BREEAM – acronym for BRE Environmental Assessment Method – is one of the most common standards to measure overall environmental impact of buildings, through the application of specific evaluation criteria in three main areas: sustainability (environmental issues and impacts), building (materials and techniques) and regulations (rules and best practices).
Final score assignment system includes five certification levels reflecting the use of strict technical parameters and quality control.
BREEAM international development has been facilitated by easy adaptation of its system to local laws: there are protocol-specific versions available for the UK market, for Arab countries and for Europe. Over 200,000 buildings has been certified BREEAM so far.
Through the various steps of a project, up to the creation and management, this system allows an environmental performance evaluation for all types of buildings, new or existing construction. In addition to the classic version of BREEAM, there are currently 16 different certification schemes, including the standard BREEAM International and BREEAM In-Use, for maintenance costs of existing building management.
Assessment criteria and their application are defined by the Green Guide, a handbook with more than 1500 specifications used to analyze materials, components and methods of construction compared to the environmental profiles of Life Cycle Assessments (LCA), environmental effects identifying method for buildings construction. BREEAM standard was implemented by the Building Research Establishment Group (BRE), an independent institution engaged in the research, analysis and evaluation of environmental impacts. BRE Group shall issue the authorization to certification bodies. They are responsible for assessment process supervision, needed to start the certification process (duration of which varies from project to project – maximum five years from registration date). Professionals involved in the evaluation are BREEAM Accredited Professional (AP), highly experienced and qualified professionals.