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Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM)

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This consultation has closed. The Welsh Government response is now available.
We want to reduce CO2 emissions in Wales. We are looking to produce more of our energy from renewable and low carbon energy sources.

We are using BREEAM to assess how sustainable development is being implemented in non-residential new buildings in Wales.

BREEAM is a method of assessing the long term environmental impact of new buildings. It is used to assess the environmental performance of both new and existing buildings.

BREEAM 2011 New Construction is the latest version of the BREEAM Scheme. It covers many types of development including:

  • Commercial:
    • Offices;
    • Industrial Units; and
    • Retail (Shops, retail park, showroom, restaurant, hot food takeaway); 


  • Public (non housing):
    • Education (Pre-school, schools, colleges, higher education institutions);
    • Healthcare (teaching hospitals, general acute hospitals, community hospitals, General Practice surgeries, health centres and clinics); 
    • Prisons ( high security prison, standard secured prison, local prison); and
    • Law Courts (crown and criminal courts, county courts, family and youth courts).


  • Residential accommodation: 
    • Residential institutions (care home, sheltered accommodation, residential college, military barrack); 
  • Other: 
    • Residential Institutions (hotel, hostel, boarding and guest house, secure training centre);
    • Non residential institutions (art gallery, museum, library, day centre, community centre, place of worship);
    • Assembly and leisure (Cinema, theatre/music/concert hall, exhibition/conference hall); and
    • Other (transport hub, creche).

A full list of the non-domestic building types which can be assessed and rated using the BREEAM 2011 New Construction scheme can be found on the BREEAM website.

Visit: BREEAM website (external link)

BREEAM covers nine categories and scores them against 5 different ratings of Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding. These categories are:

  • Management;
  • Health and Wellbeing;
  • Energy;
  • Transport;
  • Water;
  • Materials;
  • Waste; 
  • Land use and Ecology; and 
  • Pollution.

Although not a legal standard, BREEAM is used and understood by the development industry in the UK and internationally. It is widely considered as best practice in the environmental design and assessment of new and existing buildings.

In 2011, following a review by Building Research Establishment Global Ltd (BRE) an updated version of BREEAM was published. This applies to new project registrations from 1 July 2011. The 2011 version includes more common building types which may have previously required the development and use of separate ‘Bespoke’ criteria and assessment.

Visit: Building Research Establishment (external link)

BREEAM assessors can be found using the Green Book Live.

Visit: Green Book Live (external link).

At the end of March 2009, BRE reported that 140 buildings in Wales had been assessed under BREEAM before BREEAM 2008 started. These assessments included office, retail, industrial and bespoke, and 55 of these achieved an "Excellent" rating at the design stage.

BREEAM Awards Wales

These awards recognise and reward those involved in designing and constructing the highest scoring buildings in Wales under BREEAM each year.  A BREEAM "Excellent" rating is a required, so the winners are examples of sustainable design in Wales. Each development has been independently assessed and certified.

To win an award, each building must have excelled in every environmental category within BREEAM. Therefore, winners represent a holistic approach to delivering environmental sustainability.

Visit: BREEAM Awards Wales (external link)