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00 General

Information correct as of 5thMay 2021. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.

Access to HQM Logos, Marks and Badges - KBCN0995

All licensed HQM assessors should have access to the HQM ‘Logos, Marks and Badges Folder’ via BREEAM Projects

Applicability of HQM to holiday homes or refurbished homes - KBCN0865

To be able to  achieve a HQM rating, the following conditions must be met:

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

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 (assuming that the individual is qualified in both of these roles).  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.

Building warranty for developer managed homes - KBCN0673

The mandatory requirement for a compliant building warranty is still applicable where the developer is responsible for managing the home after construction, even if they have their own internal processes for assuring support to the occupants. Although internal processes may be in place to protect the occupant, there is limited guarantee that this protection will be in place for the duration of time that a recognised warranty lasts for (e.g. if the development is sold). Warranties from providers that comply with the Consumer Code for Home Builders or the Trading Standards Institute, benefit from a minimum level of occupant protection and support that is assured by independent third parties. This level of support is fundamental to the credibility of HQM assessed homes. If a specific scenario is present that cannot meet this requirement or provides the same (or better) level of support, please submit a technical query with documentary evidence for further review.

Comparison between Code for Sustainable Homes (CfSH) and Home Quality Mark (HQM) - KBCN0672

It is difficult to draw comparisons between Code for sustainable homes (CfSH) and Home Quality Mark (HQM) schemes as it is not a like for like comparison. Although in principle CfSH and HQM seem similar in terms of some of the technical areas they consider, fundamentally  their approaches and structures are very different. For example, specific technical content is very different and HQM is much more flexible as a scheme with only one mandatory requirement, which is important as a voluntary scheme. The outputs are also very different with any star rating considered as 'better' than minimum standards. The indicator scores within HQM also allow value to be drawn out from dwellings to a deeper level, while using a language that is consumer friendly. We will be looking at doing a more thorough comparison to help with the transition between CfSH and HQM. This is expected to include case studies on projects that are using both schemes, to see how they compare; we will look to publish a few potential case studies in the near future.

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

Cost of undertaking an HQM Assessment - KBCN0846

Currently there aren't any case studies on costs associated with undertaking HQM assessments. This is something we expect to become available once more projects have gone through the HQM process. As with other schemes within the BREEAM family, costs will partly depend on the targeted rating. A one star home represents a home that is better than one that meets the minimum requirements set by building regulations and a five star rating is an outstanding development that goes well beyond standard practice, as with BREEAM. The BRE Global fees (current -  May'16 and new -valid from 1st Jul'17 ) for HQM registrations and certifications is available on BREEAM Projects under BRE Global Fee Sheet.

Design Stage evidence requirements when a contractor has not been appointed - KBCN1231

Where a contractor has not been appointed at the time of the design stage assessment, a contractually binding document, such as the Employers Requirements, may be used as evidence to demonstrate that the criteria will be met. Ultimately, the assessor should satisfy themselves that the evidence provided at design stage ensures that the criteria will be met later on in the project.

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.

Evidence: Post construction assessment evidence - KBCN0407

For the purposes of robustness and completeness, both design AND post-construction stage evidence is required for a post construction assessment. However, it is possible to provide only post construction stage (PCS) evidence where it is clear that this completely supersedes the design stage (DS) evidence and renders it unnecessary.

GN44 – Home Quality Mark Temperature Guidance - KBCN1439

This guidance note provides background to the calculation methodology that underpins the ‘HQM high temperature reporting tool’ and the ‘Temperature’ assessment issue in the Home Quality Mark technical manual (scheme versions: HQM ONE and Beta). See full Guidance Note (licensed assessors only) See all Guidance Notes (licensed assessors only)

HQM accredited products - KBCN0851

At present there are no HQM accredited products.

HQM applicability – Multi-residential projects and apartment blocks - KBCN0758

HQM has been designed so it can be used for different types of domestic buildings, including homes within apartment blocks , where they fall within the scope described in the ‘HQM application’ section of the HQM technical manual. ‘Multi-residential building types’ within the HQM manual refers to projects that fall within the scope of BREEAM New Construction, where non-domestic buildings contain ‘rooms for residential purposes’ or self-contained dwellings with communal facilities such as catering, leisure, communal lounges and other communal spaces  (e.g. student halls of residence or care homes). If you are unsure of which scheme should be used for a particular project, please refer to a licensed BREEAM or HQM assessor or contact BRE Global.

HQM tools before licensed - KBCN0884

The full suite of tools are only available once delegates have passed the Home Quality Mark (HQM) assessor training and are fully licensed. This gives assessors and their clients the confidence that they are qualified to carry out HQM assessments, as well as access to the support from BRE Global that is available to licensed HQM assessors. However, the online HQM pre-assessment tool, accessible on BREEAM Projects, is available to non- licensed users. This tool allows users to enter inputs for the majority of issues, including HQM SAP xml files to the energy forecast and cost issue. This can be used to generate outputs for the energy forecast and cost issue via the foundation route, which can be used as an indication on the minimum number of credits that may be targeted.

Indicator backstops - KBCN1443

The indicator backstops set minimum performance levels for each of the three indicators (My costs, My wellbeing and My footprint), where a set number of credits must be achieved in key issues that are relevant to that indicator

Indicator backstops and HQM star rating - KBCN1442

The indicator backstops are independent from the HQM level/star rating. Therefore any particular indicator backstop level does not have to be achieved to achieve a particular star rating. There are a number of minimum requirements within key issues which apply for all star ratings . If these minimum requirements are not achieved, a HQM certificate cannot be issued.

Individual home reports - KBCN0861

The purpose of the homeowner report is to provide occupants with information specific to their home to help them reduce the maintenance and operational costs over the lifetime of the home. Each dwelling would therefore needs its own specific evidence however, some evidence can apply to multiple dwellings. For example, the same evidence may be applicable to multiple dwellings for site-wide issues, particularly within the ‘Our surroundings’ section, and with more organisation-wide process issues like ‘Quality improvement’. Likewise, in some instances the same evidence can be used for multiple dwellings where the worst case scenario is taken. For example with the daylight issue, when assessing multiple homes from the same house type on a site, some dwellings may achieve a lower score than what they would if they were assessed individually.

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.


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.  

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.

Weightings: New Methodology for Generating BREEAM Category Weightings - KBCN0746

For a detailed description of the new weightings methodology a Briefing Paper is available here and on the BREEAM website (Resources section)
Information correct as of 5thMay 2021. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.