"This is a step in the right direction to showcase sustainable performance as a key differentiator"

The Benefits of BREEAM

Neelum Mohammed, Senior Consultant in our Sustainable Engineering team discusses the BREEAM fit out and refurbishment methodology released in autumn 2014.

The long awaited BREEAM non-domestic refurbishment scheme was published in October 2014. This new tool assesses the environmental impact of refurbishing or fitting out existing commercial buildings. 

In order to provide flexibility and accommodate the wide range of projects that might be carried out in existing buildings, the scheme is based on a modular set of criteria which can be selected to match the scope of works being carried out. These criteria include the following; -

Part 1: Fabric and Structure
Part 2: Core Services
Part 3: Local Services
Part 4: Interior Design

This approach allows the BREEAM assessment to reflect the specific aspects of a building that are the respective responsibilities of a developer, the landlord or any tenant, as well as accounting for the varied life expectancy of each component of the building. Interior finishes, for example, are typically replaced on a 5-10 year cycle; the fabric and structure may only be upgraded every 60 years or even longer.

The scope of the project will determine which parts of the scheme can be assessed. The modular basis offers a more sophisticated assessment, focused on what improved performance can be achieved within a defined scope of work. It creates more achievable sustainability goals. 

To obtain an accreditation under the scheme, even though the assessment will be based on the relevant parts of the building alone, minimum standards of performance still have to be achieved.  The overall BREEAM rating from Pass to Outstanding has not been changed from the new building benchmarks but the environmental ratings of each BREEAM target do differ in each module.

This new tool allows landlords and tenants to work together to agree appropriate strategies for setting common sustainability goals.   It also opens up the opportunity to consult with employees to understand what they expect from an internal environment that is stimulating and motivating to work in. This approach can also help asset managers focus on maintaining asset value, as well as helping with the preparation of tenant fitting out guides and giving a clear distinction between landlord and tenant responsibility.

This flexible tool enables the stakeholders in any building to influence sustainable performance in a coordinated way.  It is a step in the right direction to showcase sustainable performance as a key differentiator in an ever increasing competitive real estate market.





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