The BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) was first introduced in 1990, and covers a wide range of building projects. More recently, the government has introduced the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH) Assessment for all new residential developments.
The main aims of BREEAM and the CSH are to ensure that building developments are carried out in a sustainable way and take into account the needs of energy efficiency, conservation of natural resources and environmental impacts, including biodiversity issues.
Many government bodies now require new non-domestic buildings to reach a certain standard under the BREEAM. All new buildings funded by the Welsh Assembly Government, or projects built on land that has been sold, leased or disposed of by the WG, must achieve a minimum of Level 3 under the Code for Sustainable Homes if they are residential homes, or an ‘Excellent’ rating under the relevant BREEAM scheme if they are non-residential.
Unfortunately, the ecology section is often the last aspect of a BREEAM or CSH assessment to be considered by developers and is often thought to be a simple ‘box-ticking’ exercise, but this is very much not the case. For example, a ‘Very Good’ or ‘Excellent’ rating often cannot be achieved unless the project is awarded at least one credit under LE4 (Mitigating Ecological Impact), particularly as this is a ‘mandatory credit’, and this may in turn be unachievable if it has not been considered at an early stage in the layout, design and landscaping of the scheme.
A large number of credits (eg up to 10 in the BREEAM Healthcare scheme) are potentially available under the Ecology section.
These can be very useful if the development cannot achieve the necessary credits under other sections. However, to obtain the maximum number of credits it is necessary to appoint a Suitably Qualified Ecologist (SQE) to oversee these aspects of the work and this is a service which we can offer. DCE Ltd has undertaken dozens of BREEAM and CSH assessments for clients, and we would be very happy to quote you for carrying out an assessment of your scheme.