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The launch of the latest BREEAM UK New Construction (UK NC) scheme marks the end of an 18 month process of technical development and extensive industry consultations. This has resulted in some pretty impressive statistics! Charlotte Hardy reports.

Every single comment we received during the consultation was reviewed. We really appreciate the level of engagement and enthusiasm from the industry – so we’d like to take a moment to extend a huge thank you to everyone who gave up their time to provide comments, in whatever format. Your feedback has been invaluable in the development of this scheme. From the 7th March 2018 you will be able to download the summary of feedback document here.

The last 18 months have certainly been a challenge for myself and the team. Not wanting to leave any stone unturned, the sheer amount of information that needed to be considered meant that developing the new scheme has been a long and detailed process. Whilst there have been times when we’ve all wanted to throw the manual out the window (I think we all have those moments occasionally!), the BREEAM team have pulled together and created an exciting new manual, based on the latest science and developments within the industry. We are all extremely proud of this latest version of the New Construction scheme and we’re excited for you to see the new developments!

This version of the scheme has taken the first significant steps towards the implementation of our broader strategic vision in categories like materials and energy. The Materials category now has a dedicated issue assessing whole building life cycle assessment, to help the industry better understand the true impact of the materials being specified. This change is something which was extremely well received in the consultation feedback with almost unanimous agreement that this was the direction the industry needed to move in.

As part of the update of the Energy section, we wanted new criteria that could help to address the infamous ‘performance gap’. Undertaking detailed energy modelling of the building is so important to help inform the design of the building and understand its unregulated energy uses, and so the new Energy criteria encourages and rewards this process. This modelling can then be reviewed as part of the new Post-Occupancy stage, which will allow the comparison of the actual performance of the building with the model, therefore helping to identify discrepancies, and point to appropriate remedial actions.  Again, this was a change that received a huge amount of positive feedback during the consultation.

This update has also culminated in the completion of the Strategic Ecology Framework. This scheme is the first in BREEAM to implement the new Ecology criteria, which encourages a holistic approach for embedding best practice ecology approaches across the entire lifecycle of the building, from the early planning stage through to completion and operation.

The Transport category is another area where you will notice some significant changes. The criteria has been restructured from five issues, down to two, and the emphasis has changed to focus more on  rewarding improvements rather than simply rewarding sites which have inherently good access, often as a result of being in a city centre.

There have, of course, been other changes in addition to those mentioned above, but hopefully this little teaser has got you wanting to find out more! From the 7 March 2017 you can find our ‘summary of changes’ document here and download the manual here.

The BREEAM UK New Construction team will be on the BRE stand at Ecobuild (6 – 8 March 2018), so please come along and see us if you are going to be there!  I will also be at Ecobuild on the afternoon of 7 March 2018 presenting an overview of the key changes for the 2018 scheme – you can register for this session here.

If you’d like to hear more about the technical changes, then tune in to our FREE UK New Construction 2018 webinar taking place on 10th April 2018 – click here to register.

We will also be running a series of evening events over the coming months to celebrate the launch of the scheme and talk more about the value of BREEAM to clients. More information on this will be available on our website soon.

Charlotte Hardy
About the Author
Charlotte has worked at BRE for over 10 years, in several areas of the business, developing a broad knowledge of the construction industry and sustainability issues. Charlotte’s current role is the scheme manager for BREEAM UK New Construction. She leads the team responsible for continued development and operation of the scheme.

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