You are here: 14.0 Appendices > Appendix D – BREEAM New Construction and shell and core / speculative assessments

Appendix D – BREEAM New Construction and shell and core/speculative assessments

Non-fitted, speculative new buildings (often referred to as shell and core buildings) can be assessed using the BREEAM New Construction scheme.

The application of the BREEAM New Construction assessment criteria for a shell and core building, for the majority of BREEAM assessment issues, will be straightforward. However, several of the BREEAM issues and their criteria are tailored to assess a building that is being fitted out. These BREEAM issues will not be scoped out of the assessment of a shell and core new building. Ultimately the building will be used in a fitted-out state, the BREEAM assessment and rating must therefore reflect the environmental performance of the building based on its intended use.

It is recognised however, that it may not be possible for a shell and core design/specification to demonstrate compliance with some of the BREEAM criteria, as fit-out decisions relating to certain aspects of a new building will be made by the future tenant, who at the time of the interim or final assessment stage may not be known. Subsequently BRE Global recognise that there is a need for a degree of flexibility in applying BREEAM to new shell and core building design and specification, to recognise the scope of limitations and opportunities open to the developer to influence the final fitted-out performance of the building.

There are four options available to clients who are using BREEAM to assess a new shell and core building. Each option provides a different level of robustness to assessing and demonstrating compliance with BREEAM issues from a shell and core perspective and therefore each has a different value in terms of its contribution towards the BREEAM percentage score and rating.

Option 1 – Use of a lease agreement between the developer and tenant/s

BREEAM aims to encourage a mutually beneficial relationship between the shell and core developer/owner of a building and its future tenant(s) so that the fully fitted operational building can demonstrate performance against the highest possible environmental standards. In order to achieve this, BREEAM encourages and rewards the use of formal legally binding Green Lease Agreements between a developer/owner and their tenant/s. As such, Green Lease Agreements (or ‘green’ clauses/sections in a standard lease agreement) can be used as evidence demonstrating compliance with the relevant BREEAM issue criteria at the interim and post construction stages of assessment.

Where a legally binding tenancy agreement is provided as evidence and it commits the tenant’s fit-out to meet the criteria of a BREEAM issue, the full value of the available credits for that issue can be awarded.

In developments with multiple tenants, provided at least 75% of the net lettable floor area within the tenanted building/development is covered by a compliant lease agreement, this will be acceptable for the purposes of awarding BREEAM credits.

Option 2 – A Green Building Guide for tenant fit-outs

As an alternative to a Green Lease, developers may demonstrate part compliance with BREEAM issues where they produce a building specific Green Building Guide that is distributed to all future tenant/s of the assessed building. This formal, but non-legally binding document must provide development specific guidance to the tenant on carrying out their fit-out in a manner that upholds the BREEAM criteria of the credits sought, and encourages tenants to play their role in maintaining and improving the overall buildings environmental performance.

A Green Building Guide does not provide conclusive evidence that the tenant will implement the suggestions when compared to a Lease Agreement and this needs to be reflected in the relative score achieved by the building. Subsequently, where relying on a Green Building Guide to demonstrate compliance with a BREEAM issue or requirement, half of the value of the available credits can be achieved and contribute towards the overall BREEAM score and rating. It should also be noted that not all fit-out related BREEAM assessment issues permit the use of the Green Building Guide as a means of demonstrating compliance (refer to the table of issues below). For example, it is not permitted as an option for modelling energy consumption for the reduction of CO2 emissions issue (Ene 01). The performance/modelling must be based on either the actual fit-out specification or the most energy intensive fit-out specification permissible under Approved Document Part L of the Building Regulations i.e. the maximum design fit-out specification.

The BREEAM assessor should note that Green Building Guides which simply copy BREEAM scheme criteria verbatim do not necessarily demonstrate compliance with this option. The Guide produced must be specific to the building, its layout and function. The BREEAM related requirements and advice included in the Guide must reflect what a tenant’s fit-out specification can realistically achieve given the opportunities and limitations of the core building and its services.

Option 3 – Developer/Tenant collaboration

Where the future tenant(s) of a building is/are known a collaborative assessment may be carried out. The performance of the building and compliance with the BREEAM criteria can be verified using both evidence provided by the shell and core project team/client and evidence provided by the future tenant(s) e.g. their fit-out design and specification. Where compliance is sought via this route, the full value of the available credits can be achieved and contribute towards the overall BREEAM score and rating.

Option 4 – No evidence provided for tenant/s fit out specification

Where the developer of the shell and core building cannot confirm compliance with a particular issue or chooses not to produce a compliant Lease Agreement or a Green Building Guide to cover the content of a particular issue (or where one or more of the above documents are produced but compliance with a particular BREEAM issue cannot be verified), the BREEAM credits available for the particular issue must be withheld.

The table below lists the BREEAM New Construction assessment issues and highlights the following:

  1. The assessment issues that are either specific to, or contain criteria that potentially rely on or influenced by building fit out design/specification issues.
  2. The availability of options 1- 4, in terms of demonstrating compliance with the criteria for each issue.
  3. Whether or not specific compliance notes are provided concerning the application of the assessment criteria to shell and core building design and construction. Where this is the case the compliance note can be found within the assessment criteria for that specific issue (in the main body of this scheme document).

BREEAM New Construction assessment issues with shell and core evidence options

Ref Issue Compliance influenced by
fit-out spec
compliance notes
1 2 3 4  
Man 01 Sustainable procurement Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Man 02 Responsible construction practices No - - - - -
Man 03 Construction site impacts No - - - - -
Man 04 Stakeholder participation Yes Y - Y Y Yes
Man 05 Service life planning and costing Yes N N N N Yes
Hea 01 Visual comfort Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Hea 02 Indoor air quality Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Hea 03 Thermal comfort Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Hea 04 Water quality Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Hea 05 Acoustic performance Yes N N N N Yes
Hea 06 Safety and security No - - - - -
Ene 01 Reduction of CO2 emissions Yes Y N Y Y Yes
Ene 02 Energy monitoring Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Ene 03 Energy efficient external lighting Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Ene 04 Low or zero carbon technologies Yes Y N Y Y Yes
Ene 05 Energy efficient cold storage systems Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Ene 06 Energy efficient transportation systems Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Ene 07 Energy efficient laboratory systems No - - - - -
Ene 08 Energy efficient equipment (process) Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Ene 09 Drying space Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Tra 01 Public transport accessibility No - - - - -
Tra 02 Proximity to amenities No - - - - -
Tra 03 Cyclist facilities Yes N N Y Y Yes
Tra 04 Maximum car parking capacity Yes N N Y Y Yes
Tra 05 Travel plan No N N N N Yes
Wat 01 Water consumption Yes Y N Y Y Yes
Wat 02 Water monitoring Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Wat 03 Water leak detection and prevention Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Wat 04 Water efficient equipment (process) No - - - - -
Mat 01 Life Cycle Impacts Yes (for floor finishes only) Y Y Y Y Yes
Mat 02 Hard landscaping and boundary protection No - - - - -
Mat 03 Responsible sourcing of materials No - - - - -
Mat 04 Insulation Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Mat 05 Designing for robustness Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Wst 01 Construction waste management No - - - - -
Wst 02 Recycled aggregates No - - - - -
Wst 03 Operational waste Yes N N N N Yes
Wst 04 Speculative Floor Finishes Yes N N Y Y No

LE 01

Site selection No - - - - -

LE 02

Ecological value of site and protection of ecological features No - - - - -

LE 03

Mitigating ecological impact No - - - - -

LE 04

Enhancing site ecology No - - - - -

LE 05

Long term impact on biodiversity No - - - - -
Pol 01 Impact of refrigerants Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Pol 02 NOx emissions from heating source Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Pol 03 Surface water run-off No - - - - -
Pol 04 Reduction of night time light pollution Yes Y Y Y Y Yes
Pol 05 Noise attenuation Yes Y Y Y Y Yes

Shell and core building assessments and minimum BREEAM standards

Please note that all minimum BREEAM standards remain applicable for shell and core buildings. For issues with minimum standards, compliance can be demonstrated for the areas of the shell and core building that are directly under the influence of the developer. For issues reliant upon compliance of tenant areas/fit-out items, the minimum standards are still applied to those areas and compliance can be demonstrated via one of three permissible options i.e. the lease agreement, green building guide or tenant fit-out specification.


Shell and Core
Typically a Shell and Core building covers base building elements such as structure, envelope and fit out of common areas. A core HVAC system may be provided to allow for tenant connections.
Green Lease Agreements
A ‘green lease’ is a lease for a commercial or public building which incorporates an agreement between the landlord and tenant as to how the building is to be fitted out, managed and occupied in a sustainable way. Green leases include a schedule containing specific provisions for monitoring and improving energy performance, achieving efficiency targets (e.g. energy, water, waste) and minimising the environmental impacts of the building. The provisions represent an agreement between the landlord and the tenant to adopt procedures to ensure that a building operates at an agreed level through regular monitoring and addressing issues as they arise.
For the purpose of BREEAM a Green Lease Agreement must confirm to the BREEAM assessor that, in entering in to the agreement, the tenant will be required to meet the relevant BREEAM criteria (therefore providing adequate justification for awarding the BREEAM credits). The developer/landlord must confirm that such a lease will be a requirement of tenancy in the building.
The Better Building Partnership (BBP), a group of leading property owners, has produced a Green Lease toolkit >
The toolkit includes non prescriptive best practice recommendations, model Memorandum of Understanding for owners/tenants and model form Green Lease Clauses.
Green Building Guide
A formal document that provides detailed advice to the proposed/actual tenant/s of the building on how to minimise the environmental impacts of the building. The Guide will have a particular focus on those impacts that can be influenced by the tenant(s) as a result of their building fit out. For the purposes of assessing this document within BREEAM an assessor will need to be provided with a copy of the guide clearly outlining the BREEAM issues covered within the guide. The assessor will need to determine which of the issue criteria within BREEAM will be achieved if the tenant puts the recommendations of the Guide into practice.