News article

What is BREEAM? 7 steps to achieve BREEAM certification

If you're eager to explore sustainability solutions that will help you increase the market value of your building and reduce its running costs, BREEAM is your springboard.
Net Zero
28 October 2019

Evaluate your building's environmental, social and economic sustainability performance and get the guidelines to reduce your building's sustainability impact.

What is BREEAM?

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is considered the world’s leading sustainability assessment method. The scheme evaluates the environmental, social and economic sustainability performance of buildings, communities and infrastructure projects. As an internationally recognized quality label, the BREEAM certification provides guidelines for companies who try to reduce their environmental impact when refurbishing current or constructing new buildings. The constant increase in environmental awareness resulted in more than half a million buildings having been BREEAM certified worldwide.

Performance rating

To obtain a BREEAM Certificate for a building, independent assessors verify to what extent a building complies with legal standards and evaluate how the building compares to standard market performances. The evaluation results in the building receiving a classification ranging from ‘Pass’ to ‘Outstanding’. The purpose of the classification is to enable comparability between projects, and to provide reassurance to customers and users. 

In total, a building can collect 152 BREEAM credits across 10 different categories. Each of these categories consists of various parameters that measure the sustainable value, from energy to ecology.

Make your building future-proof: Kick-start energy savings!

Did you know you can save up to 30% in energy spending with simple measures?

Download FREE checklist

Get a BREEAM certificate in 7 steps

With a BREEAM label for your office, you send a strong signal to the outside world. Your building is a model of sustainability and comfort. An energy-efficient place where people love to work. So how do you achieve such a label? This checklist shows you the way.

1. Choose the right standard

It is important to choose the BREEAM standard which is appropriate for your project: New Construction and Renovation, or In-Use. Do you already have an office building? Then In-Use, the most widely used standard in Europe, is your guide to better sustainability performance. New Construction and Renovations includes not only new construction projects but also large-scale renovations of existing buildings.

2. Perform a quick scan

A quick online scan gives you a first impression of the sustainability of your office and the corresponding points for improvement. In the Netherlands, the Dutch Green Building Council offers the free online Quick Scan for this purpose. For Belgian offices, the Pre-Assessment Tool on the international BREEAM In-Use site can be useful - in the latter case, first register your organization and primary contact.

3. Engage an expert

It's best to work with a BREEAM consultant or BREEAM AP (BREEAM Accredited Professional) for your project. This expert will help you to make the most of all opportunities and get the most out of your investment. Your BREEAM advisor will also guide you in the preparation of your certification dossier and look at the financial picture with you: from grants and subsidies to return on investment.

4. Follow a training course

Of course you can leave everything to your BREEAM expert. But it's also useful to get a grip on what BREEAM entails and what it can bring to your building. Priva is committed to helping you achieve more BREEAM credits for your office.

5. Reach for the stars

What BREEAM rating do you want to achieve? Together with your consultant, set out your ambitions. Take a baseline measurement as a basis and build on it. If your office already has two BREEAM stars (Good), you can aim for that third star (Very Good). Maybe your building is already Excellent (4 stars) and you want to go for Outstanding (5 stars). Draw up your technical plan based on that.

6. Engage suppliers with BREEAM knowledge

Once you know exactly what you want to adapt, look for suppliers and service providers to implement your solutions. When doing so, give preference to professionals who are familiar with BREEAM. That way, your new energy and building automation installations will fit seamlessly with your ambitions. And you will know that you have found a partner who thinks with you in the long term, with an eye on a favorable total cost of ownership.

7. Submit your BREEAM file to an Assessor

Together with your BREEAM consultant, meticulously collect all the necessary documentation for your certification dossier. A golden tip from our in-house BREEAM expert: "A BREEAM In-Use dossier consists of three domains: the building, the management and the use. Similar questions arise in each of these domains, each from a different angle. It's best to look at these questions at the same time, so that you only have to delve into the data once to formulate your answer."

File ready? Then have it reviewed by an approved Assessor. Good luck!


Want to know more? Lets have a chat!

Bill Whittaker

Business Development Manager

Bill Whittaker