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Information correct as of 27thJanuary 2022. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.

‘Safe pedestrian routes’ – Definition and note - KBCN1481

The note below, found within the 'Safe pedestrian routes' definition, has been corrected. Please refer to the bold text within the note and corrections below: 'Pedestrian routes that are outside of the development site and therefore not within the control of the developer do not need to meet the above requirements. However it must be demonstrated that there is a pedestrian route, which is not shared with vehicular traffic, from the site boundary to the transport node (for example via pavements, footpaths, pedestrian crossings). The route shall be signposted.' 'the transport node' should be replaced with 'any relevant amenities recognised within this Issue'. 'The route shall be signposted.' should be replaced with 'The route should be appropriately signposted within the development boundary'

Amenities – Pharmacy within hospital - KBCN0321

A publicly accessible pharmacy would typically be required in order to constitute a suitable amenity. If it can be confirmed that an internal pharmacy (in Northern Ireland this may also include an onsite controlled medical dispensary) will provide prescribed medicines for building users, this is acceptable.  

Balcony is an irregular shape - KBCN1391

Where the balcony is not of a standard rectangular shape, this is acceptable as long as it is of a sufficient size to accommodate a small table and sufficient number of chairs for each occupant. This needs to evidenced in the HQM assessment. Additionally, where private space credits are awarded, the HQM assessor must be satisfied that the proposed balcony is in keeping with the aim and benefits of the issue for the occupants of the home.  

Bristol Transport Access Level (BrisTAL) - KBCN1426

The Bristol Transport Access Level (BrisTAL) method provides a way of measuring the level of public transport connectivity within the city of Bristol. It is derived from the Public Transport Accessibility Level (PTAL) approach used by Transport for London. As such, the ‘Access Index (AI)’ output from BrisTAL can be used as evidence of compliance against the BREEAM and HQM Accessibility Index requirements. Please note that project teams must ensure that they use the latest version of BrisTAL, which is available here: https://maps.bristol.gov.uk/pinpoint/  

Communal space requirements- Public Parks - KBCN0844

Public parks cannot contribute to the communal space area requirements for crit 3. Crit1 under this issue awards credits for having access to public recreational space. Including public recreation spaces in the communal space calculations would therefore lead to double counting.

Compliance Note CN3 ‘Cycle route’ clarification - KBCN0845

Shared cyclist routes referred to in Point 3 under CN3 ' Cycle route'  relate to two way low flow cycle routes. Where these are shared with pedestrian routes , a minimum width of 3m is required.  

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 spaces – rounding - KBCN1103

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

Cycle storage within the curtilage of a home - KBCN0830

Where credits for '01 Cycle Storage' are sought and the cycle storage is located within the curtilage of the home, crit 3 does not apply. In the above scenario where credits are also being sought for '02 Cycle Networks', access from the cycle storage to a pedestrian or cycle route is not permitted through the home.  

Dedicated cycle paths in the absence of cycle facilities - KBCN00039

Safe cycle access needs to be provided even if there are no dedicated cycle facilities. The dedicated cycle paths will generally need to be provided to the main entrance(s) of the building along routes likely to be used by cyclists through the site.  The design team are required to determine what is required to satisfy the intent of the criteria. Cycle access and cyclists' facilities are assessed independently of each other. Building users may cycle even if the building does not have cycle storage facilities and so safe and secure access to and from the building must be provided.

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.

Erratum – Accessibility Index – HQM Transport calculator - KBCN1276

The Accessibility Index in the HQM Transport calculator is based on the availability of public transport during peak times only. Wording in the manual should read as follows: Criterion 2.c should read as follows: The average number of services stopping per hour at each compliant node during peak times.  The Methodology for 'Calculating the average number of services' should read as follows: For the purpose of the calculation, the frequency of public transport is the average number of services per hour. This is calculated by determining the number of stopping services at the node during peak times, divided by the number of hours within that period.   

Existing cycle routes - KBCN0828

Where credits for cycle networks are being sought using existing cycle routes then  it must be ensured that these meet the requirements of CN3 'Cycle route'.      

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. 
07/03/2018 Updated to include circumstances where an exception may apply.

Greater Manchester Accessibility Level (GMAL) - KBCN1394

The Greater Manchester Accessibility Levels (GMAL) method has been created to provide a way of measuring the density of public transport provision at any location within the Greater Manchester region. It is derived from the Public Transport Accessibility Level (PTAL) approach used by Transport for London. As such, the Greater Manchester Accessibility Index (GMAI) scores generated by the GMAL method can be used as evidence of compliance against the BREEAM and HQM Accessibility Index requirements. Please note that project teams must ensure that they use the latest version of the GMAL dataset, which is available from the data.gov.uk website (https://data.gov.uk/dataset/d9dfbf0a-3cd7-4b12-a39f-0ec717423ee4/gm-accessibility-levels-gmal).

Growing space on request - KBCN1308

Having growing space available on request to interested occupants is not compliant, if this space does not have the capacity outlined in the 'dedicated growing space' compliance note, in the event that all occupants wanted to use the growing space.

No car parking provisions within the development - KBCN0832

The 'electric charging points' credits cannot be awarded by default where there is no car parking provision within a development. In such scenarios the aim of the issue to promote alternative sustainable transport options and reducing the dependency on traditionally fueled cars, will not be met.

Private gardens - KBCN0850

Private gardens (where they meet the access requirements stated in the definitions) are acceptable for the purpose of  demonstrating compliance with the Private Space credits.  

Private space; Minimum depth requirement for three or more bedrooms - KBCN0671

The 1.5m minimum depth requirement also applies to dwellings with more than two bedrooms where private space credits are being pursued. The minimum depth requirement is not cumulative and is set at 1.5m across the board. The note about the cumulative increase (below table 4) relates to the overall space requirements as noted in table 4 title. Formatting error in table 4.

Public transport node distance - KBCN1307

There is no defined threshold for relevant public transport nodes, for the purposes of calculating the accessibility index (AI) score in HQM. The HQM Transport Calculator tool gives increasingly more contribution to the AI score, the closer public transport nodes are to the assessed home. The assessor should use their judgement to include public transport nodes that may reasonably be used by occupants, in-practice. This approach is taken in order to recognise the relative value of having access to public transport nodes, even if they are slightly beyond a clear-cut threshold or are well beyond walking distance but still may be used, even if it is to a lesser extent.

Publicly accessible car club - KBCN0836

In general, a publicly accessible car club is considered a compliant solution for meeting crit 7, provided these are accessible to the occupants, are within 650m walking distances from the home via a safe pedestrian route. For confirmation on whether a particular publicly accessible car club solution is acceptable, please contact us.  

Recommendations made by a SQSS - KBCN0982

Where a facility or function (required by the design brief, local authority and other parts of HQM) increases the security risk, the recommendations from a SQSS should seek to reduce the security risk but without significantly diminishing the facility or function. There shall be no recommendation to remove a facility or function. e.g. if an allotment forms part of the design brief, the SQSS should not recommend it is removed or significantly diminished on the basis that it may be a security risk. They should instead make recommendations to improve the security of the allotment.

SABRE Registered Professional as a Suitably Qualified Security Specialist (SQSS) - KBCN1375

A SABRE registered professional that meets the requirements outlined in the ‘SQSS’ definition is deemed to be an SQSS for the purposes of HQM. A full list of SABRE registered professionals can be found here: http://www.redbooklive.com

Safe pedestrian routes: definition, measurement and verification - KBCN0238

Safe pedestrian routes include pavements and safe crossing points or, where provided, dedicated controlled crossing points. A safe crossing point could also be a tactile crossing that drops to the level of the road, which could be used by wheelchair users. An element of assessor judgement is required and if in doubt, their justification of safe crossing points should be provided. For measuring the distance, for example, you could measure a safe pedestrian route along a pavement, across a road at a safe point and along the pavement on the other side.  The distance should not be measured diagonally across a road along the most direct route. In terms of evidence, Google Maps may be used, provided that the scale is appropriate and clearly indicated. In order to demonstrate that the route is ‘safe’, ‘Streetview’ may be acceptable for Design Stage evidence, however this should be verified by the assessor’s site inspection and photographs of any key areas for the Post Construction Review. The assessor's site inspection is an important aspect of the assessment of this issue as it must confirm that the Google Maps and Streetview information is current, and may help to identify safe crossing points or hazards which may not be apparent from a desktop study. The purpose of requiring ‘safe pedestrian routes’ is to ensure that there are suitable pavements and that distances are not measured using the shortest route, ignoring safety issues. If a pedestrian crossing or crossing island is available to assist crossing busy road, the route and distance should account for this.

Secured By Design certificates - KBCN1392

A SBD Gold or Silver certificate may be used as evidence that security measures incorporated in the dwelling/s are 3rd party certificated. However, an SBD Gold or Silver certificate on its own is not sufficient to award credits in this issue. This is because a documented Security Needs Assessment (SNA) provides evidence that the security measures recommended for incorporation into the development mitigate the site specific risks in a proportionate and well-designed manner.

Security needs assessment (SNA) – Formal consultation with relevant stakeholders - KBCN1470

Providing the SQSS can provide evidence of reasonable attempts to obtain feedback from relevant stakeholders, this aspect of the SNA requirements will be satisfied. In the event that a relevant stakeholder does not provide a response when consulted (e.g. if they do not respond following a reasonable period, or they confirm that are unable to deal with the enquiry), it would be expected that SQSS consider alternative sources of information. For example, the SQSS may decide to refer to freely-available crime data on the Police UK website, and include a summary or analysis of this in their SNA.
13 Sep 2021 Applicability to HQM confirmed

Shared cycle storage between two apartment blocks - KBCN1323

In principle, it is possible for cycle spaces within two or more separate buildings (e.g. apartment blocks) can be shared for the purposes of adequate cycle storage if the following can be assured:

Please note that these scenarios need to be assessed on a case by case basis. Please raise a technical query with details and plans that demonstrate how the above points have been addressed, for further consideration.

Site clearance prior to purchase of the site - KBCN0916

For sites cleared prior to purchase of the site and less than five years before assessment, a Suitably Qualified Ecologist should estimate the site’s ecological value immediately prior to clearance using available desktop information (including aerial photography) and the landscape type/area surrounding the site. Where it is not possible for the ecologists to determine that the site was of low ecological value prior to the site clearance then the credits must be withheld, i.e. where there is no evidence and therefore justification for awarding the credits. For sites cleared more than five years ago, the ecological value of the site is to be based on the current situation on the basis that within five years, ecological features would have started to re-establish themselves and therefore act as an indicator of the site’s ecological value.

Sites with no invasive or diseased species - KBCN0847

Where invasive or diseased species are not present, credits are not automatically awarded for the 'Protecting against invasive or diseased species on site' criteria. This is because these credits intend to recognise developments using sites that are contaminated by invasive or diseased species. If these species are not present the aim of these credits are therefore not being met. This is part of the broader effort to encourage the use of contaminated land wherever possible, similar to the way credits are awarded for developments on sites that have been previously developed.

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).

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.

The distance of the cycle route from the cycle storage - KBCN0826

There is currently no set requirement in the HQM technical manual with regards to the distance the cycle route must be from the cycle storage. The HQM assessor should use their discretion to decide whether the distance in their specific scenario is acceptable.  

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.

Water quality credits clarification - KBCN1283

Crit 10 under the 'Water Quality' section states: 'The water quality credits are only available where at least 3 credits are sought in the comprehensive route.' Where it says 'sought' above, this should be interpreted as 'achieved'. Therefore the 'water quality' credits can only be awarded where 3 credits have been achieved in the comprehensive route.

Watercourse pollution from indoor parking - KBCN0545

If the design team can demonstrate that there will be absolutely no run-off from the indoor parking then the intent of the credit will be met. However, such proof would also have to demonstrate that no hydrocarbon spillage from vehicles found its way into the watercourse/sewer. It is likely that there would be water ingress from outside or that internal parking areas would have drains fitted and be cleaned regularly. In such conditions, the criteria are still applicable. The intent of this criteria is to ensure no hydrocarbons run off to any watercourse.

‘Communal space’ definition - KBCN1452

It is acceptable for communal space to be accessible to the public and it is not required that access is restricted to just the occupants of the homes within the development.

‘Previously Developed Land’ clarifications - KBCN0757

Please see below clarifications related to crit 1 and the definition of 'Previously developed land' provided in the manual:

 •‘Proposed development’ is defined as ‘Any new development (building, hard landscaping, car park and access roads) and temporary works (e.g. temporary offices/parking, material/machinery storage) that falls within the boundary of the assessed site.’

 •Undeveloped areas of the site to be used for temporary works are not considered as ‘previously developed land’ unless they have been defined as ‘land of low ecological value’.

•Any land on the site that is being developed and any disturbances to land that was previously undeveloped fall outside the definition of ‘previously developed land’.


Information correct as of 27thJanuary 2022. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.