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BREEAMlogoThe BRE launched its draft BREEAM Refurbishment and Fit-out 2014 scheme last Friday (July 18th). The document is available for public consultation until August 29th 2014 (a total of 6 weeks) via the BREEAM website, click here to access the document.

This marks the first step towards the launch of the first dedicated refurbishment award for non-domestic property in October 2014 (date to be confirmed). Inevitably the introduction of a new scheme is an opportunity to raise sustainability performance targets, and the BRE states the scheme aims to recognise, ‘…the importance of enhanced performance in the existing building stock (which)…has become more critical to reducing the impacts of the built environment’ [1] .

Non-domestic refurbishment schemes that want to register under BREEAM 2008 must do so by November 2014 (date also to be confirmed).

Design teams and clients familiar with non-domestic schemes seeking BREEAM assessment for refurbishment are likely to welcome this new assessment. Currently refurbishment schemes must use the 2008 scheme which does not suit the typically variable scopes of refurbishment. In fact this new scheme offers ‘Parts’ 1-4 which will be selected according to scope.

The parts split out according to typical landlord and tenant responsibilities ie: Fabric and Structure (Part 1) and Core Services (Part 2), followed by Local Services (Part 3) and Interior Design (Part 4). These separate parts are thought to improve qualitative comparisons with other schemes in the property market. Parts 3 and 4 seem to provide a platform for BREEAM to challenge the RICS SKA scheme in the market for ‘sustainable’ fit-out assessments. For details of the existing Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ SKA Rating scheme click here.

The building types this assessment can be used for is wide-ranging (see Table 2, pages 14-15 of the draft manual). The application for assessing ‘historic’ buildings is suitably broad and recognises that this will apply to buildings that are not necessarily listed (see page 19 of the draft manual). The definition of a historic building may therefore need project-specific clarification or justification. This factor may come to the surface during the consultation period.

Helpfully the BRE has complied documents which schedule out summary comparisons between features of the credits between BREEAM UK New Construction 2014 and BREEAM UK Refurbishment and Fit-out – although users probably would find a comparison with the proposed scheme and BREEAM 2008 more useful. [UPDATE 3.45pm 25.07.14: following review of this blog post the BRE has added a document this afternoon which provides a tabulated summary of changes between BREEAM 2008 and 2014 – click here. Thank you to the BRE for a swift and effective response].

This new document should fill a gap for existing historic buildings that has been difficult to grapple with for a long time. The increased sophistication in assessment for all types of refurbishment schemes is a breath of fresh-air and will probably reduce frustration and industry cynicism for ‘tick-box exercises’ in working towards sustainable construction practices.

Do post any thoughts or experiences you may have of using the current BREEAM assessment tool for historic buildings and how you believe this new document may change things.
If you have experience of the SKA Rating scheme do share your thoughts on how this may compare.


[1]p.2, Consultation of Draft BREEAM UK Refurbishment and Fit-out 2014 scheme, July 2014, BRE