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A guide to how BREEAM works

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BREEAM provides a holistic sustainability assessment framework for buildings and infrastructure, measuring sustainable value including ratings, criteria, & more.

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An introduction to how BREEAM works

An introduction to how BREEAM works

BREEAM is used to specify and measure the sustainability performance of buildings, ensuring that projects meet sustainability goals and continue to perform optimally over time.

A BREEAM assessment uses recognised measures of performance, which are set against established benchmarks, to evaluate a building’s specification, design, construction and use. The measures used represent a broad range of categories and criteria from energy to ecology. Each category focuses on the most influential factors, including reduced carbon emissions, low impact design, adaptation to climate change, ecological value and biodiversity protection.

Integrating sustainability measures at the earliest possible stage of a project using the BREEAM framework enables reduced life cycle costs and increases in asset value, building user experience and health, corporate image and CSR requirements, and risk mitigation.

The BREEAM process

Assessing your assets to BREEAM is easy. With over 30 years’ experience in sustainability assessment and third-party accreditation, you can be confident in the BREEAM sustainability journey.

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Step one: Find a licensed BREEAM assessor

Step two: Register your project

Step three: Undertake the assessment

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Step four: Undertake quality assurance check of the assessment

Step five: Receive your BREEAM certification

BREEAM assessment categories

BREEAM assessment categories

 BREEAM provides a holistic sustainability assessment framework, measuring sustainable value in a series of categories and validating this performance with third-party certification. Each of these categories addresses influential factors, including low impact design and carbon emissions reduction; design durability and resilience; adaption to climate change; and ecological value and biodiversity protection.

  • Management

  • Water

  • Energy

  • Transport

  • Health & wellbeing

  • Resources

  • Resilience

  • Land use & ecology

  • Pollution

  • Materials

  • Waste

  • Innovation

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BREEAM ratings

BREEAM ratings

A BREEAM certified rating reflects the performance achieved by a project and its stakeholders, as measured against the BREEAM standard and its benchmarks. The rating enables comparability between projects and provides assurance on performance, 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.

Choosing the right standard for your project

Choosing the right standard for your project

The BREEAM suite of schemes enables consistent and comparable assessment and verification across the entire built environment lifecycle.

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New construction

The BREEAM New construction standards provide a framework for newly built assets. Each standard uses a common framework that is adaptable to the asset’s location, allowing for international consistency and comparability.

Find out about BREEAM New construction

BREEAM New construction standards provide a framework to deliver high performing, sustainable, newly built assets that support commercial success, whilst also having a positive environmental and social impact.

Find out about BREEAM Refurbishment & fit out
BREEAM Refurbishment & fit out

The BREEAM In-use standards provide a framework to enable property investors, owners, managers and occupiers to determine and drive sustainable improvements in the operational performance of their assets, leading to benchmarking, assurance and validation of operational asset data.

Find out about BREEAM In-use

The BREEAM Communities standard provides a framework to support planners, local authorities, developers and investors to integrate and assess sustainable design in the masterplanning of new communities and regeneration projects.

Find out about BREEAM Communities

Third-party accredited

Third-party accredited 

BREEAM’s third-party certification involves the validation of the assessment by impartial experts known as BREEAM Assessors. BREEAM Assessors are qualified and licensed to ensure the assessment meets BREEAM quality and performance standards.

The assessment then undergoes a Quality Audit (QA) check from the accredited third-party independent and impartial certification body, BRE Global Ltd. The BREEAM certification mark provides an internationally recognised badge of assurance that the assessment of a project conforms to the requirements of the scheme. The certification mark can be showcased to demonstrate the quality, performance and sustainable credentials of the asset.

BRE Global Ltd is accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS)


BRE Global Ltd is accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) against BS EN ISO/IEC 17065:2012 – General requirements for bodies operating product certification systems for providing certification activities associated with the assessment of environmental performance of:

  • Masterplanning

  • New construction of infrastructure & buildings

  • Buildings in use

  • Refurbishment of buildings

All BREEAM related activities are aligned to ISO 9001

All BREEAM related activities are aligned to ISO 9001.

As an accredited certification body, BRE Global maintains an open and accountable governance structure that, amongst other things, safeguards impartiality. For more detail about the BRE Global, visit here.

Stakeholders can have confidence in our certifications because we conduct them and our business in a fair and impartial manner, and with avoidance of undue influence arising from conflicts of interest. We maintain impartiality by apply a number of principles and these can be viewed in our Statement of Impartiality.

Discover BREEAM Infrastructure

Backed by a rigorous scientific approach, BREEAM Infrastructure enables civil engineers, investors and governments around the world to create sustainable infrastructure.

Learn more about BREEAM Infrastructure