BREEAM USA FAQs

How do I get started with a BREEAM USA In-Use assessment?

BREEAM USA In-Use is open to ALL existing commercial buildings – any size, any age and any performance level. Any existing commercial building can start an assessment by simply registering with BREEAM USA online and completing a BREEAM USA In-Use assessment. Once the assessment is completed you’ll understand how your building is performing right away and be able to identify areas for improvement by reviewing the completed score.

It’s easy to get started:

  • Register your asset
  • Measure performance by completing the assessment
  • Receive an instantaneous unverified score
  • Hire a BREEAM USA In-Use Assessor to verify score
  • Receive BREEAM USA In-Use certification

What are the three parts to the BREEAM In-Use program?

Part 1: An assessment of the environmental performance of the asset’s built form, construction, fixtures, fittings and installed services.

Part 2: The management and operation of the building.

Part 3; The management of building tenants and their activities and services within the builsing.

*Please note that Part 3 is currently only applicable to office buildings.

Do I have to do all three parts of the assessment to gain a BREEAM USA In-Use certification?

No.  You can do one part, two parts or all three parts for a certification.  Please note that a Part 3 assessment is only available for offices and is recommended to be undertaken in combination with a Part 2 assessment as the score achieved for Part 2 feeds into the score for Part 3.

What are the outcomes of a BREEAM USA In-Use Assessment?

BREEAM USA In-Use is all about outcomes.  It’s a framework, based on scientific reseearch for understanding how your building is performing today against international best practices and how to improve building performance and reduce environmental impacts going forward.  The assessment tool assists in making informed decisions on next steps, based on your budget, by providing robust and accessible information for benchmarking and continual improvement.

How are credits awarded for certification?

During the assessment process, each category is sub-divided into a range of issues in the form of questions.  Each question has a list of answer options that set out successively higher levels of performance.  Credits are awarded based on the answer option that has been selected, with higher numbers of credits awarded for better environmental outcomes.  The credits achieved are then weighted based on the relative impact of the category to calculate the overall score.  Once the building has been fully assessed, a rating is achieved based on the overall score.

How does BREEAM USA In-Use limit building investor and owner risk?

Climate change and evolving regulation are posing increasing challenges for existing buildings and their owners and investors.  Buildings that are not equipped for the future may face the risk of devaluation and could eventually become stranded assets.

How is BREEAM USA third-party certified?

An independent and licensed BREEAM USA Assessor verifies that the performance described is accurate and backed up with evidence that meets the BREEAM standards as described in the BREEAM USA In-Use Technical Manual.  The Assessor is an independent individual.  BREEAM USA Assessors must not undertake an assessment for their own company or organization or provide consultancy services for the asset they are assessing.  This ensures that the Assessor is impartial.  The licensed Assessor then submits the assessment through the online tool to undergo quality control and provide assurance that the rating is appropriately awarded.

I own or manage a building, how do I find a licensed BREEAM USA Assessor?

A list of licensed BREEAM USA In-Use Assessors is available here. [LINK TO BE ADDED]

Do I need to register a building before a BREEAM In-Use assessment?

Yes, you must register your building with BREEAM USA using the online tool and purchase a Performance Measurement.

My building has a LEED New Construction rating, why would I want to certify with BREEAM USA In-Use?

BREEAM USA In-Use is an easy way to verify that your building is performing the way that you anticipated it would.  The BREEAM In-Use assessment will assist in identifying areas to improve through its operations and management of the building.

How much does it cost to register a building with BREEAM USA In-Use?

It costs $1000 per asset to access the Performance Measurement.  The questions for all three parts of BREEAM In-Use are available for one year for this fee.  If certification is then desired, a licensed BREEAM In-Use Assessor will need to be hired to verify the assessment for certification.  A BREEAM In-Use Assessor negotiates a fee directly with the building owner/operator.

How much does it cost to complete a BREEAM USA In-Use certification?

Once a building is registered (see above question), an independent licensed BREEAM USA In-Use Assessor is contracted directly by the building owner/operator to complete the certification.  The Assessor’s job is to verify the accuracy of the described performance by conducting a site visit where they will collect and review evidence to support the performance.  The assessor’s fees will vary depending on a number of factors, including but not limite to:

  • Size of the building
  • Amount of evidence to review and information to gather
  • If data is readily available

The BREEAM Assessor then pays the Quality Assurance fees directly to BRE America before a certifiction is issued.

I’m a LEED AP O+M, do I need to do full training to become a BREEAM USA In-Use Assessor?

The BREEAM USA In-Use program is different from LEED for Existing Buildings.  If you are a LEED AP O+M, your experience working in the sector will be useful in that it can assist you becoming a licensed BREEAM USA assessor, but you must still meet three key requirements:

  1. Confirm appropriate knowledge and experience.
  2. Satisfactorily complete the BREEAM USA In-Use training delivered by BREEAM USA
  3. Successfully pass the BREEAM USA In-Use examination

As a licensed BREEAM USA Assessor, can I consult on a building that I have one an assessment for?

Impartiality within the assessment and certification process is paramount for ensuring the credibility of the outcome.  Assessors cannot provide consultancy services or be directly involved in achieving or implementing a solution on a project for which they are an assessor.  Assessors cannot assess buildings owned by their company or organization.  Assessors are required to declare any potential conflict of interest prior to undertaking an assessment.

What’s the difference between a BREEAM USA consultant and a licensed BREEAM USA In-Use Assessor? Can I do both?

A consultant is directly or indirectly creating evidence to support the assessment.  The licensed Assessor confirms the performance is accurate and verifies that the evidence supports that answer while also meeting the BREEAM standard as set out in the Technical Manual.  You can be a BREEAM USA consultant and a BREEAM In-Use Assessor – just not for the same project.

A consultant can be part of the organization that desires a BREEAM USA In-Use certification or can be hired independently to help the building owner or property manager complete the assessment.

A licensed BREEAM USA Assessor is an independent, third party who is not part of the client organization and has NOT provided consultancy on the specific project.  The Assessor undertakes a site visit and verifies that the information provided in the assessment is accurate.

How do you deal with FSC lumber?

BREEAM awards credits for responsibly sourced materials irrespective of material type.  The aim of these credits is to encourage the specification and procurement of responsibly sourced materials (RSM) for buildings in construction and operation.  To achieve credits for this issue, materials used for key building elements must be covered by appropriate BREEAM recognized environmental management or Responsible Sourcing Certification (RSC) schemes.  These include the principal lumber sector schemes used in the USA and internationally.  The score achieved is dependent on the rigor and scope of the RSC scheme.  Further guidance can be found in our Resources section.

Does BREEAM USA In-Use require a building to have an ENERGY STAR score?

BREEAM USA In-Use has the same goal of improving building performance as other national and international standards.  A building does not require any other standard rating to undertake a BREEAM USA In-Use assessment.