New Construction / International / 2016 /

06 - Materials

Information correct as of 21stMay 2024. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.

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).

Astroturf (artificial grass) - KBCN0106

This is not be considered as hard landscaping and should be excluded from the assessment of this issue.  

Boundary Protection - KBCN0753

Only boundary protection specifically forming the site boundary should be included in the calculations. This may not necessarily be located on the boundary of ownership, but is the physical barrier which ostensibly encloses the development. Any other freestanding walls or fencing within the site can be excluded.

BRE Environmental Profile certificates - KBCN0777

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

BS 8903:2010 superseded - KBCN0938

BS 8903:2010 Principles and Framework for Procuring Sustainably - Guide, has been superseded by BS ISO 20400:2017 Sustainable Procurement - Guidance.
This change will be updated in future re-issues of the manual.

Building LCA tools recognised by BREEAM - KBCN1118

The following document shows the building LCA tools that are recognised by BREEAM for each BREEAM scheme. Only submissions from the tools listed here will be accepted as part of a BREEAM assessment. These recognised tools may be either an IMPACT Compliant tool or another type of building LCA tool that has been evaluated by BREEAM and considered suitable for carrying out building LCA according to BREEAM’s scheme specific requirements. To apply for a new tool to be evaluated, please contact: [email protected] Where more than one version of the same tool is listed for a given scheme version, the most recent version of the tool (that is available at the point building LCA work commences on the project) should be used. It is acceptable to use subsequent, more recent releases/versions of a recognised tool (that have the same name as shown in the table). View Building LCA tools recognised by BREEAM.      
Table updated to new downloadable format, with new layout and new recognised LCA tools and corrections added 01/03/2024
Table updated to include new recognised LCA tools and corrections 10/11/2023
Table updated to include new recognised LCA tools and corrections 22/07/2022
Table updated to include new recognised LCA tools 12/03/2021
KBCN updated for clarity regarding subsequent tool versions on 10/03/2021

Cut-off - KBCN0598

The current CN 'Route 1 Cut- off See step 1 in the Methodology section' in the technical manual should refer to Route 2 and 3 as well.
14.11.2016 Compliance Notes in technical manual to be updated accordingly in next reissue.
03.11.2021 Issue 2.0 of the UK RFO technical manual corrected.

Design stage requirements where specific product details are unknown - KBCN1483

The Mat 03 tool must be completed in accordance with the Methodology, providing all available details and submitted as evidence. Where products or materials are subject to a performance specification and a specific manufacturer and certificate reference cannot be provided, the missing details should be completed as 'tbc'. This ensures that a strategy for compliance can be demonstrated, even where some specific details are unavailable.

Drop-down menus in the tool - KBCN0789

When using the Mat 03 calculator tool, some of the entry fields are no longer restricted to drop-down menus but allow free-text entry.  This provides greater flexibility of use for the tool making allowance for updates to Guidance Note GN18. If a responsible sourcing scheme is not in the drop-down menu, assessors should check Guidance Note GN18 for the scheme and manually enter the name of the recognised scheme and its point score.

EPDs – Products containing multiple materials - KBCN1127

Construction products can comprise of either a single material, or multiple materials. Where a product (with an EPD) is comprised of more than one material, the assessor should decide which material category classification should be used for classifying the EPD at their own discretion, and in accordance with the categories listed in the manual. To do this, the assessor may base the EPD classification on the material that represents the majority of the product’s volume. For example, if a product comprises 0.8 m3 of metal and 0.6 m3 of glass, then the classification to use for the EPD is "Metal". Other reasonable approaches may be used. Whatever approach is used, it must be applied consistently across all EPD classifications.

EPDs’ validity - KBCN0798

EPDs which have expired or are pending verification at the time the relevant product was specified, cannot contribute to awarding credits. However, it is not necessary that they are valid at the time of the design or post-construction stage submissions. BREEAM is primarily trying to encourage designers to take EPDs into consideration when specifying products.  
04/11/2019 Confirmed applicability to UK NC2018
27/03/2020 Added applicability to Green Guide ratings and ISO 14001 certificates
27/05/2020 Reference to ISO 14001 removed - Whilst the same principle applies, the wording relating to product specification does not - See KBCN1401.
12/08/2021 Clarification regarding the validity of EPDs during QA submission and removal of reference to Green Guide ratings

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.

Exemptions from hard landscaping and boundary protection - KBCN00062

Where a third party, such as the local authority, enforces strict constraints on the materials that can be used by the project for hard landscaping or boundary protection, and these materials do not achieve a Green Guide rating of A/A+, it is possible to exempt these materials from the assessment of this issue, on the condition that robust evidence confirming this is given. In this instance the developer does not have control over the materials specified, therefore it is not appropriate to include them in the assessment.    

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.

Gabion as boundary protection - KBCN000008

A gabion can be excluded from the assessment if it acts as a retaining wall or any other form of a supporting structure. If it acts purely as a boundary and a generic Green Guide rating cannot be found for a specification, the BREEAM assessor will need to submit a Bespoke Green Guide Query proforma detailing the specification details.  

GN08 – Scope of IMPACT compliant tools and data submission requirements - KBCN0621

Scope of IMPACT Compliant (or equivalent) Tools and Data Submission Requirements - BREEAM UK New Construction 2011 and 2014 Introduction This Guidance Note relates to complying with the exemplary level criteria for route 2, as defined under the Mat01 issue of the BREEAM New Construction 2011 and 2014 versions. It provides information about IMPACT and the level of detail (the Quality Requirements) and file transmission requirements for the Building Information Model (BIM) from IMPACT compliant (or equivalent) tools. It also outlines criteria for demonstrating the equivalence of a proposed alternative to IMPACT compliant tools for BRE Global approval. View full Guidance Note (licenced assessors only) View all Guidance Notes (licenced assessors only)

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)

GN24 Demonstrating compliance with Mat 03 in BREEAM - KBCN0721

Latest version: v1.1, May 2022 Guidance Note 24 provides additional guidance to assessors and specifiers on demonstrating compliance with the criteria set out in Mat 03. It should be read in conjunction with the Technical Manual for the relevant assessment scheme. It covers: Download Guidance Note 24 (licensed assessors only) View all Guidance Notes (licensed assessors only)

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.

IMPACT compliant software - KBCN0809

For a list of all IMPACT compliant software please see How to get IMPACT on the IMPACT website.

LCA modelling for multiple BREEAM assessments - KBCN0960

Multiple buildings' assessments Site-wide approaches are not acceptable and each BREEAM assessment needs to have its own Life Cycle Assessment model (using an IMPACT compliant software tool or equivalent). This applies in all cases, including when the buildings are on the same plot and are built to the same specifications. Developing assessment-specific LCA models ensures that material quantities are accurate, refer to the actual building (and building type) and account for external works included within the scope of the specific assessment. Single building with multiple assessments within it Where multiple assessments are conducted for different parts of a building, it is acceptable to have a single LCA model covering all assessments. In this case, an explanation of the allocation process used should be provided and the following guidance applies:

Legally harvested and traded timber – Examples - KBCN0956

The following examples are considered compliant for BREEAM purposes. Legally harvested:
  1. Evidence of compliance with the CPET (see here, timber bought inside the UK only)
  2. FSC, PEFC or SFI certification
  3. Evidence of compliance with the EUTR (timber bought inside the EU only)
  4. Risk assessment/due diligence documentation demonstrating a low risk of non-compliance with the ‘legally harvested’ requirements given in the manual.
Legally traded:
  1. Evidence of compliance with the CPET (see here, timber bought inside the UK only)
  2. FSC, PEFC or SFI certification
  3. Risk assessment/due diligence documentation demonstrating a low risk of non-compliance with the ‘legally traded’ requirements given in the manual.

Legally harvested and traded/Legal and sustainable timber – Reclaimed/recycled timber - KBCN1402

As an alternative to virgin timber and wood-derived products from a Legally harvested and traded timber/Legal and Sustainable source, ‘recycled timber’ is acceptable. For the purposes of these prerequisites, ‘recycled timber’ is defined by BREEAM as: Recovered wood that prior to being supplied to the assessed project had an end use as a standalone object or as part of a structure and which has completed its lifecycle and would otherwise be disposed of as waste. The term ‘recycled’ is used to cover the following categories: pre-consumer recycled wood and wood fibre or industrial by products but excluding sawmill co-products (sawmill co-products are deemed to fall within the category of virgin timber), post-consumer recycled wood and wood fibre, and drift wood. It also covers reclaimed timber which was abandoned or confiscated at least ten years previously. BREEAM requires documentary evidence that all reclaimed/recycled timber products meet the definition of ‘recycled timber’ given above.

Life cycle environmental impact of curtain walling - KBCN0178

Curtain walling performs two functions – the provision of windows and the provision of external walls. Specifications performing the same function are grouped together in the Green Guide to Specification.  This means that curtain walling needs to be modelled as two separate building elements (external walls and windows). The overall performance of the curtain wall will combine the ratings for the two parts according to their areas. It will depend on the curtain walling system selected, the choice of internal lining and the relevant proportion of glazed and opaque elements.
  1. For the opaque area of the external wall (Area A in the figure below):
    1. Select the relevant generic specification from the Green Guide (element category – External walls / Curtain walling, then either aluminium or timber framed and the internal skin specification) and note the rating and element number. If your specification is different from all of the generics, please submit a request for a bespoke rating.
    2. Enter the rating into the BREEAM Materials calculator with the area for the opaque section of the curtain wall (Area A).
  2. For the glazed (window-like) area of the curtain wall (Area B):
    1. Select the relevant specification from the Commercial window element category of the Green Guide. There are two specifications: Aluminium curtain walling system (Element no: 831500016) and Laminated timber curtain walling system (Element no: 831500015)
    2. Enter the rating into the BREEAM Materials calculator with the area for the glazed (window-like) section of the curtain wall (Area B).
The BREEAM Materials calculator will calculate the overall performance for the curtain walling system. It will also calculate the performance of the building elements and the overall number of credits to be awarded.      

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.

Mat 01 Calculator Option 1 – verified LCA tools - KBCN0237

Before an LCA tool can be recognised by BREEAM, the tool developer must submit evidence to BRE to verify the tool’s points scored in the Mat 01 Calculator. The LCA tool is then given its own tab in the calculator, which confirms the maximum score the tool can achieve, if used to its fullest extent. Items coloured green within the calculator are locked because they do not change when using the LCA tool. The items in blue should be edited by the design team to confirm the extent the tool has been used on the project. For RFO schemes, the assessment parts must also be selected. Items listed as ‘N’ in column W ‘Included in assessment?’ cannot be changed to a ‘Y’, as the LCA tool cannot be used for this element. For example internal doors cannot be assessed by the Green Guide. An element listed as ‘Y’ can be changed to a ‘N’ if the LCA tool has not been used for the element in the assessment. Column S confirms if the assessed building includes the element and should be included. For example if there are no stairs in the assessment, then this element is removed from the calculation by saying ‘N’ to cell S15 (in the green guide calculator).
12/01/2017 Reference to LCA approved tools updated.

Multiple buildings on the same site - KBCN0559

The areas of hard landscaping and boundary protection that need to be assessed on a site that contains several developments/buildings depends on the scope of works and scope of the assessment(s) being undertaken. Essentially, the areas that need to be assessed are all the areas of hard landscaping (as defined within the relevant definitions of the credit issue) and boundary protection within the construction zone (again defined within the relevant definitions) that are within the scope of works of the building under assessment. Therefore, if all buildings on one site are being assessed in one BREEAM assessment, then the hard landscaping and boundary protection related to all of these building's scope of works will need to be assessed. If there are several buildings with individual assessments and their own defined scope of works, then the hard landscaping and boundary protection applicable to the scope of works of each individual building will be assessed for each associated assessment. The assessment is concerned with the hard landscaping and boundary protection associated to the project under assessment, i.e. the areas under the control of the project under assessment. 

On site fabrication - KBCN1292

Where concrete (or another construction product) is produced on site, there is no requirement to provide responsible sourcing certification for the end product. As in this case fabrication on site is effectively part of the onsite building process, the certification of the individual products (e.g. aggregates, cement), as delivered to site, shall be used in the assessment instead.

Option 1 scoring based on robustness and extent of LCA - KBCN0674

For Option 1, BRE Global verifies the LCA tool's score within the Mat 01 calculator based on the rigour of the life cycle assessment tool and the extent it is used on the assessment.  For this reason, as opposed to the UK New Construction schemes, the performance/scoring of building elements is not to be taken into consideration and Green Guide ratings for building elements are not linked to the scoring of the Mat 01 tool and credits achieved. Please see KBCN0237 for further details on using the calculator with verified LCA tools.

Outdoor foundations - KBCN0787

Outdoor foundations for lighting poles, bike racks, charging stations, etc., need to be included under hard landscaping, provided they are above the cut-off volume.

Playground or other specialist surfaces - KBCN0694

Where the hard landscaping surface is specified to meet safety related performance (e.g. non-slip or soft surfaces for playgrounds) or particular performance related requirements (e.g. specialist sports performance surfaces such as astro-turf, netball courts and running tracks), then these surfaces can be omitted from the assessment. The standard specification of surfaces for multi-use areas (e.g. cement, tarmac, asphalt) must still be assessed.

Protecting vulnerable parts of the building from damage – underground car parks - KBCN1331

Exposed elements, such as columns in an underground car park, should have been designed against structural damage from minor vehicle collision and, therefore, do not require any additional protection to meet compliance for this BREEAM Issue. Assessors should, however, consider whether additional protection is required at the vehicular entrance to underground car parks. The requirements are intended to address the issue of damage to vulnerable parts of the facade, which would require repair/replacement in the event of minor vehicular collisions.

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.

Recycled materials in hard landscaping - KBCN0975

When recycled material is to be used for hard landscaping, the Green Guide rating will depend on whether the material comes from the same site or from another location. Typically, on-site recycled material is treated with very little impact, or ignored, as there is little or no energy/material input in putting it in place. When recycled material is brought in from elsewhere, transport, as well as any processing the material has gone through to make it fit for purpose, will be taken into account. If the assessor is in doubt, they need to submit a landscaping proforma along with any supporting documentation on the materials and their use and BRE will provide a rating and/or guidance.

RSCS summary score level for BES 6001 products - KBCN0955

For products certified under BES 6001, the rating score (between 5 and 7) can be found in the Green Book Live. This is the rating that needs to be entered in the Mat 03 calculator. The RSCS score that is entered into the Mat 03 calculator comes from the relevant table in Guidance Note 18. However, for BES 6001, the score is per certificate because 6001 works at different levels of rigour.  Once you have found the product, by searching on the page below, click 'More..' on the right-hand side to reveal further details, including the BREEAM score level. GreenBookLive Responsible Sourcing

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 of hard landscaping - KBCN0634

For the purpose of assessment, hard landscaping includes (but is not limited to) parking areas (including manoeuvring areas, lanes, roads within the parking area), pedestrian walkways, paths, patios. The definition excludes basement parking, access or approach roads and designated vehicle manoeuvring areas, balconies, roof terraces,specialist sports areas (running tracks, netball areas etc.) and retaining walls.

Setting of Responsible Sourcing Certification Scores (RSCS) - KBCN00017

Mat 03 credits require the majority of the materials used to be sourced with a high RSCS score. While maximum points (10) are available for reused materials the points available for RSCS's are typically less than 10. The available points are representative of the relative merits of each source while also providing some incentive for each scheme to improve and gain higher scores in the future. The latest points scores for each RSCS route are available in the latest version of GN18.  

The importance of EPDs - KBCN0895

The publishing of a third party verified EPD by a manufacturer indicates a transparent, robust and credible step in the pursuit and achievement of real sustainability in practice. While an EPD in itself is not proof that a product is sustainable, it is a public declaration of the environmental impacts associated with specified life cycle stages of that product.  A manufacturer or group of manufacturers, who carry out life cycle assessment (LCA) studies on their product(s) and publish the results in verified EPDs, help to create a knowledge base and an awareness of the environmental impacts quantified using standardised metrics. This allows benchmarking and the identification of improvement opportunities for the product’s environmental credentials. By implication, there are also opportunities for economic and social benefits to the manufacturer, such as the reduction in resource wastage through improvements in product design and manufacturing efficiency. The reward for EPDs in BREEAM schemes promotes the above, while encouraging designers, procurers and other stakeholders to make decisions on the basis of robust and credible environmental data. This is one of the markers of BRE’s strategic approach to the selection and procurement of construction materials and products. We recognise that there may be steep costs at the moment to small manufacturers wishing to publish verified EPDs for their products. This is a result of the maturity of the market and it is anticipated that as the awareness of the benefits of EPD increases, the increased uptake of EPDs will drive costs down.
Information correct as of 21stMay 2024. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.