Refurbishment and Fit Out / International / 2015 /

00 General

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

Alignment of RFO fit-out with New Construction shell only and shell and core assessments - KBCN0731

Where seeking a fully-fitted certificate for a shell only or shell & core project assessed against the BREEAM NC 2014 scheme, the advice provided within the scope section of the RFO manuals has been superseded. The original concept to provide ‘fully-fitted’ ratings and certificates following BREEAM New Construction shell or shell and core certificate has been dropped in favour of separate independent assessments, certificates and scores in the normal way. This is partly due to lack of demand and partly due to the complexities of mapping, managing and scoring one set of criteria against another at completely different stages. For a comprehensive BREEAM assessment of a project that has two separate construction stages, two separate BREEAM assessments should be undertaken. For example, a shell only BREEAM New Construction assessment, the same as Part 1 in BREEAM Refurbishment and Fit-out (RFO), will have a certificate for the original design. Later on, the fit-out (RFO Parts 2, 3 and 4) can be undertaken and will have a separate certificate. The two separate certificates will then represent a comprehensive BREEAM assessment and best reflect the different scopes of the different project stages.    
This will be be updated in the next reissue of the technical manual.

ASWL – submission timescales - KBCN0425

If no new standards are being proposed for use on a project, it is not necessary to submit an Approved Standards and Weightings List (ASWL) to BRE Global for approval. Please note that a completed list must always be submitted as part of the report submission to the Quality Assurance (QA) team. Where new standards are being proposed for use, the ASWL should be submitted to the BREEAM technical team at least 3 months prior to the submission of the assessment for QA. Those received at the same time as the report may result in a delay to the QA process. BRE Global aims to review new standards within four weeks, however this may be exceeded in cases where further investigation into the applicability of proposed new standards is required. BRE Global will keep the assessor updated of the status of the review in these instances.

ASWL in Interim and Final assessment stages - KBCN0427

Provided that the same standards are used at both Interim Design Stage and Final Post-construction Stage, it is not necessary to resubmit the Approved Standards and Weightings List at the Final Post-construction Stage.

ASWL location weightings - KBCN0436

As the BREEAM International schemes (New Construction 2013, New Construction 2016, and Refurbishment and Fit-Out (RFO) 2015) allow for the assessment of buildings across the world, the environmental weightings for projects are set per country, or per region if the country has significant land mass with varying climates/ environmental issues. These are listed in the Approved Standards and Weightings List (ASWL). The online tool selects the relevant weightings based on the country selected in the Assessment details tab for International New Construction 2016 and International RFO 2015. Details of newly confirmed country weightings are released periodically in an updated ASWL. If weightings have not been set for a country, it is because BRE Global does not have sufficient data to determine the appropriate weightings yet. As the scoring cannot be confirmed, it is not possible to submit the assessment for certification until weightings have been set. Therefore we ask assessors to complete, with the help of a local expert if necessary, and submit the BREEAM International Weightings Form, available from BREEAM Projects>Documents and Tools. BRE Global will then review and confirm the weightings for the country or region. Please make sure to complete and submit the BREEAM International Weightings Form related to the scheme under which the assessed project has been registered. Please note that this automatic selection of weightings is not in place for International New Construction 2013 and 2009 versions.

ASWL submission protocol - KBCN0762

Where a new standard is being proposed the ASWL should be submitted to BRE for approval in advance of any subsequent assessment certification submission to QA. When submitting 'local' codes and standards to BRE Global for approval, licensed assessors must include the following information: Where a project is using previously approved standards only, the assessor only needs to submit the ASWL to QA and not prior to this for approval.

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

Definition of NIA (net floor area) for assessment registration purposes - KBCN0569

Net Internal Area (NIA) is broadly the usable area within a building measured to the face of the internal finish of perimeter or party walls ignoring skirting boards and taking each floor into account. NIA will include: NIA will exclude: Source: Valuation Office Agency Therefore, the usable area within a building measured to the face of the internal walls should be provided. Whilst this is not expected to be accurate to the nearest 1m2, the closest estimate possible for the NFA should be entered. This is to allow for any possible subsequent adjustment to the size of the development.

Dementia care homes - KBCN0820

For dementia care homes, there may be instances where the resident profile, and hence design and use, result in some BREEAM criteria being considered inappropriate or not applicable. Where this is the case assessors should seek confirmation from BREEAM through the technical query service, providing a clear justification for why specific criteria cannot be met. Before submitting a query, however, please review the BREEAM Knowledge Base under the relevant Scheme and Issue, to check for a specific, published compliance note. Assessors will be required to provide evidence. This could be from suitable individuals/organisations regarding the specific project, detailing how the criteria is not relevant for the individual 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.

GN10 Assessing mixed use developments and multiple buildings (or units) of similar function - KBCN0623

Summary The purpose of this Guidance Note is to assist BREEAM assessors with scheme classifications and the application of BREEAM for mixed use developments and developments with multiple buildings or units on the same site. Note: This guidance note has been revised to v1.0 April 2018 View full Guidance Note (licensed assessors only) View all Guidance Notes (licensed assessors only)
17/04/18 Wording clarified
04/06/18 Note added regarding revision and hyperlink updated

GN23 BREEAM Bespoke Process - KBCN0720

This document contains information and guidance for BREEAM Assessors who are seeking to assess a bespoke project. This includes projects that meet one of the following options: — A building that does not fit the scope of the BREEAM New Construction and Refurbishment and Fit-Out schemes (UK and International) — A BREEAM Communities project outside of the UK — All BREEAM Infrastructure New Construction pilot projects. This document contains information and guidance for BREEAM Assessors on the operational and technical aspects of the BREEAM Bespoke Process. This document should be used alongside Operational Guidance (SD5070) and the relevant technical manual. View full Guidance Note (licensed assessors only) View all Guidance Notes (licensed assessors only)

Green lease agreement – applicability - KBCN0898

Green Lease Agreements or other shell & core options (green building guide and developer-tenant collaboration), which were included in UK NC 2011, International NC 2013 and earlier scheme versions are no longer available to demonstrate compliance. For all other Issues projects are assessed based on the level of works/assessment part(s) being undertaken.

Improvements to pre-assessment tools - KBCN1358

Some of our older pre-assessment tools in BREEAM Projects were designed to give a quick indication (or estimation) of the performance of a project at an early stage, prior to registration. They were a simplified version of the main Scoring and Reporting tools and did not contain the same level of filtering. Following feedback from assessors wanting the two tools to identically match to give accurate performance estimates, we have now released pre-assessments which are identical to the Scoring and Reporting tools. However, pre-assessments created with the previous versions remain on BREEAM Projects. These contain a banner to confirm that they were created using an unsupported version of the pre-assessment tool. All new pre-assessments created will use the updated version, where the filtering and indicative scoring will be consistent with the Scoring and Reporting tools.

Laboratory containment level category definitions - KBCN0943

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

Master plans with multiple stakeholders - KBCN0953

Assessment of a building forming part of a master plan co-ordinated by a third party (developer or local authority) In such cases, it may not be possible for the design team to control elements affecting issues such as land use and ecology, access, external lighting and surface water pollution. It is therefore acceptable for the assessor to define the assessment boundary according to one of two following options:
  1. Restrict the boundary only to what the design team can control.
  2. Extend the boundary to include elements of the master plan, assessing any associated benefits or disadvantages that arise. Relevant Knowledge Base Compliance Notes should be reviewed, and BREEAM Technical contacted for additional guidance if required.
The assessment boundary must remain consistent throughout all issues. Facilities outside of the boundary but serving the assessment (i.e. cycle facilities, parking etc) can be assessed as standard. Assessment of a building forming part of a master plan co-ordinated by the design team with third party elements Where there are third party elements in the master plan which are not BREEAM compliant (e.g. external lighting by local authority), evidence should be submitted to QA that efforts have been made with the third party to align these elements with BREEAM criteria. Where this is not possible, these elements can be excluded. Full justification should be provided when submitting the assessment for certification.

Multiple assessments: Site-wide certificate - KBCN0874

Where developments on a site are assessed under multiple BREEAM registrations, but there is a requirement for an overall, site-wide BREEAM rating, an additional certificate can be produced for the whole development. For further details of this service and applicable fees, please contact the BREEAM technical team.
17/04/2018 Amended to clarify
 

Part new-build, part refurbishment projects – ‘original building area’ - KBCN0801

In the Scope section of the technical manual, under the heading 'Part new-build, part refurbishment projects', limits are set out for the proportion of new-build floor area which can be assessed as part of a refurbishment scheme. For the purposes of this guidance, 'original building area' refers to the area of the original building which is retained and refurbished as part of the assessment. It therefore excludes any part of the original building which is to be demolished or not part of the refurbishment scheme. The aim of these limits is to ensure that the vast majority of the development is certified against the appropriate scheme, whilst allowing a degree of flexibility to account for such mixed-scope projects.

Part new-build, part refurbishment projects – New-build areas inseparable - KBCN1180

Where the area thresholds given in the Scope section of the manual are exceeded, but new-build areas are integral to and inseparable from the refurbishment, separate assessments or a bespoke RFO/NC assessment may not be appropriate. This typically refers to new build areas scattered around the floor plans, as in the example, rather than horizontal or vertical extensions linked to a specific part of the existing building. In such cases, please submit comprehensive plans, clearly identifying the new-build spaces, along with a description of the project, to BRE for review.
24/06/2019 Applicability clarified

Part new-build, part refurbishment projects – Updated guidance - KBCN1187

As announced in July 2015 Process Note and in line with the New Construction technical manual, a simpler method of assessing small, part new-build, part refurbishment projects is now available, as per follows: For developments that are a mix of new-build and refurbishment of existing spaces, the choice of scheme selection and application is determined according to the scope of the new-build and refurbishment works. For smaller projects, where the total development area is less than 1000m², a single BREEAM assessment can be undertaken to cover both the new-build and refurbished areas. The choice of BREEAM New Construction or BREEAM Refurbishment and Fit-out scheme should be based on whichever (new-build or refurbishment) constitutes the majority of the assessed floor area. For larger projects, a single New Construction assessment can be undertaken, though the refurbished areas have to comply with assessment criteria designed for new builds, which can be more challenging in some instances. The option to carry out two separate assessments, or a single combined bespoke assessment remains, but it is recognised that these options may be overly onerous for smaller projects.
05/10/2018 Technical manual to be update accordingly in the next re-issue.

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: ‘Provisional’ registrations - KBCN0124

Projects with a ‘provisional’ registration against the Refurbishment and Fit-out schemes cannot be submitted for certification. Once licensed in the Refurbishment and Fit-out scheme any provisional registrations will need to be converted into full scheme registrations and these assessments can then be submitted for QA and certification.  

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: Registering RFO projects against 2008 and 2009 , where required contractually - KBCN00090

NC assessors will continue to be able to register under the building types for which they hold a licence using BREEAM 2008 or 2009  for Refurbishment or Fit Out. For example, an assessor who is licensed under NC Commercial (Offices, Retail, Industrial) will be able to register previous version 2008 Refurbishment or Fit Out assessments under Offices, Retail or Industrial providing there is contractual planning requirement in place to use that version. A NC assessor would need to be licensed as a BREEAM RFO assessor to be able to assess refurbishment and fit-out projects.    

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

Scheme classification – Education - KBCN0398

The Education scheme classification criteria is tailored to the requirements of buildings that are likely to be used by large numbers of students, whose requirements differ slightly from the general population. Where a building on an education campus, or owned by an educational institution: - is not used for teaching / study - is primarily used by staff or other non-students - and transport requirements differ from a standard Education building The building may be assessed under a different, more appropriate scheme classification. Where it is unclear how this building should be assessed, a scheme classification query should be submitted.  

Scheme classification based on anticipated occupancy & building use - KBCN0421

In the instance where there is potential for the building occupancy and use to change during the building lifetime, scheme classification should be based on the most likely occupancy and use of the building as anticipated at the time of the assessment. Please refer to Guidance Note 10 (GN10) for further details

Scheme classification queries - KBCN0540

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

Scope: Building types not falling within the scope of the scheme - KBCN0544

For building types that are not included in the scope of the IRFO 2015 scheme, a Bespoke process will be required. Information on the Bespoke process for buildings, communities and infrastructure projects is within guidance note GN23 here. The Buildings bespoke application form is available on the Extranet here.

Shell & core project: Completing as fully-fitted - KBCN0394

It is possible to complete an assessment as fully fitted following a design stage certification as a shell & core project. Whilst the assessment will reference much of the same evidence gathered for design stage, it must be re-registered and may be submitted as a fully-fitted Post-construction assessment.
17/04/18 Wording clarified

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

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

Tools: Tracker+ - KBCN0760

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

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.

Tools: Weightings discrepancy on BREEAM Projects - KBCN0725

Completing the 'initial details' section of the BREEAM RFO pre-assessment or full assessment tool ensures that the appropriate issues and credits are filtered in or out of the assessment, depending on the project scope. This means that the weightings are also adjusted accordingly, so that the building environmental sections weightings' total always remains at 100%. The BREEAM RFO weightings given in the relevant Table of the 'Environmental section weightings' section of the guidance, are for common projects types, purely as a starting guide and can be expected to vary significantly for real projects, depending on the applicability of issues and credits.
Technical manual to be updated accordingly in next reissue.
 

Translation of standards for approval - KBCN0435

BRE Global can translate standards for the Approved Standards and Weightings List submission. Please contact BRE Global in advance of submitting the Approved Standards and Weightings List, so that a proposal to cover the translation work can be arranged.

Version of ASWL that should be submitted to QA - KBCN0910

The version of the ASWL that should be submitted is the one that was current at the time of registration or a later version, but not an older version. The following dates were taken from the appropriate Process Note. For post construction assessment, the registration date at design stage of the project should be considered Please always indicate the version of the ASWL that has been submitted to QA, either in the name of the document or in the report.
Information correct as of 5thMay 2021. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.