news from BRE

published: 11/6/2012

Driving Sustainable Refurbishment

BREEAM Refurbishment for domestic buildings is launched today at the Housing 2012 conference in Manchester, developed with industry and following extensive piloting across a wide range of buildings to ensure that an improved home can be achieved in a highly affordable way.

The new BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment is available for use on projects ranging from home improvements such as replacing windows and fitting new insulation, through to developments ranging in size from multiple to single dwellings.

To ensure that the new BREEAM standard drives real change, the process has been independently peer reviewed and extensively trialled in a pilot scheme involving more than 200 properties. The scheme has also been developed to align with the Government’s Green Deal (due for launch in Autumn 2012) which will make grants available to householders to make energy efficiency improvement to their homes.

Commenting on the refurbishment standard, Carol Atkinson, Chief Executive of BRE Global, says: ‘The new scheme helps building owners and occupiers to save operating costs and reduce the environmental impact of refurbishments. It pinpoints those elements of the refurbishment that will bring the greatest returns and provides a methodology, software tool and certification for those responsible for the delivery of sustainable domestic refurbishment projects. As well as addressing overall sustainability issues, the scheme can help specific initiatives to tackle fuel poverty, reduce flooding and security risks, and enhance the health and wellbeing of tenants and householders. Certification under the scheme will provide market recognition for residential buildings that have had sustainable and higher quality refurbishments.’

One of the projects involved in the piloting of the scheme was the refurbishment of the Cornbrook Court care home in Manchester. ‘The economic downturn, coupled with increasing energy prices, has brought refurbishment and retrofit to the fore’ say Pozzoni LLP, which provided the architectural services for the project. ‘We need to do everything we can to reduce the energy demand of our existing housing stock to deliver affordability. Measuring these improvements and ensuring the right works are carried out can only be done with an assessment method specifically designed for this purpose. The new BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment assessment method is a bespoke, robust tool to benchmark future refurbishments and has filled a gap in a growth sector.’

The BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment technical manual is now available on the BREEAM website (, along with case studies from some of the pilot projects. The scheme will be live for project registration on 2 July 2012, with the race already on for the first projects to gain certification under the scheme. Anyone wanting to qualify as a BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment Assessor can attend a training course – details of which can be found on the website.


Press enquiries: SIMON GUY, +44(0)1923 664305, Photos of buildings involved in the piloting of BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment can be provided.  

Notes for Editors

1 BREEAM (BRE Environmental Assessment Method) is widely recognised as the leading assessment system in the UK and across the world, known for driving up standards for sustainability and best practice in sustainable design, construction and operation of the built environment. Over 200,000 buildings certified and over a million registered for certification since it was first launched in 1990. BREEAM sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design and has become one of the most comprehensive and widely recognised measures of a building’s environmental performance. Credits are awarded in nine categories according to performance these include energy, water, waste, health and wellbeing, materials, management, pollution and innovation. These credits are then added together to producea single overall score on a scale of Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding which is also reflected in a star rating from 1 to 5 stars


2 Certification of refurbishment projects will be provided by fully trained and competent persons licensed under the BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment scheme.  Assessors can independently assess a refurbishment project of any size at the design and post-refurbishment stage. An additional competent persons’ route for the scheme will be launched later this year, specifically tuned for designers. This will allow those responsible for delivering refurbishments to issue self-declaration certificates for projects they are involved in. It will provide a low-cost certification route for small scale projects at the post refurbishment stage, which will be particularly attractive to builders, surveyors and Green Deal advisors.


3  BRE Global Limited (incorporating LPCB & BREEAM) is an independent third party approvals body offering certification of fire, security and sustainability products and services to an international market. BRE Global’s mission is to ‘Protect People, Property and the Planet’ and is part of the BRE Group under the BRE Trust, the registered research and education charity. For further information please contact: BRE Global, Bucknalls Lane, Watford, UK, WD25 9XX, Tel: +44 (0)1923 664100, Fax: +44 (0)1923 664910, Email: or visit