BREEAM Pre-Approval process – cutting time and cost.

By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has introduced a pre-approval process for its Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) sustainability certification scheme. The new process enables more than one project of a general specification to be evaluated by BRE Global together, helping clients to achieve the sustainability goals in a more time and cost-effective way.

BREEAM is an international scheme that provides independent third-party certification of the assessment of the sustainability performance of individual buildings, communities and infrastructure projects. Assessment and certification can take place at a number of stages in the built environment life cycle, from design and construction through to operation and refurbishment. A qualified and licensed BREEAM Assessor ensures that it meets the quality and performance standards of the scheme. At the heart of this process are certification bodies – organisations with government approval to certificate products, systems and services.

Assessments carried out in accordance with BREEAM schemes rely on evidence to demonstrate compliance with the relevant requirements. This evidence usually relates to a specific development, but some clients do use a standard specification across multiple builds, which is why the Pre-Approval process has been introduced. The Pre-Approval process shows that BRE Global are both listening to and acting upon the market’s requirements and finding time and cost savings for clients and assessors, whilst maintaining the integrity of the world’s leading sustainability assessment and certification method for buildings.

A number of clients have been involved in a pilot scheme over the last year to evaluate the Pre-Approval process. Their detailed input about their building types, and how they have embedded BREEAM requirements into the design was invaluable in understanding the breadth of differences between general specifications of various building types, and understanding what clients needed from the process to maximise the potential benefits.

Lidl Sverige KB were one of those who contributed to the pilot scheme. They said the scheme facilitated and streamlined their work in projects and gave them the opportunity to manage several similar projects in parallel in a smooth way. The Pre-Approval process is perfect for the project team who can now spend more time on carrying out pre-studies and analysis to find the most suitable and efficient system solutions for the concept store, rather than spending a lot of time on assessor BREEAM report writing at design stage.

I think this is the perfect example of what we can do going forward, in any aspect of the industry. We’re always looking for time and cost-efficient methods of doing things and pilot schemes provide the perfect opportunity to test ideas and receive honest feedback and when they are successful it’s even better.

For more information on Constructing Excellence in the North East, please contact chief executive, Catriona Lingwood, on 0191 500 7880 or email catriona@cene.org.uk