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.

How Does it Work?

The first step in the process is for the client and licensed BREEAM Assessor to determine if BREEAM Pre-Approval is suitable for the assessments being undertaken. The Assessor will then make an application using the Acceptance form & instructions in GN45 below. After a review of this information, the Assessor is invited to provide evidence and references that confirm compliance with the relevant credit issues that are to be pre-approved. BRE Global then conduct a review of the evidence provided i.e. conduct a Quality Assurance (QA) audit. Once the proposed credits and their associated evidence has been audited and there are no non-conformances, a confirmation of the pre-approval will be issued. For the next three years, the pre-approved credits can be used in up to 100 BREEAM assessments, saving the client and Assessor time and money when assessing projects of a similar design and specification.

Tried and Tested

Having listened to feedback from assessors and clients, BRE Global was keen to find time and cost savings for our clients and assessors undertaking numerous assessments on buildings of similar specifications.

In creating the BREEAM Pre-Approval process we have been in discussion with several clients with different building specifications and designs. The insight from these clients was invaluable in understanding the breadth of differences between general specifications of various building types, and understanding what clients needed from the process to maximise the potential benefits.

One of our clients that took part in the pilot of Pre-Approval was Lidl Sverige KB.

When I was appointed BREEAM assessor for five similar concept stores for Lidl Sweden, aiming for Outstanding certification, I realized that it was necessary to develop a routine that would facilitate the process for the client, design team and contractor.

We started discussing the possibility of creating a reference building, i.e. a Lidl concept store that fulfilled the BREEAM criteria for minimum Excellent level, not taking any site-specific criteria into account. The reference building became our pilot for the pre-approval process.

The pre-approval process resulted in the following benefits;

  • Allowed the project team to focus on and spending more time on carrying out pre-studies and analysis to find the most suitable and efficient system solutions for the concept store.
  • Facilitated for the design team to have a reference building with pre-approved solutions when designing several stores in parallel.
  • The reference building served as a quality assurance
  • Significantly reduced the time spent on assessor BREEAM report writing at design stage.
  • Reduced the risk of errors in design drawings and specifications.
  • The knowledge that a majority of the concept store solutions were pre-approved allowed the project team to focus on the site-specific challenges and indicators and continuously develop environmental improvements for the stores.
  • Allowed the project team to have a long-term perspective from the start.
  • Less deviations and changes in the projects, which shorten and streamline the construction phase.
  • Fewer comments from BRE’s QA-team and thus a shorter certification process.
  • Allows a project team to work with several projects in parallel without an increased risk of lower quality.Elsa Hagdahl, BREEAM Assessor at COWI AB who worked with Lidl on their Pre-Approval Pilot
At Lidl Sverige KB we are very pleased with the pre-approval process. It has facilitated and streamlined our work in projects and given us the opportunity to manage several similar projects in parallel in a smooth way.Mattias Tas, Construction Project Manager of Lidl Sverige KB


Lessons learned from the pilot process highlighted the importance of thorough handovers in the event of design team changes to minimise the loss of valuable knowledge on the pre-approved solutions.

All feedback and lessons learned from the pilot have been considered in finalising the BREEAM Pre-Approval process.