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Appendix D – BREEAM UK New Construction and Shell and Core Project Assessments

Non-fitted, speculative new buildings (often referred to as shell only or shell and core buildings) can be assessed using the BREEAM UK New Construction 2014 scheme.

The BREEAM New Construction version can be applied to fully fitted, shell only and shell and core building projects. This section provides guidance to assessors and project teams on the application of BREEAM to shell only and shell and core projects.

A shell only or shell and core building project is defined as one where the developer’s scope of works is the design and construction of the base building only, leaving a range of construction and fit-out works to be completed before the building is able to be occupied. This may include some or all of the following elements: the structure, building envelope, core building systems including building servicing strategy and installations (such as HVAC) or plant support for installation of such systems and where present, fit-out of common areas. Often, shell and core projects will also be fitted out to a 'Category A' standard, the scope of which varies between different developers, but often includes in addition the shell and core of the building the provision of raised floors, suspended ceilings, extension of core services above ceilings across the lettable space, finishes to the internal face of external and core walls and blinds. Upon completion, the whole building or space within the building is sold or let to be fitted out as appropriate for occupation. The new owner(s) or tenant(s) will fit-out the building’s accommodation in accordance with their corporate and operational needs, often referred to as a 'Category B' fit-out. These terms, while they are widely used in the property sector, are not used within BREEAM as the scope of works that they refer to varies significantly between developers making them not comparable.

In these projects, where areas of the development are not fully fitted, performance of the building and compliance with BREEAM is verified based on the developer’s scope of works. This is measured using two standard project type options that in turn define appropriate assessment criteria applicable to that project type. While some projects will differ to some extent from the scope of these standard options, for the purpose of BREEAM, issues not included within the chosen option will be excluded from the assessment, even where they are within the developer’s scope of works. This approach is necessary to ensure clarity, consistency and comparability within the property market. A fully filterable list of criteria/issues based on each individual projects scope would not enable comparability between BREEAM ratings, either in terms of performance benchmarking or promotional/publicity purposes.

Defining the shell and core project type

For the purpose of defining the scope of assessment and BREEAM certification labelling, a new construction project that is not fully fitted out can be categorised in to one of the following types:

Option 1: Shell Only Assessment

This assessment and certification option is available where the developer’s scope of works covers new build works to the fabric, sub and superstructure of the building only, including:

Option 2: Shell and Core Assessment

This option is available where the developer's scope of works covers shell works, as described in Option 1, plus core building services. Core building services relates to the installation of central or communal transportation systems, water systems, fit-out of common areas, central mechanical and electrical systems including HVAC, but without local fitting of systems within tenant areas. The systems will typically be centralised with capped off distribution to each tenanted area (for future connection as part of a tenant’s fit-out works). This does not include the full scope of a typical Category A fit-out, due to the fact that the specification of items such as ceiling finishes, raised floors and the zoning of local services above the lettable floor area and other Category A works are not typically finalised until the space undergoes final fit-out according to the tenant's specification and are liable to change. These items are, therefore, excluded from a shell and core assessment.

The Shell Only (option 1) and Shell and Core (option 2) Assessment options are available for all building types

For these assessments, the scope of works being undertaken must be specified clearly and provided for the accurate certification of the project.

Assessing new build shell and core projects

In the main, the assessment process and application of a majority of the BREEAM assessment issues will be unaffected by the scope of new build shell only or shell and core works. This is because most of the BREEAM criteria are concerned with impacts, processes and management procedures that occur with any new build development, regardless of whether it is a shell and core or fully fitted project. However, several BREEAM issues and criterion are tailored for the assessment of fitted out buildings such as acoustic performance. Therefore, additional guidance is given within the assessment issues in the form of a compliance note. These shell and core compliance notes confirm whether the assessment issue applies to a shell only and/or shell and core project and, where it does apply, how to assess it for the options/project types defined above.

summarises the BREEAM UK New Construction 2014 assessment issues and their applicability to shell only and shell and core projects.

Shell and Core Building Assessments and minimum BREEAM standards

All minimum BREEAM standards remain applicable to Shell and Core Building Assessments for the developers scope of works. The only exception is minimum standards for BREEAM issues/credits/criteria which are not assessed in a shell only or shell and core project (confirmed by the shell and core Compliance Note in each relevant issue).

Applicability of the Shell and Core Assessment type to Simple Buildings Assessments

Shell only and shell and core assessment criteria cannot be applied to Simple Building Assessments. For a project to be assessed as a Simple Building, it must be clear that the building can be classified as a ‘simple’. At the shell only or shell and core stage, it is not possible to determine whether a building will be ‘simple’ therefore these assessment options are not applicable to Simple Building Assessments.

BREEAM UK New Construction and the BREEAM UK Refurbishment and Fit-out scheme

At the time of writing, BRE Global Ltd are developing a standalone BREEAM scheme to cover the refurbishment and fit-out stages of the life cycle for non-domestic buildings. Under this scheme, only criteria that fall within the scope of the tenant's fit-out works would be assessed.

The BREEAM UK New Construction and BREEAM UK Refurbishment and Fit-out schemes have been designed to work together to allow shell and core projects assessed under the BREEAM UK New Construction scheme that undergo first fit-out, to then seek fully fitted status by seeking an assessment under the BREEAM UK Refurbishment and Fit-out scheme. The diagram below outlines the relationship between UK New Construction and Refurbishment and Fit-out schemes.

When launched, certified assessments of New Construction shell only or shell and core projects can choose to assess fit–out related issues under the BREEAM UK Refurbishment and Fit-out scheme to gain a fully fitted out rating status under BREEAM UK New Construction 2014.

By having a two part assessment for the shell and core projects, where the shell and core parts and the fit–out parts are assessed separately, BREEAM provides a flexible yet robust way of assessing shell and core projects.

The diagram in Appendix D – BREEAM UK New Construction and Shell and Core Project Assessments outlines the relationship between the UK New Construction and the UK Refurbishment and Fit-out schemes and the assessment options that should be sought to seek fully fitted status.

Assessment options, comparing New construction stage to Fit-out stage

Figure 3 UK New Construction and the UK Refurbishment and Fit-out schemes and the assessment options

The scope of the BREEAM UK New Construction - options 1 and 2 - and BREEAM UK Refurbishment and Fit-out schemes have been defined using recognised industry definitions, such as the British Council for Offices definition of Category A and B fit-out as far as possible. However, in practice, there is no fixed industry standard definition of refurbishment and fit-out works, with a large degree of variability from project to project. Due to this variety and also the need to ensure a consistent definition is used for assessment comparability purposes, the BREEAM Refurbishment and Fit-out scheme has defined a number of optional assessment 'parts'. The scope for each of these assessment parts have largely been based upon setting boundaries around the key physical parameters of the building. Under that scheme, clients are able to seek assessment certification against any combination of parts according to the scope of their refurbishment and fit-out works, therefore providing a highly flexible scheme.

The scope of Part 1 of the BREEAM UK Refurbishment and Fit-out scheme aligns with option 1, the shell only option of the BREEAM UK New Construction scheme. Parts 1 and 2 combined align with option 2, the shell and core option of the BREEAM UK New Construction scheme. Parts 3 and 4 then cover the scope of work that is covered under the tenants fit-out works and would, therefore, be used to 'top up' a Shell and Core Assessment post fit-out.

Assessment types BREEAM UK Refurbishment and Fit-out scheme:

Further information on the BREEAM UK Refurbishment and Fit-out scheme can be found at

BREEAM UK New Construction 2014 assessment issues: shell only and shell and core project applicability

Ref Issue Applicable to shell and core option type
Option 1: Shell only Option 2: Shell and core
Man 01 Project brief Y Y
Man 02 Life cycle costing and service life planning Y Y
Man 03 Responsible construction practices Y Y
Man 04 Commissioning and handover N Y
Man 05 Aftercare N N
Health and Wellbeing
Hea 01 Visual comfort Y Y
Hea 02 Indoor air quality Y Y
Hea 03 Safe containment in laboratories N N
Hea 04 Thermal comfort N Y
Hea 05 Acoustic performance Y Y
Hea 06 Safety and security Y Y
Ene 01 Reduction of energy use and carbon emissions Y Y
Ene 02 Energy monitoring N Y
Ene 03 Energy efficient external lighting Y Y
Ene 04 Low carbon design Y Y
Ene 05 Energy efficient cold storage systems N Y
Ene 06 Energy efficient transportation systems N Y
Ene 07 Energy efficient laboratory systems N N
Ene 08 Energy efficient equipment N N
Ene 09 Drying space N N
Tra 01 Public transport accessibility Y Y
Tra 02 Proximity to amenities Y Y
Tra 03 Cyclist facilities Y Y
Tra 04 Maximum car parking capacity Y Y
Tra 05 Travel plan Y Y
Wat 01 Water consumption N Y
Wat 02 Water monitoring Y Y
Wat 03 Water leak detection and prevention Y Y
Wat 04 Water efficient equipment (process) Y Y
Mat 01 Life cycle impacts Y Y
Mat 02 Hard landscaping and boundary protection Y Y
Mat 03 Responsible sourcing of materials Y Y
Mat 04 Insulation Y Y
Mat 05 Designing for durability and resilience Y Y
Mat 06 Material efficiency Y Y
Wst 01 Construction waste management Y Y
Wst 02 Recycled aggregates Y Y
Wst 03 Operational waste Y Y
Wst 04 Speculative floor finishes N Y
Wst 05 Adaptation to climate change Y Y
Wst 06 Functional adaptability Y Y
Land Use and Ecology

LE 01

Site selection Y Y

LE 02

Ecological value of site and protection of ecological features Y Y

LE 03

Minimising impact on existing site ecology Y Y

LE 04

Enhancing site ecology Y Y

LE 05

Long term impact on biodiversity Y Y
Pol 01 Impact of refrigerants N Y
Pol 02 NOx emissions from heating source N Y
Pol 03 Surface water run-off Y Y
Pol 04 Reduction of night time light pollution Y Y
Pol 05 Noise attenuation N Y
Innovation Y Y

BREEAM UK New Construction non-domestic buildings technical manual 2014
Reference: SD5076 – Issue: 5.0
Date: 23/08/2016
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