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Why do investors certify their buildings with BREEAM?
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New buildings, existing buildings, fit-outs, conversions and buildings under the protection of a building conservation officer can all be eligible for BREEAM certification. In these cases, the pool of available points changes and the existing restrictions are taken into account, so that the buildings do not have to comply with energy efficiency or acoustic requirements to the same extent.
Request a pre-assessment of a building to define your objective, a realistic level of BREEAM certification and the costs involved.
What are the BREEAM objectives?
New buildings, existing buildings, fit-outs, conversions and buildings under the protection of a building conservation officer can all be eligible for BREEAM certification. In these cases, the pool of available points is altered and existing restrictions are taken into account, so that these buildings do not have to comply with energy efficiency or acoustic requirements to the same extent.
We answer questions about BREEAM
BREEAM is a certificate issued in perpetuity for a building that has been audited by a representative of the awarding body BREEAM- BRE Ltd. The BRE representative is a BREEAM Assessor. A list of active BREEAM Assessors and assessed buildings under this scheme can be found at: Greenbooklive. An audit can be carried out on a project already at the concept stage. As a result of the audit, the developer obtains recommendations for changes to the project that will enable the investment to apply for the desired level of certification.
Certificates provide value for building owners. They are an acknowledgement of their high quality and increase returns on rents and property transactions. According to a barometer conducted by Greensoluce, 56% of respondents believe that property investors and landlords apply for certification and are the ones who propose to certify an investment.
The level of certification depends on whether the BREEAM guidelines have been introduced into the project and at what stage. The earlier changes are made, the easier it is to increase the number of recommendations from the BREEAM guidelines; the more points from the guidelines are met, the higher the level of certification. Reconciling some requirements is difficult if introduced at a late stage, e.g. the requirement for the number of hours with adequate daylight vs. the energy efficiency of the building may be mutually exclusive. Therefore, the appropriate choice of points to be met should be based on the developer’s strategy, the points should be introduced at the level of the developer’s guidelines and be the de facto standard for the buildings that the developer builds. If this is done, a high level of certification offers much more tangible benefits in the form of an improved image and better marketability of the property.
The costs for the Certificate Issuing Body – BRE are the same for PCR as the costs for both DS.+ PCS stages.
Depending on the level of certification and the type of building, BREEAM allows the developer to select points to be met from 12 categories. These points should be consistent with the strategy and image of the company seeking certification. If a company cares about the health and comfort of future building users, it is advisable to invest in fine-tuning the HVAC design and thermal comfort analysis, or creating facilities for cyclists or the elderly and disabled instead of planting. Ecology is a very important and highly valued element of investment certification, but it is not a mandatory element to be fulfilled, nor will it provide an investment with a certificate on its own.
According to available barometers, Poland and Sweden have continuously since 2018 been areas where the number of registered and certified investments (BREEAM, LEED, WELL certifications) is growing exponentially. Green Soluce: sustainability-certification-barometer-2019 shows that the highest number of certifications is in Warsaw and Krakow, followed by Wrocław and Łódź. In 2018, more than 2 million m2 of office space was covered by BREEAM certifications (BREEAM New Construction and BREEAM In-Use).
The technical conditions to be met by buildings and their location applicable in Poland are quite high, which is why office buildings without major design changes obtain certificates at the Very Good level. According to research, in 2019, more than 56% of all certificates obtained in Warsaw were just at the Very Good level. Levels higher were already obtained by only 31% of investments and the highest level Outstanding by 3%.
By certifying the building under the BREEAM scheme at the Design Stage and at the Post-construction stage, we reduce the uncalculated risk. This is the risk that at the post-construction stage we will not be able to prove that certain points required as mandatory for Very Good or Excellent or Outstanding levels are met. E.g. at the higher levels of BREEAM certification, it is required that the works contractor provides a number of documents and appropriate site facilities. If such requirements are not written into the contractor’s contract, it may be either impossible or expensive to meet these requirements. In such cases, it may not be possible to certify a development at a level above Very Good, and even this level, may be difficult to achieve.
Banks that are signatories to the UNEP – United Nations Environment programme are committed to promoting green solutions, including providing preferential loans to investments subject to certification or reducing insurance costs. The exact offer depends on the bank. An example is the green home mortgage at Credit Agricole bank.
BREEAM considers this aspect in a multifaceted way: first and foremost, it focuses on reducing external sources of pollution and increasing ventilation efficiency. BREEAM is more stringent than most technical terms and conditions, which recommend an adequate distance between the air intake and exhaust vents, roads or other sources. In addition, BREEAM requires the ventilation system to be fitted with appropriate grade filters on the supply air intake – maintaining an adequate air intake volume.