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Innovate

Innovate OUR VISION

Our vision - driving success

For more than 25 years BREEAM has been providing a model for the local assessment of developments and communities, driving success and improvement in sustainable construction and property.

BREEAM drives success by:

  • setting benchmarks that exceed regulations and typical local practices      
  • recognising actions and initiatives that are innovative and improve on BREEAM benchmarks
  • working with property companies and their supply chains to identify innovations and bring them into the assessment process
  • gathering industry feedback to ensure its continuing relevance to its market
  • promoting high levels of performance and best practice through published case studies and our annual awards scheme (link)
  • monitoring and carrying out research to further knowledge, strengthen industry tools; improve guidance and increase BREEAM’s value

Future direction

The construction and property sector is evolving rapidly and BREEAM is continuously innovating with its standards to help its partners maintain success and grow in their markets. Here are three of our current areas of research and innovation:

Big data

BREEAM has a broad interpretation of environmental assessment, robust methods, and is applicable to an increasing range of built assets, such as our new (Pilot) Infrastructure scheme. This breadth and depth of coverage is important as our sustainable future relies on the collection, synthesis and analysis of the kind of high quality, large scale generated by BREEAM.   We are investigating how BREEAM can contribute to big data initiatives, and specifically at how this would impact on the data we collect, and benefit the industry. For example, we are looking at extracting BREEAM related design and construction information from data rich Building Information Models. We are also looking at the potential of harnessing data from sensors and other measurement and monitoring devices.

Our existing built environment

Many of our existing buildings and communities require significant upgrading to reduce energy bills and carbon emissions, increase comfort levels and make them fit for the future. Property owners face challenges in deciding what and how to refurbish and upgrade to achieve the best results. Benchmarking, monitoring and assessment have a part to play in increasing value and knowledge in refurbishment and upgrading, and we are looking at ways BREEAM can contribute.

Performance in-use

Property performance is key to asset management planning and investment decision making, and is recognised by developers and tenants as part of their corporate identity. Increasing attention is being paid to buildings’ impact on the health and wellbeing of occupants and neighbours through the materials used, maintenance, internal conditions and facilities. BREEAM covers many of these factors already and we are considering how we can improve and extend our standards to help the property sector tackle existing buildings.

Consultations and Wider Engagement

BREEAM was founded on a broad consensus of knowledge and works with the best and broadest industry expertise to remain up-to-date, responsive and relevant.

We work with: scientific research; construction practitioners; materials suppliers; water and energy suppliers; international, national and local government; international standards organisations; and environmental management agencies; professional and trade bodies representing all areas of the design, construction and property industry. Our work with industry gives us an understanding of the opportunities and barriers in science, design, manufacturing and construction. This enables BREEAM to help generate market demand for new technologies and components.  Here are some examples where we have made a difference:

  • Low flush toilets: These were the subject of BRE research and were included in BREEAM New Homes in 1991. This helped to promote their availability in the market and influenced new regulations
  • Responsible sourcing of materials: BREEAM included this in 1993 and is stimulating the market. We have promoted the development of initiatives, such as the Forest Stewardship Council’s scheme and BRE’s BES6001 generic standard
  • Life cycle analysis of building materials: BRE research led to the development of this, and is the basis for European, national and local standards.

Our formal consultations and regular expert engagement activities provide feedback to continuously improve BREEAM, ensuring our standards are relevant, achievable and drive industry progress and success.

Stakeholder engagement in the development, review and updating of BREEAM

There are two principal routes for formal engagement with BREEAM:

  • Consultation on proposed new performance standards, introduction of new issues; and reviewing documentation to new versions and updates
  • Application for the award of credits for innovation

Industry can collaborate with BREEAM in a semi-formal process where new issues are being introduced into BREEAM, or when whole new versions of BREEAM are being developed.  A similar process is followed when existing versions of BREEAM are updated. This process helps stakeholders and BREEAM by identifying and rewarding best practice. It ensures BREEAM’s performance targets are challenging and achievable.

Current consultations:

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International standards development timeline

International Standards Timeline

Click here to view the UK Standards timeline. Please note both timelines are for indication purposes only and are subject to change.

Innovation Credits

One of the aims of BREEAM is to support innovation within the construction industry. BREEAM does this by making additional ‘credits’ available for the recognition of sustainability related benefits or performance levels which are currently not recognised by standard BREEAM assessment issues and criteria. By doing this BREEAM is rewarding buildings that go beyond best practice in terms of a particular aspect of sustainability i.e. where the building or its procurement has demonstrated innovation.

Awarding ‘credits’ for innovation enables clients and design teams to boost their building’s BREEAM performance and, in addition, helps to support the market for new innovative technologies, and design or construction practices.

Information on BREEAM Innovation Applications can be found in the document BREEAM Innovation Applications FAQs’. A list of Approved BREEAM Innovation Applications’ can also be downloaded. The list should be reviewed in conjunction with the BREEAM Innovation Application FAQs as the FAQs give answers to questions that you may have about the content of the list. You can find further information on Innovations in the BREEAM Scheme Documents, from BREEAM Assessors or BREEAM Accredited Professionals, or by contacting our Helpdesk – breeam@bre.co.uk.

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