Developed by BRE (Building Research Establishment), BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is used as a means to assess the environmental and sustainability credentials of master planning projects, infrastructure and buildings. It covers new construction, in-use schemes and refurbishment.
BREEAM technical standards are internationally recognised and considered to be a robust means by which to deliver and validate the sustainability value of a project. Credits are awarded for a range of categories according to performance, of which Land Use and Ecology is one.
The objectives of BREEAM are to:
- provide market recognition of buildings with a low environmental impact
- ensure best environmental practice is incorporated in the planning, design, construction and operation of buildings and the wider built environment
- challenge the market to provide innovative, cost effective solutions that minimise the environmental impact of buildings
- allow organisations to demonstrate progress towards corporate environmental objectives.
What does it involve?
The assessment involves a ‘Suitably Experienced Ecologist’ (SQE) – as required by the scheme and in line with the BREEAM Strategic Ecology Framework – visiting the site to record habitats and features, in line with the requirements of BREEAM criteria:
- site selection: recognising the reuse of previously developed and contaminated land where appropriate remediation has taken place;
- ecological risks and opportunities: to determine the existing ecological value associated with the site including surrounding areas and the risks and opportunities for ecological protection and enhancement;
- managing impacts on ecology: to avoid, or limit as far as possible, negative ecological impacts associated with the site and surrounding areas resulting from the project;
- ecological change and enhancement: to enhance ecological value of the area associated with the site in support of local, regional and national priorities; and
- long term ecological management and maintenance: to secure ongoing monitoring, management and maintenance of the site and its habitats and ecological features, to ensure intended outcomes are realised for the long term.
The change in ecological value prior to and after work is calculated using a specially designed metric.
A report is produced which uses the survey information and site proposals to make an assessment of the site in accordance with the above criteria.
Whilst a Suitably Experience Ecologist typically undertakes the survey, writes the report and makes recommendations regarding the number of credits that should be awarded for each of the categories, the final determination of credits is undertaken by a trained BREEAM Assessor.
When can a BREEAM assessment be undertaken?
Subject to all information being available as required to complete the assessment, a BREEAM assessment can be carried out at any time of the year.
Our experienced team of ecologists are able to guide you and your project through the BREEAM Land Use and Ecology process. Please contact us today for a quote and to discuss your individual requirements.