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BREEAM 2018 – a brief update

The full launch of the BREEAM 2018 New Construction update is expected this year, aiming to reflect industry developments, maintain its relevance, and push forward environmental performance practice.

Based on the draft of the BREEAM 2018 manual, some of the emerging issues are related to closing the performance gaps between the design of sustainable buildings and the actual performance during operation.

Here is a brief summary of the main updates and significant revisions.

Building Life Cycle Stages

In addition to the interim and final stage assessments, there is now a ‘Verification Stage’ which is an optional third stage of assessment to confirm the process of monitoring, reviewing and reporting on the performance of the building once occupied. This would be carried out a minimum of 12 months after occupation and would normally be before a period of 2 years has lapsed from the date of ‘full’ occupation (defined as occupation of 70% of the occupiable space in the building).

This will focus on best practice project commissioning, handover and post occupation support, and aims to help the design team, facilities manager and building owner understand the actual performance of the building and optimise this in line with design expectations. The assessment will review post occupancy monitoring processes and identify where there are deficiencies to rectify or opportunities to take. The verification stage is only applicable to fully fitted assessments, hence it is not available for shell only and shell & core assessments.

The verification stage will also entail a review of commitments made at the post construction stage within the New Construction scheme.


Under BREEAM 2018 the Ene 01 credits will place greater emphasis on more accurate prediction of both regulated and unregulated energy emissions. Additional credits will be available for undertaking detailed energy modelling to predict the operational energy consumption.

The aim of the methodology is to incentivise better understanding of energy modelling techniques and reward more accurate predictions of energy use at early stages to support better design and construction of new buildings. These energy models are to take into account several scenarios creating a range of predicted consumptions informed by a risk assessment of the building energy uses. These scenarios will consider weather, operating hours for systems, occupancy hours and management factors.

Life Cycle Assessment of Materials

There will be a complete restructure and move away from the BRE’s Green Building Guide.

Life cycle assessments for all major building materials will be required to allow for the in-depth measurement of embodied environmental impact of a building. The aim is to drive project teams to consider and reduce the embodied carbon impacts of their building at earlier stages of design.

In addition to the above, some other significant changes are:

  • Greater focus on air quality with the requirement for an indoor air quality plan to become mandatory prerequisite
  • Analysis of NOx emissions
  • Increased efficacy for external lighting
  • Lower levels to achieve responsible sourcing
  • Total restructure on the assessment of recycled aggregates
  • Functional adaptability expanded to include disassembly
  • Outdoor space aligned with the wellbeing of the building’s occupants