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BEAN – BREEAM what’s your opinion?

by Mel Starrs on February 16, 2012


The latest BEAN (Building environmental assessment network, facilitated by BSRIA and made up of BSRIA members) meeting was entitled ‘BREEAM, what’s your opinion’. The slides are available here. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to make it in person – some thoughts I gleaned from the presentations are below.

Dave Cheshire links to the Target Zero project – “The ‘Target Zero’ project is a free resource that will provide designers, architects and engineers with the guidance they need to meet the emissions reduction target set by government of zero carbon by 2019. In May 2008 the Market Development Fund (MDF) commissioned a team led by AECOM (formerly Faber Maunsell) to carry out a £1 million sustainability project to look at five major building types.” There is some good data in the reports for the cost of certain BREEAM credits, depending on location and rating. The key learning being that BREEAM is cheaper to design in early than chuck money at late in the day (by now most of my readers will be familiar with this mantra, I’d hope).

According to Tim Bevan the next version of BREEAM will be due late 2013/early 2014. I understand the revision will be quite a departure but it wasn’t clear from the slides which way the thinking is going quite yet – if anyone made it to the event and knows more, please leave a comments.

Rod Bunn asks a BIG QUESTION: “Is the dependency culture created by the rating systems sustainable in themselves? Have had their day as commercial national monopolies, or should we be going open-source and voluntary?”

[I think he has a point – but does he see this new world of open-source and voluntary as ‘free’? Do we ensure the market perceives ‘value’ in an open-source system, in order fund the development, or do we rely on volunteers? It is indeed, a BIG QUESTION]

James Parker then looked at the number of assessors and AP’s. I wish I’d been there in person to hear the discussion around this – again if you were there and can share, please do in the comments. I’ve a sketchy draft blogpost on BREEAM AP which I haven’t yet managed to publish – it didn’t turn out quite the way I’d hoped (the scheme, not the blogpost).

Julie’s slides then finish up with a whistlestop tour through BREEAM 2011 – again another blogpost which I’ve been poking about the drafts folder for too long.

James Parker also has a blogpost here summarising some of the discussions on the day:

The aim of the event was to see if the 2011 changes were sitting well with the industry or needed changing.  It was also a chance to give BRE feedback directly for future changes, or problems that have been encountered.

Particular issues raised were:

  • The transparency of some of the calculation methods
  • Getting feedback or answers to queries from BRE
  • Issues with the energy credits in the 2011 version, especially when dealing with CHP units. 
  • Some refrigeration related credits appear impossible to get

Questions raised in the presentations were:

  • Is the value of each credit appropriate?
  • Is the industry ready for all the changes made in 2011?
  • Is the qualification route for assessors and BREEAM APs appropriate?
  • Is there need for more information for the industry?

I’ll be keeping a look out for the next event – looks like a useful network – but there doesn’t seem to be a group on LinkedIn which surprises me.