% of each appliance type, based on a comprehensive market sample. The table below shows how this translates into the new EU Energy Labels for different appliance types.

Appliance type

Rating required

Fridges, fridge-freezers, freezers
Washing machines
D - D
  This approach will ensure that BREEAM continues to drive the energy efficiency of appliances by demonstrating a meaningful reduction in energy consumption. Note that these new requirements will be reviewed from time to time and may be subject to change. Where assessments have already specified (and can procure) products bearing the old labels, it is acceptable to follow the previous criteria. However, where products bear the new label and for all assessments registered after 31/05/2021, the new criteria must be met.  
17 Apr 2023 - Applicability to NC2013 confirmed.
21 Mar 2022 - Confirmation added that washer-dryers require a D rating for both cycles
23 Nov 2021 - Reference to 'freezers' added to appliance types
12 May 2021 - Guidance updated and applicability to HQM One and BREEAM NOR confirmed

Non-fixed internal lighting, eg plug-in desk and floor lamps - KBCN0486

Such lighting does not need to be assessed, as only fixed lighting needs to be included.

Open plan living room, dining room and kitchen - KBCN0779

The home office can be located in the dining room area of an open plan living room, dining room and kitchen. This only applies to 1 bedroom or studio flats. There will be less disturbance from the kitchen and lounge in a single occupancy dwelling compared to multiple occupancy. 

Outstanding Invoices – Account suspensions - KBCN0998

If an invoice remains outstanding for 75 days or more, Once an invoice reaches 75 days your account is suspended and we are unable to complete any technical queries, bespoke applications, licences, registrations or QA’s until the invoices have been settled fully. We run our debt list weekly on a Monday, therefore if you are on the list on the Monday and pay that same day you will not be removed until the following weekly list is run.  

Portable clothes drying racks - KBCN0164

Portable clothes drying racks are not compliant. These are not a fixed feature of the built asset and could be removed or moved to rooms which are not sufficiently ventilated.

Pre-assessment site visit using Checklist A-1 - KBCN0254

It is not a strict requirement to conduct a pre-refurbishment site visit, however this is useful in order to collect data on the existing building. Checklist A1 sets out all the issues that the assessor or other member of the design team may need to review for the existing dwelling's performance. Checklist A-1 provides guidance to assessors for checking existing building features.

Pre-demolition audit requirement - KBCN0243

Where the site demolition/clearance does not form part of the principal contractor’s works, but has been undertaken by the developer for the purposes of enabling the assessed development, a pre-demolition audit must be carried out and referenced within the SWMP as per the guidance. Where justification and robust evidence can be provided, the following exceptions may apply: This requirement seeks to encourage good practice by developers and design teams in relation to previously developed sites.
28.03.2022 Reference to pre-refurbishment audit removed, and separate KBCN1504 drafted for pre-refurbishment audit exemptions.
11.12.2019 Additional exception added to align with KBCN1257 and guidance re-structured for clarity
22.11.2017 Reference added to the pre-refurbishment audit for RFO assessments.
15.11.2017 Wording amended for clarity

Process Notes - KBCN0611

Process notes can be accessed by licensed assessors here. When a new process note has been released, you may be required to tick the box to confirm you have read the note to be able to access other documents in BREEAM Projects. To do this scroll to the bottom of the Process Note index page and tick the box and click next.  

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.

Process: Registration date and applicable scheme manual issue - KBCN0708

Typically the scheme technical manual issue which is current when a project is registered should be used for the assessment. For example, if a BREEAM UK New Construction 2014 development was registered on 01/07/2016, the current issue of the scheme technical manual at that point would be issue 4.1, which was published on 11/03/2016 (the next issue 5.0 of the technical manual was published on 05/09/2016). However, it is permissible for the assessor to decide to use a later issue of the technical manual. The scheme technical manual version and issue used for the assessment should be clearly referenced within the assessment report. Note that in any case, the same technical manual version and issue should be used for the entire assessment. It is not acceptable to assess different credits based on different issues of the technical manual and it is not acceptable to change issues between submissions of the assessment.
26 09 17 Clarification added that the 'Issue' of the technical manual may not be changed between assessment submissions

Projects which cannot be assessed under BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment - KBCN0159

Projects classed as new-build dwellings, non-domestic buildings, buildings containing rooms for residential purposes (e.g. student halls of residence) and buildings outside of the UK cannot be assessed under BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment. A full definition can be found in the scope section of the manual.  Generally, dwellings subject to Building Regulations Approved Document Part L1b will fall under the scope of BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment.

Raised access floors - KBCN00018

For the purposes of Mat 03, raised access floors should be considered as part of the floor structure. HQM - Applies to HQM's Responsible Sourcing of Construction Products assessment issue.

Registration transfer of a current version - KBCN0949

Transferring assessments takes place to ensure a previous version is maintained when the assessment company changes.   If your project is a current version, there is no requirement to use the transfer option.  Instead you should submit the details of the registration as a new current version using the online registration form.

Responsible construction practices – Multiple contractors on the same project - KBCN0352

It is the site that must comply with BREEAM issues rather than any individual contractor. Several different contractors may have obligations to meet compliance criteria. One of the contractors and/or site managers may have responsibility for ensuring compliance during site operations. It is ultimately the client/project team's responsibility to determine and demonstrate compliance.

SAP box number for the energy efficiency rating (EER) - KBCN1325

The energy efficiency rating (EER) should be taken from box number 258 under section 11a. If the dwellings you are assessing are supplied by community scale CHP please use SAP Box 358 under section 11b

SAP box number if community scale CHP is used - KBCN0274

If the dwellings you are assessing are supplied by community scale CHP please use SAP Box 358 under section 11b CHP information is in a separate section of the SAP worksheet

Scope of ‘Building services’ location/use category - KBCN000001

'Building services' refers to the equipment and distribution systems specified for providing heating, power, ventilation, lighting, air-conditioning and domestic water services in a building. As a minimum, this location/use category should include the equipment and controls specified for the building services. Refer to Guidance Note GN24: Demonstrating Compliance with BREEAM Issue Mat 03 issue for more information.
18/10/2018  Applicability to UK NC2018 removed; relevant guidance is included in the technical manual.

Scope: Mixed BREEAM CSH/HQM developments - KBCN0383

In general terms, any relevant areas or facilities which serve the building should be included in the BREEAM assessment, regardless of whether they are also assessed under CSH/HQM. Whilst CSH is a Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) scheme, it was developed by BRE Global and the requirements are generally aligned with BREEAM. This should not, therefore involve the duplication of work, but means that the same evidence can be applied to each scheme as appropriate.  

Shower over bath and a separate shower - KBCN0774

To calculate the water use in this scenario, the flow rates of both showers need to be entered into the water calculator tool as well as the capacity of the bath.

Shower with multiple shower heads - KBCN0855

To calculate the water use of a shower with more than one shower head, one of the following should be done:
22 Feb 2024 - Applied to BIU, BREEAM NC and RFO standards

Site wide averaging of internal lighting - KBCN0375

The watts/m2 of floor area should be calculated for each individual dwelling and cannot be averaged across a site of many dwellings.

Solid concrete washout - KBCN00063

Solid concrete washout waste should be included in the waste resource efficiency benchmarks.  

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).

Technical: Location of scheme technical documents - KBCN00022

All scheme technical manuals are available to view and download on the BREEAM website Always refer to the BREEAM website to make sure that you have access to the most up-to-date version of the relevant scheme technical manual.

Thermographic survey – Standards for qualification of personnel - KBCN0689

Assessors can accept reports from thermographers who hold a suitable Infrared Thermographic Testing (TT) qualification under one of the following standards, depending on which one was current at the time of the thermographer's qualification:
13-Mar-2017 - Compliance note amended to allow the applicability of standards based on the time of the thermographer's qualification, rather than the BREEAM scheme version.
03-Nov-2021 - Above text added to issue 2.0 of the UK RFO 2014 technical manual. The text is still relevant to previous issues of the manual.
07-Mar-2023 - Updated title to clarify that this KBCN relates to standards for the qualification of personnel.

Tools: Use of reissued tools - KBCN0384

The most up-to-date version of an excel tool should be downloaded from the BREEAM Assessor's Extranet when a new assessment is started. If an updated tool is subsequently released then it will not be necessary to use the updated tool instead of the version already being used. The assessor can choose to use the updated tool if they wish. When new tool versions are released, assessors are notified through the monthly Process Note. We would expect Assessors to review the 'Schedule of Changes' tab when an updated tool is released. If fundamental changes have been made to the tool and they will affect the results for the issue in question please contact BRE for guidance.

Towel rails - KBCN00081

Towel rails cannot count towards the drying line requirements. Clothes drying lines are provided to reduce the need to tumble drying clothes, which uses a lot of energy. Using towel rails to dry clothes would require the potentially damp towels to be stored while the clothes dry. This is inconvenient and therefore means the aim of the credit is less likely to be met. 

U-values - KBCN0191

U-Values should be based on the data shown in section 3 of the SAP assessment, or in the case of RdSAP should be provided from your Domestic Energy Assessor.  

Use of a tablet or smart phone - KBCN0769

A tablet or smart phone can be used instead of a stand-alone device provided the following conditions are met:
  1. There is broadband available to the home
  2. The developer is certain that the residents will have a device on which the app can be used.  If it is a possibility that residents do not have a device on which the app can be used, then a compatible device should be included in the dwelling
  3. The app is capable of displaying the information listed in the criterion.
  4. The residents will be informed of the existence of the app
This compliance note has been added because of the increase in the number of homes that have access to internet and due to the increase in ownership of smart phones and tablets
08/05/2019 Wording amended to make applicable to the requirements for both energy display devices and smart water meters.

Using BRE SMARTWaste tool - KBCN0236

BRE SMARTWaste may be helpful in demonstrating the construction waste benchmarks; however its use is not compulsory to achieve the credits. Reference to the SMARTWaste tool has been included in the issue as an example of a tool that can be used to manage and monitor waste generated during construction.  

Using different SAP versions (Full SAP or RdSAP) for pre and post-refurbishment - KBCN0202

You may use either Full SAP or RdSAP to calculate the energy efficiency rating. We allow both versions of SAP for flexibility and to help keep costs down, but we recommend that you use Full SAP both before and after refurbishment as this will give a more accurate result.

Using water from natural underground sources to offset water consumption - KBCN00094

Water from natural underground sources (for instance aquifer water accessed via boreholes) cannot be used to offset: A significant amount of water used for public consumption is already drawn from aquifers. Private boreholes may be drawing water from the same sources as public utility companies.
27-Mar-2024 - Title and text updated to broaden definition. Scheme applicability updated.

Washer dryers - KBCN0699

Where a washer dryer is specified, the water consumption figure for the wash and dry cycle should be used. The drying cycle of a washer dryer is taken into account because it usually uses water during this drying process (e.g. for cooling during the drying cycle) and in some cases, this water usage can be significant.
18-Nov-2022 - Updated to apply to BREEAM In-Use Version 6

Wine coolers - KBCN0374

Wine coolers fall outside of the scope of this issue therefore do not need to meet the criteria for fridges. HQM - this means they do not need to be included in HQM's Energy Forecast and Cost bolt-on reporting tool.

[KBCN withdrawn] ~ Erratum – Table 1 in GN22 v2.5 - KBCN1436

Table 1 in V2.5 of GN22 has two footnote symbols missing: • Product Type column – Paints and varnishes should read Paints and varnishes* • Product Type column – Wood panels should read Wood panels^
10-Oct-2022 KBCN withdrawn as GN22 has been re-issued with fixes.

[KBCN withdrawn] ~ Flood risk – Environment Agency (EA) confirm the site is in ‘low flood risk’ area This KBCN has been withdrawn and is no longer valid. This is because its content was created on the basis of a very specific case and should not be applied generally. EA confirmation is no more robust or detailed than reference to flood maps, which are not in themselves compliant without a FRA.
KBCN withdrawn on 17/03/17:

If the EA have confirmed, in writing, that the site has a low flood risk and that a Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) is not required then this is acceptable and the two credits can be awarded. The EA's written confirmation is a sufficient indication that an appropriate level of flood risk assessment has been completed. Please note that the use of the EA flood maps without this additional confirmation is not acceptable.

[KBCN withdrawn] ~ VOC product types – other - KBCN0698

Where a product does not appear to fit into any of the defined VOC product types listed in the manual this does not mean it is automatically exempt from being assessed. If it is similar to one of the listed product types and clearly could have an impact on VOC levels it should normally be assessed. In such cases the supplier/manufacturer should seek to demonstrate that their product meets the equivalent standards required for the closest matching product type.
19-Oct-2022 - KBCN replaced by KBCN0872.

[KBCN withdrawn] ~ VOC testing – alternative methods for compliance for paints and varnishes - KBCN0492

Manufacturers' calculations of VOC content, based on the constituent ingredients, can be used to demonstrate compliance with the testing requirement for paints and varnishes instead of ISO 11890-2:2013.
11-Oct-2022 - KBCN is withdrawn because it is a duplicate of KBCN0452.

Information correct as of 15thJuly 2024. Please see for the latest compliance information.