BREEAM 2014 draft manual released!

BRE released a draft version of the BREEAM New Construction 2014 technical manual on 10th February 2014.

The manual can be downloaded from the BREEAM website by clicking here

Having reviewed the new guidance we can confirm the main changes are as follows:

  • Changes to the environmental section weightings
  • Introduction of formal Shell & Core option which filters out credits relating to fit-out works
  • Inclusion of Simple Buildings’ guidance within main assessment manual
  • Revised, more flexible evidence requirements
  • Significant restructuring of Management section
  • Addition of new credits relating to: capital cost reporting, adaptation to climate change scenarios (fabric & services), inclusion of passive design measures, functional adaptability (change of use) and materials efficiency
  • In addition, there are proposed changes to the ranking of the various certification schemes referred to in Mat 03: Responsible Sourcing of Materials. This issue will remain out to consultation until May 2014 but is currently intended to be completed prior to the formal launch of BREEAM 2014 for new project registrations.

For a more in depth analysis of the changes to the scheme we have produced detailed papers on:

In summary, it would appear that BRE have generally taken on board the feedback provided by assessors at recent consultation workshops and have done their best to address a number of issues that were causing significant frustration to BREEAM assessors and their client teams.

The 2014 scheme is open for comments until 10th March, to provide your feedback to BRE email them at

The final scheme is due to go live in late Spring 2014


BREEAM 2014 – Draft release

With the imminent release of BREEAM New Construction 2014 we thought it would be worth summarising the key changes we are expecting to see to the scheme.

BRE hosted a number of customer liaison workshops with licenced BREEAM assessors over the last year and also co-hosted a workshop with UKGBC members last summer to gather feedback on how the 2011 scheme was working and where improvements could be made.

Having attended a number of these events there was much discussion about key technical and operational issues such as:

  • improvements required to Shell & Core assessment methodology
  • inclusion BREEAM Simple Buildings within the main scheme documentation
  • more flexibility in the types of documentation that can be used to demonstrate compliance
  • restructuring of the Management section, see our previous blog piece on Man 01
  • simplification of Mat 03 Responsible Sourcing requirements

Based on BRE’s response to these issues we expect to see changes to these aspects of the scheme in the new technical manual which is due for release in draft form in late January / early February.

Following the release of the draft manual, there will be a review period which will allow final feedback to be provided prior to the formal release of the scheme in late spring.

Further information on BRE’s current published timescales for this can be found here.

Wst 01 – A wasted opportunity?

When we published our CIBSE paper in April this year we looked at the average % of credits targeted for each issue in BREEAM 2011.

With more complex issues like Wst 01 we realised that this was only giving us part of the picture as we needed to drill down into the individual credits to see what was really happening.

For Wst 01, based on experience with our own projects, our view was that the credit for diversion of resources from landfill was being achieved as standard practice on most projects almost regardless of size, type or location. However, we noticed a far wider variation for the credits relating to waste generation with many projects, even where site waste was closely monitored and controlled, struggling to achieve more than a credit or two.

When we took a more detailed look at the data it backed up our experience and suggests that some adjustment is needed to the benchmarks for the credits within Wst 01.


This is further supported by a recent piece in Building by Andrew Kinsey of Mace which confirms that the benchmarks set in BREEAM for this issue exceed those being achieved even by best practice projects. The article concludes that whilst setting stretching targets is to be encouraged if they are too challenging they can be demotivating.

With the 2014 update coming up it would seem sensible to put more focus on driving incremental improvements in site waste reduction by modifying the current benchmarks whilst strengthening the targets for sorting / recycling waste.

A link to Andrew’s article is provided here

For those of you that can’t get through the Building paywall, the data Andrew quotes in his article was collected from BRE’s SMARTWaste system and presented at BRE’s SMART Resource Conference on 30th September. BRE’s presentation on this can be downloaded here (see p16 for the pertinent data): 2._SMARTWaste_data.ppt_[Compatibility_Mode]


Launch of Tracker Plus LEED!

We’re delighted to be launching our brand new Tracker Plus website today to tie in with the launch of Tracker Plus LEED!

To give you a little background on Tracker Plus LEED, we’ve been a LEED Automation partner for some time now and our development team has been working very closely with the USGBC’s IT team to develop the system.

Tracker Plus LEED interfaces directly with LEED Online making it a one stop shop for the management of your LEED assessments. You can carry out pre-assessment charrettes, set up the credit scorecard, edit LEED credit forms and submit for review direct from Tracker Plus LEED without the need to interface with LEED Online.

In addition, it has many of the useful features of its BREEAM counterpart such as automated report generation, email reminders etc.

For more details on the system please go to

If any of you have LEED projects and are interested in using the system then please drop us an email at

We’d be happy to answer your questions or arrange a demo.

We’ll also be at Greenbuild 2013 in Philadephia later this week for Tracker Plus LEED’s official launch so if any of you are planning to visit we’d love to meet you!


Man 01 – The big one!

From the feedback at recent BREEAM customer liaison workshops we know we’re not alone in groaning inwardly at the prospect of starting an assessment meeting off with the heavy hitting (and somewhat tenuously related) eight credits of Man 01: Sustainable Procurement.

Whilst we appreciate the intent BRE had to consolidate related credits into single issue headings we can’t help feeling they have gone a little too far with this one and have our fingers firmly crossed that this is something that will be addressed in the 2014 update.

So, as it’s top of the list and covers so many different topics, we felt it was the prime candidate for our first focussed blog post.

We now have a sample of just over 500 BREEAM 2011 projects and here’s the breakdown of how each of the Man 01 credits are targeted;

A few general observations at this stage:

  • Project brief/decision making: It’s interesting to see this so highly targeted especially given the requirement for the contractor’s early involvement (RIBA Stage B). Whilst BRE have added a new Compliance Note (CN19) to clarify what level of involvement they expect from the contractor, as this was a new credit in BREEAM 2011, it would interesting to get assessors’ feedback on what BRE have expected to see at QA / certification and how easy it has been to demonstrate compliance.
  • BREEAM AP: So overall, across all 3 credits, the average % targeted is 52.8% which is up just over 10% on that reported against the respective credits in BREEAM 2008 (these were targeted at 41.6%). This is a sign that the AP credits are being targeted more commonly. What is interesting is the fall in targeted % between the first and second AP credits. This seems to imply that the AP may well be appointed early enough in the process to agree the target rating and that this is being met at Interim certification but that, in some cases, clients are stopping short of appointing an AP to monitor and report throughout the design stages. The fact that the third credit is the most commonly targeted is not a great surprise. Given the decision to de-couple the award of this credit from the earlier AP credits we are increasingly finding that contractors see this as a relatively low cost credit to achieve, especially when trying to find extra credits relatively late in the design process.
  • Thermographic survey: This was a new standard credit for BREEAM 2011 as it was only included in industrial unit assessments for previous BREEAM versions. There is certainly no shortage of contractors offering thermographic surveys and so perhaps it’s not a surprise that the credit is relatively well targeted. It would certainly be interesting to know what type of projects are targeting this credit as we would anticipate that it would appeal more to developer-occupiers rather than speculative developers. Also, as the data presented above is taken from design stage assessments, it might be useful to take a more detailed look at the post construction stage data to see if the % targeted remains comparable. Whilst the cost of a thermographic survey may not be prohibitive the cost of remedial works may, should the construction quality be found wanting, and might preclude the credit being achieved post construction.
  • Design / construction commissioning: It’s not a surprise to see this credit targeted so highly and, given this, perhaps the question should be asked whether it is now so embedded in standard practice that it’s time for it to be removed?
  • Seasonal commissioning & data collection / aftercare: The seasonal commissioning credit is now very highly targeted and from feedback at meetings on our assessments we are increasingly being told by clients that this is a cost effective credit to target. We’re also often seeing building services engineers offering an enhanced aftercare package to clients that typically covers both seasonal commissioning and first year monitoring.
  • Innovation credit: Perhaps surprising to see this almost as highly targeted as the AP credits? It’s certainly positive that so many clients are committing to monitor consumption 3 years post occupation and gives some comfort that data may soon become available which will enable buildings’ actual performance to be measured against the predicted performance at design stage.  Unfortunately, as this credit only relates to a commitment to carry this work out and provide the information to BRE, whether that data ever becomes publicly available remains to be seen.

Anyway, these are just our initial observations based on the data available and anecdotal evidence from our own assessments.

It would be interesting to get your views and opinions!


About the data…

Just a quick note about the data we’ll be using for our posts which all comes in completely anonymous form from the Tracker Plus database.

At the moment we are using the targeted credit data from all the design stage assessments in the system so, as more projects go in to the system the data set grows.

In time we also plan to start looking more closely at the post construction credits to see whether the credits targeted at design stage are being successfully achieved at post construction stage.

We’re more than happy for you to use this data in any ongoing research but we do ask that you credit us as a source. You’ve got to admit that’s only fair given we’ve done the hard graft of sifting through all the data for you!


Common Data Metrics for Efficient & Informed Delivery of Environmental Assessments – Part 2 (BREEAM 2011 data)

In April 2013 we* presented a paper at the CIBSE Technical Symposium at Liverpool John Moores University. This repeated the analysis undertaken in our earlier paper but this time took a sample of approximately 190 BREEAM 2011 projects from the Tracker Plus BREEAM management system.

A copy of the paper can be downloaded here

The paper provided an analysis of the credits that were being targeted in the formal BREEAM assessment of these projects and identified a number of factors that influenced the targeting of credits, such as cost, technical and time barriers. As part of the research we carried out a survey of practicing BREEAM assessors** to establish what the perceived barriers were to each credit and found the following;

  • Cost – The list of issues most influenced by cost was topped by energy related credits, where design teams are required to significantly improve on Part L requirements and specification of LZC technologies. It also included items not typically addressed such as life cycle costing, VOC testing, thermographic surveys & POE. Due to the additional cost of addressing these issues it is perhaps unsurprising that many of them were not commonly targeted.
  • Technical - Here, the list is again headed by energy related credits as well as credits that may be difficult to achieve due to building or site constraints such as daylighting, use of refrigerants and potential for natural ventilation.
  • Time – This list is dominated by issues that involve a large amount of data gathering on behalf of the assessor and project team, commonly management and materials related. The fact that, in many cases, the costs associated with this are for staff time and therefore relatively low compared to capital costs (in fact, often free as the project team generally end up absorbing this work within their standard fee) explains why, despite that additional time involved, many of these credits are still relatively highly targeted.

It’s also worth pointing out that, as Man 05: Life Cycle Costing featured in the top 10 of all three lists, it’s probably not a great surprise to find that it’s the least targeted standard BREEAM credit. So, despite the changes made to these credits in the BREEAM 2011 scheme, it looks like some more work will be required before project teams readily embrace this issue.

The paper identified a couple of areas of potential further reseacrh such as analysis on targeted credits by building type and investigation issues that might benefit from a whole-life approach in an attempt to help bridge the gap between design and actual performance.

As well as looking into these areas we will also be drilling down into some of the key BREEAM issues to take a look at the targeting of the individual credits within them in more detail.


*Ben Cartmell, Clare Lowe & Darren Palmer of Southfacing Services Ltd; Mel Starrs of PRP; Ian Orme of BSRIA Ltd; Dan Jestico of Hilson Moran; David Wakelin of Mace Group and Phil Jones of Building Energy Solutions.

** Arup, Atkins, Greengage LLP, Hilson Moran, Mace Group, Max Fordham LLP, Rickaby Thompson Associates, Stroma & Southfacing Services.

Sadly, Mel Starrs passed away in July 2012. Mel was an author of Part 1 of this paper and a key contributor to shaping the content of this second paper and her co-authors wished to credit her input into this work.

Common Data Metrics for Efficient & Informed Delivery of Environmental Assessments – Part 1 (BREEAM 2008 data)

In September 2011 we* presented a paper at the CIBSE Technical Symposium at Leicester De Montfort University. This took a sample of approximately 120 BREEAM 2008 projects from our TrackerPlus BREEAM management system and provided an analysis of the credits that were being targeted in the formal BREEAM assessment of these projects.

A copy of the paper can be downloaded here

The paper identified a number of issues which the authors considered were either worth ongoing analysis or further investigation. These included;

  • Credits that were infrequently targeted and the reasons for this
  • Issues outside the project team’s influence
  • Double counting within the BREEAM methodology
  • The influence of BREEAM on design / operational processes
  • Analysis of energy performance within BREEAM (including performance comparison between buildings with a passive vs a highly serviced approach)

Some of the issues raised in the research were addressed in the updated BREEAM New Construction 2011 scheme, such as;

  • Removal of ‘easy’ credits such as provision of a water meter or high frequency lighting ballasts and inclusion of them as pre-requisite standards
  • Moving commonly scored Innovation credits such as BREEAM Accredited Professional to the standard credit list
  • Modification of ‘difficult’ credits such as those relating to whole life costing and volatile organic compounds.

However, other issues were not such as;

  • Those typically already required through planning conditions eg, travel plan, noise survey, provision of recyclable waste storage areas etc
  • Credits requiring a large amount of complex data to be gathered from the project team eg, life cycle impact / responsible sourcing of materials, recycled aggregates etc

We’ll be watching with interest to see how such issues are addressed in the forthcoming BREEAM New Construction 2014 and BREEAM Non-Domestic Refurbishments schemes.


*Ben Cartmell, Clare Lowe & Darren Palmer of Southfacing Services Ltd; Mel Starrs of PRP; Ian Orme of Rickaby Thompson Associates and Phil Jones of Building Energy Solutions.

Welcome to the Tracker Plus blog!

In September 2011 we, along with our co-authors, published a paper at the CIBSE Technical Symposium. This took a sample of BREEAM 2008 projects from our Tracker Plus BREEAM management system and provided an analysis of the credits that were being targeted in the formal BREEAM assessment of these projects.

The paper identified a number of issues which the authors considered were either worth ongoing analysis or further investigation and these are expanded on in our blog piece here.

As a result of this research, and following the release of BREEAM New Construction 2011, we followed this up with a second CIBSE Technical Symposium paper based on BREEAM 2011 data and published in April 2013. Again, you can find a more detailed blog piece about this research here.

It’s all very well presenting the raw data and, as assessors, we have obviously have an opinion on many of the issues identified in the papers but we felt this would benefit from peer debate with Tracker Plus users, the wider assessor community, BRE and other interested parties.

As we’ve said in both published papers, this research isn’t intended as a critique of  current environmental standards.

We’d like this to be a place where we can share and discuss real-world research into current environmental assessment practice, giving assessors and design teams a valuable insight into industry practices and trends.

So, here we are with the Tracker Plus blog, all constructive comments and opinions are welcome!