GBC calls for greater transparency of BREEAM

The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has called for more transparency of the criteria used by BRE Global in Watford to produce their BREEAM ratings of buildings.

UK-GBC have produced a report on the future of BREEAM this month as a result of consultation with its members.

It reached the same conclusion that the Stone Federation has previously voiced about both BREEAM and the Green Guide: that the criteria used for reaching the ratings produced are not clear enough.

Stone Federation say they welcome anything that can assist in simplifying the collation of data involving the sustainability of buildings and that they are currently working with BRE Global on these issues.

In particular they are discussing issues relating to ‘waste’ and water use associated with dimensional stone production. They want the Green Guide and BREEAM ratings to reflect more accurately the minimal environmental impact these have in stone extraction and processing.

Key points made by UK-GBC in the report are:

l Real data is crucial. The sharing of performance data from BREEAM rated buildings would be hugely beneficial for the industry. This, alongside integrating operational performance into building certification, would help deal with discrepancies between design stage energy use calculations and actual energy use in occupation.

l Rating the sustainability of buildings is still a rapidly developing discipline. Greater transparency of the data and lifecycle models behind the Green Guide and the Environmental Profiles Methodology would be hugely beneficial.

l It would be helpful if BREEAM were to set out clearly future strategies and direction so industry is prepared for changes, including how they will relate to government policies and regulations.

l BREEAM needs to become more responsive to consumer needs. Improving customer service, including response times and practicalities such as moving to on-line systems, should be considered.

Paul King, Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council, says: “BREEAM is one of the world’s leading building rating tools and clearly the number one rating tool in the UK. It plays a significant role in helping to mainstream sustainability and in raising awareness among building owners, agents and occupiers.

“Of course there will always be areas for improvement to ensure BREEAM ratings genuinely represent good standards of sustainability performance in buildings and are delivered in a way that is practical and responsive to the industry’s needs.”

Martin Townsend, Director of BREEAM at BRE, says: “For me, it is essential to engage with the industry and our stakeholders to ensure we develop and adapt BREEAM to respond to the market priorities, not just here in the UK but also in other countries where we operate.

“The UK-GBC workshop was an important opportunity for me and the team to hear firsthand the changes we need to make on a wide range of issues. Importantly, the pace stakeholders want to see these changes happen.”