The BREEAM certificate is suitable for uncommon properties

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method) certificate is a British environmental certification system. It is the most widely used classification method in Europe. The certification system has also been nationalized in several countries. It makes it possible to take into account the specific features of different countries and to make use of national best practices. However, the international model is used in Finland.

The certification rating system has a good international reputation among real estate investors. BREEAM certification system is more detailed than other certification systems. At the same time it is more flexible for different types of properties. The emphasis of different certification areas is determined on a country-by-country basis. In Finland the emphasis on water use and commuting has been reduced. BREEAM rating is well-suited for properties that may be further away from cities and public transport.

Certifications for the construction phase

BREEAM certification of the construction project phase guides the consideration of the environmental impact of plans and construction. BREEAM international New Construction model, suited for new buildings, includes classification models for the majority of different types of buildings, including residential construction. In BREEAM certification, it is possible to create a bespoke model that allows certification for buildings for which no ready-made criteria can be found. In Finland, for example, fire stations have been certified through the bespoke procedure. A separate BREEAM Refurbishment & fit-out model for renovations is flexibly suitable for renovations of various scopes. It can be used from small space changes to a complete renovation, and it allows partial repairs to be considered.

The rating system provides a clear tool, which makes it more systematic to set environmental goals and guide design and construction. Compared to other certification system, more attention is paid to indoor air quality and land use, especially for office buildings. The classification rewards for the utilization of previously built sites, the protection and development of natural values, for example whether to build on an earlier site or whether to clear existing forest. The system also looks at whether the site may have nature that should be rather protected.

Challenging in the certification is the requirement for vast investigation to be carried out at an early stage of planning. This means that if a certification consultant is not involved from the beginning of the construction phase, certain criteria affecting the classification level may not be achieved. A site tour by a BREEAM assessor is also an essential part of obtaining a certificate. The tour is made to verify and document the implementation of design plans.

Certifications of existing buildings

With the help of BREEAM In-Use certification, the technical properties and sustainable maintenance of a property can be continuously and systematically developed. The rating system is very straightforward for existing buildings and is based on a list of questions.

Existing buildings are assessed in the BREEAM certification system according to Commercial or Residential categories. The criteria differ slightly in these two categories. BREEAM In-Use is widely applicable to a variety of property management models. The physical properties and environmental positivity of the property (Asset) itself as well as the procedures, processes, and practices of technical maintenance (Management) are assessed separately at the site.

Depending on the property, the scope of the certification can be modified to cover the property, the technical maintenance, or the environmental management of the user organization’s operations. This makes it possible to obtain certification for a very wide range of properties and different property maintenance arrangements.

BREEAM certification in brief

  • British certification system
  • a detailed but flexible certification system
  • suitable for a wide variety of properties
  • the criteria can be tailored to the scope of the renovation or to specific sites

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