UKGBC publishes report on BREEAM

assmblysquare_1The UK Green Building Council has just published an independent report of its recent consultation with members, which contains a number of recommendations on the future of BREEAM. BRE Global has supported the consultation process and has committed to consider and respond to the points raised by the UK-GBC, which held a consultation on BREEAM in June and July 2010 with member representatives from across the built environment. The initial stage involved a workshop and following this, a further opportunity was provided for members to comment online. The main purpose of the consultation was to provide a broad range of industry professionals with an opportunity to comment on: the upcoming BREEAM update for 2011, the direction of BREEAM beyond 2011 and BREEAM as a driver of transformational change, including all ‘other’ issues.

The aim was to formally capture members’ comments and recommendations which could then be fed back to BRE Global via a public report for their review and consideration.

Key areas that UK-GBC has highlighted include: Data – the organisation concluded that real data is crucial. The sharing of performance data from BREEAM rated buildings would be hugely beneficial for the industry. This, alongside integrating operational performance into building certification, would help deal with discrepancies between design stage energy use calculations and actual energy use in occupation.

Rating the sustainability of buildings is still a rapidly developing discipline and is becoming increasingly complex as new issues rise up the agenda. BRE Global should review the BREEAM guidance to consider new areas for incorporation and the setting of minimum standards. One area that demands more attention is the responsible sourcing and embodied impacts of materials. Greater transparency of the data and lifecycle models behind the Green Guide and the Environmental Profiles Methodology would be hugely beneficial in this area.

Industry requires certainty, both from government policy, but also from market-led initiatives such as BREEAM. It would be helpful if BREEAM were to clearly set out future strategies and direction so that industry is prepared for future changes, including how these will relate to government policies and regulations.

As BREEAM uptake grows, so too the operations of BREEAM need to become more responsive to consumer needs. Improving customer service, including response times and practicalities such as moving to online systems should be considered.

Paul King, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council said: “BREEAM is one of the world’s leading building rating tools and clearly the number one rating tool in the UK. It continues to play a very significant role in helping to mainstream sustainability and in raising awareness among building owners, agents and occupiers. Of course there will always be areas for improvement to ensure BREEAM ratings genuinely represent good standards of sustainability performance in buildings, and are delivered in a way that is practical and responsive to the industry’s needs.”

Martin Townsend, Director of BREEAM at BRE said: “For me it is essential to engage with the industry and our stakeholders to ensure we develop and adapt BREEAM to respond to the market priorities, not just here in the UK, but also in other countries that we operate. The UK-GBC workshop was an important opportunity for me and the team to hear firsthand the changes we need to make on a wide range of issues and importantly the pace stakeholders want to see these happen.”

The report can be downloaded in full from the UKGBC website.

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