BREEAM Excellent – is it a step too far for smaller buildings?

With the release of BREEAM New Construction in July 2011 some common problems are emerging within the industry. Planning authorities are routinely asking for BREEAM Excellent but is this now too much for small developments to manage, before the release of BREEAM small buildings later this year.

BREEAM Excellent is no easy task, especially now with the minimum mandatory energy requirements increased to bring it in line with Building Regulations 2010. Below shows just some of the minimum standards now required for BREEAM Excellent.

  • 25% reduction of CO2 emissions over 2010 Building Regulations
  • Commissioning testing and reports
  • High Considerate Constructors Scheme scores
  • Consultation with users at RIBA stage B
  • High frequency ballasts on all florescent lights
  • Energy efficiency metering
  • Low and zero carbon technology report
  • Water efficiency and water metering
  • Responsible resourcing of materials
  • Waste recycling storage areas
  • Minimal impact on existing site ecology
  • Surface water management

Smaller schemes that require BREEAM Excellent are finding it very hard to achieve this rating. Measures that are required to achieve this are more appropriate in larger developments.

Trying to achieve the measures on smaller units such as small retail units and small offices at the bottom of large residential developments find it very difficult to achieve the 25% reduction in CO2 emissions over Building Regulations 2010 as there is little or no scope to include the type and size of technology such as CHP engines within the unit. These units tend to be small local shops and small offices with low heat and hot water demands. These do not fit with current technology on the market to enable the required reduction in CO2 emissions.

Realistic standards need to be set by planning authorities for smaller commercial spaces.

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