What is BREEAM?

In the world of construction, you might have heard of BREEAM, but how does it work and what does it mean? BREEAM stands for Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method.

BREEAM is a scheme that is international and offers third party certification from an independent body that assesses the sustainability performance of infrastructure, buildings and communities.

Image credit

The forms of assessment and certification occur at a number of different stages in the life cycle of a building project, from the early design stages to the construction, operation and even refurbishment.

Impartial experts are used to carry out the assessments which involve checking various elements of a building to ensure that they meet the standards of quality and performance set by the scheme. The certification bodies have government approval to issue certification for services, products and systems. There are a range of national operators of the scheme who act as certification bodies for BREEAM.

So, how does BREEAM’s rating system work?

The main result of a BREEAM assessment is a rating score. A certified rating details the performance levels achieved by a project, and it is measured against a set of guidelines, standards and benchmarks.The rating system is used to compare projects and aims to offer reassurance to the public that the project offers great quality and value. Find Construction Companies Manchester who have achieved BREEAM ratings with their projects, such as

The ratings range from Acceptable to Pass, then Good, Very Good and Excellent to Outstanding. The score is reflected by the number of stars shown on the BREEAM certificate.

Image credit

BREEAM categories

The system measures the sustainability of a variety of different categories. These range from energy to ecology, with each category addressing the most important factors, such as carbon emissions, durability, low impact on nature, response to climate change and protection of biodiversity. The categories are:


Health and Wellbeing


Land Use







The above categories are each sub-divided into further areas of assessment, with its own individual targets, aims and guidelines. When evidence is seen that a benchmark has been met by a BREEAM assessor, score points are awarded called credits. The overall category score is then decided by adding up the credits form each sub-section and the overall category weighting. When the whole assessment has been completed, a final rating is awarded from the sum of the various differently weighted categories.

Assessments are being carried out in accordance with BREEAM schemes and they rely on evidence to decide whether compliance with relevant guidelines has been met. The evidence usually relates to a certain development, such as an extension, building or refurbishment, for example.


Scroll To Top