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The BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment scheme was launched in 2012 to address specific environmental performance standards in refurbishment projects. It can be applied to any existing building that is being refurbished as residential, where at least one of following building elements is being retained:

  • External walls
  • Ground floor
  • Upper floor slab
  • Structural frame

BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment cannot be applied to newly constructed buildings (which are assessed instead under the Code for Sustainable Homes), unless a new home is being built underneath or above an existing building which is being refurbished; in this case, the whole building can be assessed under the scheme.

This BREEAM scheme defines two broad categories of refurbishment, which are explained below:

Category 1: Alterations to existing dwellings and extensions

Alterations to existing dwellings include:

  • A major alteration in at least one thermal element (walls, roof or floor)
  • A change to building services or internal refits
  • A change which results in an improvement of at least 3 points in the Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

This is a whole house assessment method, so where a dwelling is being extended, it is likely that wider improvements within the rest of the home will be necessary in order to meet the minimum standards and build up the overall score; the extension cannot be assessed independently of the rest of the building.

Category 2: Domestic conversions and change of use projects

This is relevant where buildings are redesigned to create new homes; it could be a non-residential building or large house converted into apartments, or several smaller homes or retail units converted into a larger dwelling.