BREEAM, (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) was founded by The Building Research Establishment in Watford in the UK in 1988. The principle behind BREEAM is to quantify the ecological impact of constructing buildings, their sustainability in use and the eventually to calculate the environmental cost of the whole life cycle. Constructions are graded ‘Pass’, ‘Good’, ‘Very Good’, ‘Excellent’ and ‘Outstanding’ from schedules which award values to all component parts of the construction. There is an overarching concern for sustainability eventually creating the score which results in the grade awarded. The first version for assessing new office buildings was launched in 1990 was followed by versions for other specific building types including superstores, industrial units and existing offices. Subsequent development has refined the breadth and range of models used to create a comprehensive suite of assessments. BREEAM offer training and certification for personnel at various levels starting with general moving through expert to assessor. Further specialisations are available and coupled with continuous monitoring and annual ‘harmonisation’ training ensures the adoption of the latest standards and requirements to a common international standard. BREEAM has been adopted by many countries and is settling down to become an increasingly internationally accepted and understood rating system. The development and creation of further defined sectors backed by ongoing monitoring and feedback enables BREEAM to offer relevant and current advice. A good example is in healthcare where national schemes are brought together to share international experience and achievements to create a model of ‘best practice’. The scheme has the advantage of being practitioner driven and whereas governmental, local and national authorities are keen to establish their green credentials the private sector is no laggard. Indeed results imply that BREEAM compliance and certification enhances values and added worth not only reputationally but financially. For the construction professional it offers an added value to clients and proper consideration of sustainability. According to BREEAM though it may add 1-3% to the capital cost of the project they claim that this is normally recovered in a 2-5 year period, enhancing the value of the construction. BREEAM has active groups in Germany, Spain, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK and is increasing its scope and coverage in detail and in additional countries. The current momentum of the scheme and increasing requests from international clients is undoubtedly driving its acceptance as an international norm.

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