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All the Directors as well as every member of staff in BREEAM, past and present are passionate about what we do, not just the standard which has been the product from the extensive research and learning from worldwide best practise, but also our work with the industry, and playing our part in the amazing buildings and market transformation that we all seek.

The fact that many of these or even some assessment methodologies are not backed up with any credible scientific data or third-party certification can make selecting them for use in a development project something of a lottery. Achieving a more sustainable built environment depends on specifiers being able to trust the claims made for building products, systems and services.

Providing impartial, authoritative information that the industry can trust is at the heart of the work that BRE and in particular BREEAM does. Achieving the standards required by a scheme such as BREEAM requires careful planning, design, specification and detailing, and a good working relationship between the client and project team. These are also the very qualities that can produce better buildings and better conditions for building users.  The greater efficiency and quality associated with sustainability are also helping to make such building more commercially successful. There is growing evidence, for example, that certified and rated buildings provide increased rates of return for investors, and increased rental rates and sales premiums for developers and owners. Looking ahead, by its very nature sustainability is all encompassing – not limited to any particular sets of products, buildings or issues. Our assessment and certification systems must be widened accordingly if the momentum for greater sustainability in the built environment is to be maintained.

BREEAM has already been expanded from a scheme able to assess single buildings, to one that can be used on almost any type of building in any location.  The range of issues addressed by the Scheme has also grown, but many more environmental, social and economic aspects need to be considered. The challenge is to broaden the Scheme without increasing its complexity – expansion must go hand-in hand with efforts to make assessments more accessible and transparent. The support and feedback from the industry that we have enjoyed to date will be vital in this process. The eventual goal is to make sustainability mainstream and routine – involving everybody. We will need to link tools such as BREEAM to BIM and a wide range of other databases to allow sustainability information to be quickly and easily accessed. We are living in exciting times, and I believe the next 25 years will see even more significant change than the past, with rating tools enabling the change in this debate, but with them changing as well to ensure we make better and quicker decisions on the nature of components, buildings, communities and infrastructure.

Find out more on the BREEAM website www.BREEAM.com

 

Martin Townsend
About the Author
Martin has a diverse professional background covering all aspects of the built environment from advising UK Ministers when he was an Advisor in Government, to his time as a Regulator in the Environment Agency, or working on construction sites. He works closely with the construction industry bringing sustainability issues alive for companies' right across Social, Economic and Environmental agenda. As Director at BRE he looks to accelerate and broaden the uptake of tools, standard and learning throughout the industry, from component, building and city level, and in doing so, challenge the industry to improve, based on both best practise, but also the latest research.

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