BREEAM at a glance

Founded in 1990, the world's first sustainability assessment method for buildings

Holistic measurement across 9 categories

Applied in over 70 countries worldwide

80% European market share

Adaptable to local and climatic conditions

1000's of licensed assessors worldwide

BRE scientifically backedstandards

Driving building sectors to innovate

Increased financial returns for Investors

Broader benefits of BREEAM

Cost versus Value

BREEAM was created as a cost-effective means of bringing sustainable value to development. It helps investors, developers, design and construction teams and occupiers to use natural resources more efficiently. There may be a capital cost to building to the enhanced standards promoted by BREEAM, but this cost needs to be seen in the context of the overall value of sustainable development. Growing evidence is demonstrating that sustainable developments, like those delivered through BREEAM, offer value in many ways, including:

Reduced operational costs

Research carried out by construction consultants Sweett Group and BRE found that office developers typically invest up to 2% more when targeting higher BREEAM ratings, and recover that additional investment in two to five years through savings in their energy and water bills. The same research found that achieving lower BREEAM ratings can incur little or no additional cost. This research has been published in the report, Delivering sustainable buildings: Savings and payback. A property industry survey carried out by research and consultancy organisation BSRIA with Schneider Electric, and supported by BRE, gathered clients’ views on value. This found the number of clients saying they had paid a green premium to develop a sustainable building was fairly evenly matched, with 49% of clients saying they had incurred significant extra costs to reach their BREEAM target rating, while 41% said they did not. One survey respondent commented, “We would have done it all anyway as we are driven by what the market wants, and sustainability features highly on this.” The full survey conclusions are published in the report, The Value of BREEAM.

Helping to limit investor and developer 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. For example, commercial property network the Better Buildings Partnership has highlighted the risks for investors in England and Wales of the forthcoming Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, which will in the future require rented homes and commercial property to reach a minimum energy performance standard. This notes that properties falling below the standard may potentially be subject to, “a negative impact on collateral value and a consequent increase in the loan to value ratio.” Further information is contained in the Better Buildings Partnership report, Sustainability bites? – The Impact of Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for Commercial Real Estate Lending.

Making a building more attractive to let, sell or retain

There is growing evidence to show that sustainable buildings offer increased rates of return for investors, and increased rental rates and sales premiums for developers and owners. A study by Maastricht University published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) looked at data from transactions from 2000 to 2009 for a sample of BREEAM office buildings in London. The resulting report, Supply, Demand and the Value of Green Buildings found that these buildings achieved a:

  • 21% premium on transaction prices
  • 18% premium on rents.

A survey of the property investment professionals carried out by law firm DLA Piper found they considered value preservation and increase to be the prime benefit of sustainable property. When asked whether they saw a green premium in terms of market rents or yields/capitalisation, 11% of the property investment community saw a high premium, and a further 68% saw a moderate or low premium. Full results are contained in the DLA Piper report, Towards a Greener Future. 

This view was confirmed by the Better Buildings Partnership report, which notes that building ratings and certifications, are, “increasingly seen within the real estate industry as a mark of quality and attractiveness”. It continues: “There’s a growing body of research suggesting such sustainability characteristics can have a positive impact on value through higher rental premiums, higher occupancy rates and reduced obsolescence. Therefore, lending against such properties should reduce the risk of the borrower’s inability to make the repayments over the term of the loan.” 

Creating a more productive and healthy workplace

Sustainable buildings can have a host of benefits for the people who work in them. Standards like BREEAM help to create workplaces with good indoor air quality, good lighting and daylighting levels and higher perceptions of comfort than average offices. As an example of the impact such factors can have, research by the World Green Building Council says better indoor air quality can help improve staff productivity levels by as much as 8-11%. Their report, Health, Wellbeing and Productivity in Offices, was sponsored by JLL, Lend Lease and Skanska.

There is a growing body of evidence to support our claim that BREEAM adds value to any given development.  Please view the published documents below to read for yourself how external bodies have benefited from using our standards and processes.

BREEAM is always happy to receive testimonials, case studies and raw data that helps to build the case for more sustainable design and operation. If you wish to find out more about this area or to contribute evidence for analysis please contact our UK office.

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Independent reports highlighting the value of BREEAM

Towards a Greener Future
The Value of BREEAM
Greening the Building Supply Chain
Grun Kommt - Going for Green
Learning Legacy
Sustainabiltiy Bites

BREEAM core values

BREEAM core values and The Code

BREEAM is part of The Code for a Sustainable Built Environment which is a strategic international framework for sustainability assessment of the built environment, also known as The Code. The Code consists of a set of strategic principles and requirements which define an integrated approach to the design, construction, management, evaluation and certification of the environmental, social and economic impacts across the full life cycle of the built environment. The Code is interpreted through a Core Technical Standard and a Core Process Standard, both supported by Core Science (see diagram).

The Code for a Sustainable Built Environment

The BREEAM Core Standards interpret The Code as two separate but linked documents, one focusing on technical and the other on process/operational requirements. These documents list the requirements that a National Partner must comply with in order to be affiliated with BREEAM.

The Code provides a balanced approach minimising impacts on the global and local environment; and maximising the following:

  • resource efficiency
  • health, wellbeing, comfort, safety and security of users and others
  • social and cultural value
  • opportunities for effective and efficient use of facilities
  • direct and indirect economic benefits

Compliance with The Code, requires all schemes, methodologies and guidance to be:

  • Based on robust, peer reviewed science
  • Based on a holistic and balanced consideration of benefits and burdens to stakeholders
  • Independently audited where leading to formal certification or external claims of performance
  • Fully and openly documented in terms of their scientific basis, inclusivity, technical requirements and operational principles
  • Based on established regulatory, construction and management practices and protocols to maximise relevance and acceptability

The Code’s framework allows BRE Global Ltd to apply the principles of robust science and independence, which have always underpinned BREEAM, to drive sustainability across the built environment and on a global scale. A key feature of the framework is the ability to allow organisations in other countries to adapt BREEAM to their local context and affiliate their processes, products and tools with BREEAM across all life cycle stages of the built environment. At the same time, it ensures that the key underpinning standards are applied consistently but in a market focused way.

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Message from the directors

Gavin Dunn

The true value of BREEAM

The connection between our natural environment and the built one is intricate. With a global landscape fraught with examples of poor decisions, made without the necessary tools and expertise to balance out the impact that our activities have upon our planet.  Luckily, since global awareness has increased, shorter term returns are steadily being replaced with much longer term and sustainable ones as the science to back up damaging claims, become more evident. Learn more.

Dr. Gavin Dunn
BREEAM Director
BRE Global

Alan Yates

Fostering confidence to innovate

Since its inception, BREEAM has been driving innovation and change in the design, construction and operation of our buildings. More recently it has extended its reach beyond the building and into the wider built environment. It has influenced policy, regulation, standards and industry practices around the world and remains at the leading edge. Learn more.

Alan Yates
Technical Director
BRE Global

Martin Townsend

Sustainability and trust

All the Directors as well as every BREEAM employee, both past and present are passionate about what we do, it’s not just the BREEAM standards that are the result of extensive research and learning from worldwide best practise, but also our collaborative work with the construction industry, which helps us drive improvements to create amazing buildings and sustainable market transformation that we all seek. Learn more.

Martin Townsend
Sustainability Director
BRE Global

Client testimonials

"BREEAM Communities encapsulates our strategic approach to development. We regard the assessment process as cost neutral as it helps smooth out the planning process and demonstrates the high quality we would be seeking to achieve.” 

Dave Bullock, MD, Compendium Living

"The high BREEAM target score set by Westmark was pivotal in securing the Environment Agency as a prestigious and long term tenant. It also gives the tenant the opportunity to reduce running costs, the extent of this being determined by how they choose to use the building services incorporated into the design."

Adrian Slade, Westmark

“Using BREEAM means we focus not only on the buildings’ initial design and construction phase, but we also keep in mind the best, most efficient maintenance and upkeep once the facilities are in use.” 

Rosa Lopez, Environmental Sustainability Manager, Neinver

“By implementing BREEAM In-Use certification on our building we truly believe that the running costs of the building will be lower and the building market value will increase. In addition, we believe tenants will be more willing to rent or extend contracts." 

Alexander Galos, Owner, Olympia Business Park

Robust,independent governance and third party accreditation

BREEAM Governance

As a certification body, BRE Global maintains an open and accountable governance structure. The operation of BREEAM (and indeed all our assurance activities) is overseen by an independent Governing Body and a Standing Panel for peer and market review.

The Governing Body represents stakeholder interests to ensure, amongst other things, that BRE Global are acting independently and impartially, that we are operating our processes correctly, and that we are treating our customers fairly.

The Standing Panel provides BRE Global with access to a range of experts that can review the BRE Global standards and schemes to ensure their robustness from a scientific, technical and market perspective, as well as ensuring the development of the standards and schemes is open to external and independent scrutiny.

Our Governing Body

The accreditation standards require certification bodies to have in place a governance structure that, amongst other things, safeguards impartiality. The Governing Body fulfils this role and provides guidance and advice to BRE Global through the wide knowledge and experience of the Governing Body members.

Standing Panel for Peer Review

BRE Global has set up a Standing Panel for the peer review of proposals for new or revised standards or schemes, and their content once produced.   Members of the Standing Panel are proposed by BRE Global and are subject to the approval of the Governing Body.

  • The Standing Panel (SP) usually consists of:
  • The professors from the BRE University Centres of Excellence;
  • The BRE Fellows;
  • Other experts from academia and/or industry as required.

Membership of the Standing Panel currently stands at over 130.


BRE GLOBAL LTD IS proud to be accredited through the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (otherwise known as UKAS).   UKAS is the sole national accreditation body recognised by UK government to assess against internationally agreed standards; organisations that provide certification; testing; inspection and calibration services.

Accreditation by UKAS demonstrates the competence, impartiality and performance capability of BRE GLOBAL Ltd. UKAS is independent of Government but is appointed as the national accreditation body by Accreditation Regulations 2009 (SI No 3155/2009) and the EU Regulation (EC) 765/2008 and operates under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government through the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

UKAS accreditation provides an assurance of the competence, impartiality and integrity of conformity assessment bodies.

What 3rd Party Accreditation means for BREEAM

BRE Global is accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) against BS EN ISO/IEC 17065:2012 - General requirements for bodies operating product certification systems (in the UK and Internationally) for providing certification of the assessment for environmental performance by competent, trained and licensed assessors in relation to the following life cycle stages:

  • Master planning
  • New construction of infrastructure & buildings
  • Buildings in use
  • Refurbishment of buildings

In addition, BRE GLOBAL is also accredited against BS EN ISO/IEC 17024:2012 (Conformity assessment – General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons) in relation to the UKs Government owned standard – The Code for Sustainable Homes and its network of assessors.

Finally, BRE Global is also certified to ISO9001 for all of its BREEAM related activities in relation to quality management. ISO 9001:2015 is based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement.

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BREEAM and Local Planning

BREEAM and local planning

Ensuring the sustainable planning, design and construction of the built environment is an essential part of achieving sustainable development.

Wherever your development is located in the world, BREEAM can help local planning authorities and developers deliver better value and more sustainable communities and buildings. From initial masterplanning, to new construction, through to the buildings in-use (operational) as well as refurbishments and fit-out, they offer a credible, trusted assessment of sustainable design and construction.

“People know and trust the BREEAM standard – if you get a BREEAM ‘Excellent’, for example, there is no doubt or argument about what you have achieved.” - Stuart Rimmer, Peel Group.

Planners and local governments typically struggle with lack of resources, and often burdened with undertaking stringent assessments of planning applications in very short time frames. BREEAM offers to simplify the planning process for both planners and developers, by clearly illustrating the credentials of the development, whilst meeting local planning requirements.

“BREEAM Communities is a planning vehicle but it’s actually so much more...20% of the value is in the planning and 80% is in the conversation you have about your development, how that team works and how that subsequent development expresses itself” Iain Taylor, Partnerships Director, Peel Group

BREEAM certification provides third party assurance for planners

BREEAM is an assessment tool that provides an internationally recognised set of outcomes, which any planning authority can use to define sustainable development at both the neighbourhood and building level scale. BREEAM offers to clarify what the development proposal will achieve so a case officer can quickly assess performance against key sustainability objectives within their local area. It allows local decision-makers to quickly understand the proposal’s benefits and potential and provides a measurable target for monitoring and reporting against objectives within local authority strategies. It helps recognise the unique project location and offer improved use of the development site. It works to local climatic conditions as well as local or national or international development and planning standards and provides a credible 3rd party accredited assurance process that might otherwise be difficult to police within a typical planning department.  More interestingly it makes policy objectives more attainable and provides a environmental, social and economic path towards meeting sustainable development targets. For more information on how BREEAM can help your planning policy or planning application proposal, feel free to contact one of our International Partners to discuss your planning needs further.

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