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The technical manual for the internationalised issue of the BREEAM Communities 2012 scheme (v1.2) is now live and the scheme is open for registration for non-UK projects, as well as UK ones. The launch of the revised scheme removes the need of having to go through a bespoke BREEAM Communities criteria development process for most clients with non-UK based projects.

Who is this aimed at?

Currently around half of the total number of registered and active BREEAM Communities assessments are non-UK projects. This re-issue of the existing scheme includes minor changes to reflect the extension in scope necessary to enable assessment of most masterplanning projects, regardless of location using one guidance.

Traditionally International projects were assessed and certified against BREEAM Communities by going through a bespoke criteria development process. The bespoke approach entailed the BREEAM and design teams to meet and discuss the specific requirements of the particular region and select and amend Communities criteria to allow for the local constraints, regulations and conditions. The bespoke process for BREEAM Communities would normally take around 4 weeks and endure the criteria development costs.

Why the International scheme?

The logic behind releasing the International guidance is a two-fold:

  1. The creation of the BREEAM Communities International manual means that most Masterplanning projects will no longer need to go through the bespoke process, saving them time and money whilst ensuring construction excellence and development sustainability, consequently paving the way for further uptake and growth in communities level assessment.
  2. A number of international projects have identified the opportunity to improve alignment with BREEAM International New Construction 2016. This re-issue of BREEAM Communities technical manual is developed in line with BREEAM New Construction UK and BREEAM New Construction International Guidance and therefore increases criteria cross over between the two schemes. This will lead to more cost efficient and effective building level assessments using BREEAM Communities strategies and assessment evidential documents.

 

How are the changes made?

This has been achieved as a result of years of experience developing criteria for various international projects, looking at communities and different interpretation of them from country to country.

It is often the case for international contexts that other government bodies, in addition to the Local authority, have responsibility for the management and delivery of key urban planning features such as transport, water etc.  Moreover, for a number of international developments it has been more relevant to use regional/national strategies as the sites are often of regional/national importance. Likewise, it is often the case that international clients going for BREEAM Communities certification are often limited by rigorous design competitions associated with their sites. In such case, removing UK specific terminologies and replacing them with standard terminologies or referencing the Approved Standards List has offered a simple yet effective solution. Additional compliance notes and definitions has helped clarify what we mean by/what we are trying to achieve with regards to these projects.

Whilst there is opportunity for many more reasonable changes to be made to criteria, the above approach ensures that changes do not result in a broadening of the scope of the issue and associated requirements. This is to ensure comparability between assessments under BREEAM Communities 2012 Globally. More major and technical changes will be considered in the development of a new ‘version’ update of BREEAM Communities scheme in the near future.

An updated version of the assessment reporting and scoring tool and Approved Standards List (checklist A10) is available to assessors to download via the relevant scheme folder in BREEAM Projects.

The bespoke criteria development service will remain available, where its use is deemed more appropriate for the project.

Rose Pourmatin
About the Author
Rose started work at BRE as a QA auditor and then moved to the technical support team. She now leads BREEAM Communities scheme both in the UK and International markets.

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