BREEAM UK New Construction 2018 and BRE Sustainable Products

BREEAM launched its latest technical standard: BREEAM UK New Construction (NC) 2018 on the 7th of March 2018. Following a significant update, the ‘Materials’ category encourages whole building life cycle assessment and recognises and rewards construction products with independently verified Environmental Product Declarations (EPD). This blog explains how BRE’s sustainable products fit in with the issues MAT 01, MAT 02 and MAT 03 category and discuss how these changes will affect those who use our standards and services, in particular the Green Guide to Specification, the Environmental Profiles Certification scheme and the 15804 EPD Verification scheme.

Materials and BRE Sustainable Products

To give a brief overview and some context, table 1 outlines where our products map onto the various issues in the Materials section for the BREEAM UK NC 2018 Scheme and how this compares with the BREEAM UK NC 2014 Scheme.

Table 1: BRE Sustainable Products tools and products in BREEAM UK NC 2018 and BREEAM UK NC 2014

Time Scales

23rd of March 2018 was the closing date for assessments registered under the BREEAM UK NC 2014 version. From this date, all projects registered under the 2014 version will have a five year registration expiry i.e. 23 March 2023. For any questions around the timescales for registration and certification of assessments, please contact the registrations team at

What does this mean for Environmental Profiles certification and the Green Guide to Specification?

The Green Guide to Specification cannot be used as an assessment method to gain credits in the BREEAM UK NC 2018 scheme and any subsequent BREEAM schemes. Also, applications for certified Environmental Profiles and Green Guide Ratings will not be accepted from 31st March 2019 onwards.

However as there is still a period for those assessments registered to old versions of the scheme to get certified, existing Green Guide to Specification ratings (generic and certificated) are still likely to be used.  As such, the Generic Green Guide will remain online until 2025 so that older assessments can get the recognition required for specification choices. Certified Environmental Profiles will continue to be published on the Green Book Live, and certificates will be listed for the period of their validity.

How and where can a project gain credits through the use of BRE Sustainable Products

MAT 01: Environmental impacts from construction products – Building life cycle assessment (LCA)

If IMPACT Compliant Software is being used to carry out the LCA at various design stages of the project, then up to 7 credits can be gained. IMPACT is a specification and database for software developers to incorporate into their tools to enable consistent LCA. IMPACT compliant tools work by allowing the user to attribute environmental information to drawn or scheduled items

It is worth pointing out that manufacturer EPD data in building LCA tools may be used in the building LCAs submitted for MAT 01. BRE verified EN 15804 EPD data is currently in the process of being integrated into IMPACT which means that when the process is completed it may be used in the LCAs submitted for MAT 01.

MAT 02: Environmental impacts from construction products – Environmental Product Declarations (EPD)

Specify construction products with an EPD that taken together and grouped according to the material classification as outlined in the methodology in the manual, achieve a point score of at least 20 (see table 2) to gain 1 credit.

Table 2: EPD points for different types of EPD

EPD (type III Environmental Product Declarations) are environmental declarations that have been independently verified and issued according to ISO 14025 and, for construction products, are compliant with either the ISO 21930 standard or EN15804 standard. These EPD are based on LCA data, and present the environmental impacts of a construction product or building system throughout or at specific stages of its life cycle.

BRE’s EPD verification scheme is in line with the European standard EN 15804 and is accepted by BREEAM UK NC 2018.

As BRE’s Environmental Profiles certification is in line with ISO 21930, they can be applicable for this credit as long as they meet the following criteria which is applicable to all EPD:

  • They are unexpired at the point of specification.
  • The product is installed in the building by the end of construction.
  • They are issued or registered by an ISO 14025 compliant programme operator.

As mentioned above, please note that applications for certified Environmental Profiles and Green Guide ratings will not be accepted from 31st March 2019 onwards.

MAT 03: Responsible sourcing of construction products

BES 6001 Responsible Sourcing standard will continue to be recognised as one of the certified schemes that products can use to gain up to 3 credits based on the percentage of RSCS points achieved. BES 6001 looks at the management of the supply chain and environmental impacts against categories such as resource use, waste management, greenhouse gas emissions, legal compliance etc. and currently has 5-7 RSCS points associated with its certification.

If you would like more detailed information on any of these products and what the best route is to take for BREEAM UK NC 2018 in regards to EPD and Environmental Profiles certification then please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Sustainable Products team at BRE.