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Existing buildings are currently responsible for approximately 27% of CO2 emissions produced in the UK.

With local planning authorities updating their policies to reflect the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), in the absence of the adopted local plan, the use of BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment is expected to increase significantly.

Paragraph 95 of the NPPF states that:

“To support the move to a low carbon future, local planning authorities should:

  •  Actively support energy efficiency improvements to existing buildings; and
  • When setting any local requirement for a building’s sustainability, do so in a way consistent with the Government’s zero carbon buildings policy and adopt nationally described standards.”

BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment meets both these criteria.

BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment can also be applied for change of use developments, since the government relaxed some planning requirement for change of use from commercial to domestic uses, it is more likely that empty buildings can redeveloped into homes.

Some Boroughs in London have already amended their planning policies to include BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment assessments to be carried out, for example London Borough of Chelsea and Kensington require certification to a “Very Good” rating while London Borough of Richmond upon Thames requires an “Excellent”.  Looking further afield, Reading requires that if developments consist of more than 10 dwellings; 50% of the units are required to achieve an “Excellent” and the remaining units a “Very Good”.  Bournemouth requires a “Very Good” on all refurbishment projects.

In order to achieve the various ratings, the following scores need to be achieved:

  • Pass – a score equal to or greater than 30
  • Good – a score equal to or greater than 45
  • Very Good – a score equal to or greater than 55
  • Excellent – a score equal to or greater than 70
  • Outstanding – a score equal to or greater than 85

These scores are the same as BREEAM New Construction.

There are certain BREEAM criteria that need to be considered at the planning stage.  These include the various minimum standards that need to be achieved for the required rating.

In order to achieve a Very Good rating, the following Minimum Standards will need to be achieved:

  • ENE 2 – Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) Post Refurbishment – Very Good requires an Energy Efficiency Rating of 65+
  • WAT 1 – Internal Water Use – Very Good requires 129-139 litres/person/day
  • HEA 5 – Ventilation – To meet the requirements of Section 5 of Building Regulations Approved Document Part F 2010
  • HEA 6 – Safety – Fire and Carbon Monoxide detection and alarm system
  • MAT 2 – Responsible Sourcing – All timber used to be responsibly sourced

BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment is very similar to other BREEAM methodologies, EcoHomes and the Code, therefore making it more straightforward for the developer to adapt to the new assessment.

Richard Hodkinson Consultancy is able to assist clients from the planning stage and all the way through to post construction.  By advising on the sustainability and energy strategy, our planning Pre-Assessment, sustainability and energy reports will provide a clear strategy which can make the planning process easier.