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Following our article last month introducing BREEAM Simple Buildings, the new guidance was released by BRE on 13th March 2013. After reviewing the criteria within this new BREEAM scheme we think this is a positive change for our clients. Many small commercial units within larger schemes could now be assessed using this cheaper and simpler scheme. Projects can now be registered for BREEAM Simple Buildings, please contact us for more information.


1. Simplification of BREEAM

The BREEAM Simple Buildings guidance has been created to simplify the assessment process for certain buildings. The guidance contains fewer assessment criteria than other BREEAM schemes. It also includes the simplification of a further 10 issues.


2. What does this means for us and our clients? 

The cost of undertaking a BREEAM Simple Buildings assessment will be less. Build costs will also be reduced as inappropriate criteria are not considered. It should be noted that these building types are inevitably cheaper as they do not include major renewables and air conditions systems.

The credits removed to make the scheme more cost effective include:

  • No Acoustician or Ecologist needs to be appointed
  • Costly testing requirements for formaldehyde have been simplified
  • A travel plan is also no longer required

Simple Buildings will also get recognition for Site Waste Management Plans (SWMP) and their use of recycled aggregates within the building.

As there is less evidence to gather the assessment costs and the certification fees to BREEAM are reduced.


3. Forms of Assessment

This scheme may also be used for Shell and Core units where design teams know the above systems will not be included. However, this may be difficult for areas where there is no tenant and therefore no fit out specifications are known other than the green building lease to confirm compliance with BREEAM issues. Where we know that the building use will be designed to utilise simple systems this can now be registered for the scheme.

Any scheme that changes at fit out stage to include more complex systems would then need to complete a full fit out assessment using the full BREEAM New Construction rather than BREEAM Simple Buildings.


4. Case study

The type of building that can be assessed by this new method has been highlighted by the front cover of the BREEAM Simple Buildings Manual which shows Bygrove Primary School. This was assessed by Samantha Lye of Richard Hodkinson Consultancy under BREEAM Education 2008, achieving Excellent. It was an extension to the school, to provide additional space.  The building was naturally ventilated and included a new boiler for heating using under-floor heating along with new lighting and power. The design of simple layouts with simple building services would now allow this school to be assessed under BREEAM Simple Buildings.


5. Simple Buildings Criteria

Any buildings that do NOT include the following ‘complex systems’ could be assessed as a BREEAM ‘Simple Building’:

  • Air conditioning and refrigerant systems
  • Mechanical ventilation (local toilet extract is allowed)
  • Significant renewable energy sources
  • District heating systems (connection to an existing system is allowable)
  • Laboratories
  • Major water consuming plant such as swimming pools or vehicle wash systems
  • Cold storage plant
  • Escalators

BREEAM New Construction Guidance



Posted on March 25th, 2013