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Breeam is one of the leading assessment methods addressing sustainable buildings. It considers nine sustainability topics and scores new buildings for a range of issues. Based on the final score of the building, a certificate will be issues identifying the sustainability level that the building has achieved, ranging from pass to outstanding.

To enable the assessor to score the building both the design and the construction team need to provide evidence to the assessor for each of the topics that will be considered. The assessor will then compare the evidence that has been with the requirement and award a score. It is in the provision of evidence that many mistakes are made. The three most comment faults are:

  1. Gaps in the evidence base
  2. Flood of documents vaguely relevant to the issue
  3. Too many caveats in consultant’s reports

Gaps in the evidence base

This is the number one fault in the evidence provided to Breeam assessors. It often comes down to the team member not checking the detail of the requirement. It is easy to remedy: each of the team members need to carefully read the requirement for their issues.

Flood in documents

This fault is in a way related to the previous fault. In attempt to compensate for a lack of evidence the team member submits all the documents that are in his own file that are vaguely related to the issue that is being considered. However, all the irrelevant information has the potential to mask the key elements that are relevant to the issue. It can even be worse than   this: various design iterations may be included in the information providing conflicting evidence. The cause again lies in the lack of understanding of the team member and the resolution again is to carefully read the requirement for the issue.

Too many caveats

Consultants need to be careful about their statements in the design reports they issue. They do not always control the implementation of their advice. The Breeam requirements often ask for a specification or similar form of evidence. Where a design team member has been assigned responsibility for a Breeam issue where a specification is required to be submitted in evidence it regularly occurs that a provisional specification is provided. These provisional specifications are full of conditional statements. For example the document may state that if X is installed then the credit is achieved. When this happens the consultant will need to either obtain further evidence that X will indeed be installed or they are not the right person to deal with the issue and therefore they will need hand the responsibility to a more appropriate person.

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