4 Operational / QA /

02 International

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

A new approach to provide a better QA service - KBCN1449

Background

For more than two decades the BREEAM Quality Assurance Team has been supporting the certification process by reviewing the documentation submitted by our assessors for UK and international projects. This process must balance many parameters and maintain the credibility of our BREEAM brand and the reputation of our clients. Furthermore, given the continuous development of the construction industry and our BREEAM standards, BREEAM QA has had to evolve accordingly.

Why are we making these changes?

Over recent years, it has become evident that we need to make certain improvements to how we operate, for the benefit of our assessor network and all parties involved. This is clearly demonstrated by the large number of resubmissions and assessments that generate a high number of non-conformances we receive. The BREEAM QA process should not be used as a checking service. We need to ensure that the standards are not compromised. Since we are only reviewing a sample of the assessments and the issues within, there is a need to elevate the quality of all assessments to an acceptable level. Based on our data, collected over several months, the ratio of resubmissions to first submissions is 3:2 (60% resubmissions vs 40% initial submission of the overall assessments received). When considering the overall number of non-conformances, almost a quarter of all assessment submissions generate more than 7 findings. The data shows the need to ensure that the quality of the assessments is uplifted and the whole QA team's time is used productively, reviewing assessments which meet the expected level of quality. By increasing productivity and the number of qualified auditors, the BREEAM QA Team has reduced the QA timescales from 8 weeks in Summer 2020 down to 4 weeks by late Autumn 2020. As part of our continued drive to maintain and improve the QA turnaround times, we are now putting in place a new process, which we feel has many benefits. This new approach will contribute to maintaining and further reducing our timescales.

What changes are being made?

From 1st April 2021, submissions for all BREEAM Schemes will be audited as follows:
 First Submission
This is subject to the following two trigger points. If either is met, the audit will be halted and feedback issued. The assessor must then update the entire assessment, implementing the feedback throughout.
  1. There are 12 Non-Conformances (a combination of Minor and up to 2 Major NCs)
OR
  1. There are 3 Major NCs – the audit will be reviewed by a senior member of the Quality Assurance Team. If all the Major NCs are confirmed, the audit will be halted, as above.
Note: To account for newly qualified assessors, the above approach will not be applied to an assessor’s first audit under a given BREEAM Scheme.
Resubmission
When the assessment is resubmitted, it is expected that all the QA feedback be actioned. The NCs are re-audited along with the remaining issues. Where the number of NCs after the re-audit remains unacceptably high, BRE will implement charges to such resubmissions.

When does this come into effect?

The new approach will be effective from 1st April 2021. There are no additional requirements for submissions, other than those described above. These changes are not expected to affect most assessments; especially those which are on reduced checking levels. This approach is intended to reward consistently good submissions.

How we will support you?

In our December Process Note, we outlined our plan to keep QA timescales low, along with our aim to reduce them even further. We aim to consistently maintain those and fulfil our promise to all relevant parties. We have compiled a document including several Frequently Asked Questions, to help answer any queries that may arise from the implementation of this new approach. Furthermore, our team has produced an Assessor Awareness Module, where additional guidance is provided on the impacts of low-quality assessments and what can be done for these to be improved. This free module is offered for free by BRE Academy.

BREEAM In-Use QA and Certification explained - KBCN0523

The BREEAM In-Use (BiU) certification scheme was introduced in 2009. Since then we have certified many assessments by a large international network of dedicated and professional assessors. As the success of BREEAM In-Use grows it is appropriate that we review and, where necessary, update the scheme’s quality assurance and certification procedures. This ensures we can collectively maintain and enhance its robustness, improve quality and align with evolving international standards to which we seek accreditation. To support this aim we introduced the following changes to the quality assurance and certification process from February 2015: If one of your assessments is selected for technical audit, you will be informed of this immediately after submission for certification. At this point you will be requested to send in supporting evidence at your earliest convenience. Assessments that have not been selected for a technical audit will undergo administrative checks only, which BRE Global will undertake within two working days and certification will follow thereafter. The audit programme is designed in such a way that an assessor performing to the required standard can expect a significant majority of their BiU assessments to be selected for administrative checks only, and therefore typically certification will occur within two days for most submissions. Certification of those assessments selected for a technical audit will occur after the assessment has passed the audit process, so the timescale for this will depend on both BRE Global and the assessor. We will inform assessors of the timescale in which they can expect audit feedback for a specific assessment upon acknowledgement of receipt of their submission. We will also publish a service level that we will work to in this respect, so that assessors and their client have a degree of certainty over when they can expect such feedback and, subject to passing the audit, certification. We believe this process for the scheme assists BRE Global and assessors in promoting the independence, robustness and integrity of the scheme to their clients, who will have greater confidence that the certified rating of their asset is an accurate and verified representation of its performance. In turn, this helps us to further differentiate the BiU product in the international market place and increase uptake of the scheme.  

Translation Requirements when submitting an assessment with evidence in a language other than English - KBCN0515

BREEAM assessments may be submitted with supporting evidence in a language other than English. Where this is the case, it must be clearly stated within the covering email/upload notes whether all documents are in English and, if not, which language they are in. If translation is required BRE Global will source this service and fees will be charged to the assessor company in accordance with FS036. If this is not confirmed by the assessor upon submission, it will be assumed that all documentation is in English and the BRE Global translator service is not required. Once QA commences, if it subsequently transpires that the translation service is required, the QA will be halted and a delay of up to a 2 further weeks is likely, as BRE Global will need to book and wait for a translator to be available. This applies even where only a proportion of the evidence documents require translation. Where the assessor/assessor organisation are undertaking translation or appointing a third party to undertake translation on their client’s behalf, they must use an ‘appropriate translator’. Please refer to SD5070, 'BREEAM Operations Manual' for the options available and requirements for meeting the definition of an ‘appropriate translator’. Confirmation of the type of translator used and their qualifications must form a part of the licenced assessor’s evidence submission. This correspondence must be signed/confirmed by the ‘appropriate translator’ and the licenced assessor. The validation statement within the assessment/reporting tool, where the assessor clarifies how compliance is achieved, must always be completed by the assessor in English and not in the local language.
Information correct as of 27thJanuary 2022. Please see kb.breeam.com for the latest compliance information.