How BREEAM Certification Works

BREEAM is an international scheme that provides independent third party certification of the assessment of the sustainability performance of individual buildings, communities and infrastructure projects.

Assessment and certification can take place at a number of stages in the built environment life cycle, from design and construction through to operation and refurbishment.

In the case of BREEAM, third-party certification involves the checking – by impartial experts – of the assessment of a building or project by a qualified and licensed BREEAM Assessor to ensure that it meets the quality and performance standards of the scheme. At the heart of this process are certification bodies – organisations with government approval (through national accreditation bodies) to certificate products, systems and services.

There are a number of national scheme operators that act as a certification body for BREEAM, visit the Contact Us page for more detail.

You may also be interested in our Guide to BREEAM Professionals which outlines the roles, responsibilities and requirements of the Assessor, Advisory Professional and Associate, and the important part they each play in the successful application of the standard.

BREEAM’s performance rating and stars

How to get a BREEAM rating

The main output from a certified BREEAM assessment is the rating. A certified rating reflects the performance achieved by a project and its stakeholders, as measured against the standard and its benchmarks.

The rating enables comparability between projects and provides reassurance to customers and users, in turn underpinning the quality and value of the asset.

The BREEAM ratings range from Acceptable (In-Use scheme only) to Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent to Outstanding and it is reflected in a series of stars on the BREEAM certificate.

Always look for the BREEAM certificate and certification mark to verify an assessment and its BREEAM rating. You can also search for certified assessments via our listings.

BREEAM category issues and aims

BREEAM measures sustainable value in a series of categories, ranging from energy to ecology. Each of these categories addresses the most influential factors, including low impact design and carbon emissions reduction; design durability and resilience; adaption to climate change; and ecological value and biodiversity protection.

Learn about some of the challenges BREEAM aims to address by visiting each of the category icons below.


Health and Wellbeing


Land Use







Awarding BREEAM credits

Each category is sub-divided into a range of assessment issues, each with its own aim, target and benchmarks.  When a target or benchmark is reached, as determined by the BREEAM assessor, the development or asset score points, called credits. The category score is then calculated according to the number of credits achieved and its category weighting. Once the development has been fully assessed, the final performance rating is determined by the sum of the weighted category scores.

How to get a BREEAM rating

How to get a BREEAM rating

BREEAM Pre-Approval

Assessments carried out in accordance with BREEAM schemes rely on evidence to demonstrate compliance with the relevant requirements. This evidence usually relates only to a specific development (e.g. building, extension, refurbishment, etc). However, some clients use a standard design and specification across multiple builds.

In response to this, BRE Global set out to develop a process whereby these clients could have the relevant evidence assessed and audited once for future use on multiple projects. The BREEAM Pre-Approval process does just this, and as a result can save time and money.

Find out more

Learn More

Principles of BREEAM

Getting started with BREEAM

What can BREEAM do for your business?