BREEAM is a widely used Environmental Assessment Method originally developed by the Building Research Establishment as a way measuring the environmental performance and sustainability of a building project which was going beyond the existing regulatory standards and statutory minima.


A BREEAM assessment is currently required by Welsh Assembly Government, as part of the planning process, and it is a prerequisite of funding from DCELs

The BREEAM assessment method considers a wide variety of sustainability issues and combines the individual components under one assessment score.

The building scores credits by achieving different criteria under 8 issue categories;
-Energy                                      -Management
-Water                                       -Land Use & Ecology
-Health & Wellbeing                     -Transport
-Materials and Waste                    -Pollution

This leads to a percentage score, which in turn translates to a ‘PASS’, ‘GOOD’, ‘VERY GOOD’ ‘EXCELLENT’ or ‘OUTSTANDING’ rating;
25%+ = Pass
40%+ = Good
55%+ = Very Good
70%+ = Excellent
85%+ = Outstanding

However these categories are not all equally weighted, the Energy and CO2 emissions section for example, represents more than a third of the total points available, this reflects the current importance of this criteria;

Environmental Impact Categories No. of Credits in Category % of possible points score available
Category 1 – Energy/ CO2 29 credits 36.4 %
Category 2 -  Water 6 credits 9 %
Category 3 -  Materials 24 credits 7.2 %
Category 4 -  Surface Water run-off 4 credits 2.2%
Category 5 -  Waste 7 credits 6.4 %
Category 6 -  Pollution 4 credits 2.8 %
Category 7 -  Health and Well being 12 credits 14 %
Category 8 -  Management 9 credits 10 %
Category 9 -  Ecology 9 credits 12 %
Total 104 credits 100 %

A BREEAM assessment is carried out during the design stage of a development, and is therefore based heavily on an auditable trail of documentation which demonstrates intent. The full certificate can only be awarded after the building is completed and a Post Construction Review has been carried out.

Because of this reliance on documentary evidence it is critical to appoint a BREEAM assessor at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure that all of the relevant paperwork is collated to support the assessment, and achieve the highest score.

The scheme used for the assessment of schools is called BREEAM Education which has components within each of the criteria sections targeted specifically at new and refurbished education buildings.

What should I do?

It is critical to appoint a BREEAM assessor at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure that all of the relevant paperwork is collated.

WLGA - CLILC Llywodraeth Cynulliad Cymru / Welsh Assembly Government