Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM)

System name

Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM)

System initiator & operator(s)

BREEAM was developed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) based in Watford, UK. BRE awards certification both in the UK and internationally. In some countries, BREEAM is delivered through a National Scheme Operator (see Tailoring). Those currently include:

  • DIFNI (in Germany and Austria)
  • The Dutch Green Building Council (in the Netherlands)
  • The Norwegian Green Building Council (in Norway)
  • The Fundacion Instituto Technológico de Galicia (in Spain)
  • The Swedish Green Building Council (in Sweden)

Assessment categories

There are nine different assessment categories, which each cover a number of issues. Each issue is scored and then each section is weighted. The nine assessment categories are:  Energy, Management, Health and Wellbeing, Water, Materials, Waste, Transport, Environment, Land Use and Ecology, Innovation


Tailoring is implemented at different levels. BREEAM offers country-specific schemes in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Austria. Such schemes are operated by National Scheme Operator (NSO), adapted to local climatic conditions, translated in the native language and aligned with the country’s building regulations.

For all the countries that don’t have a NSO, BRE provides an international version of all the BREEAM schemes that recognise local context and issues, such as culture and climate, and reward design teams for implementing local best practice codes and standards. BRE can also tailor certification systems for all the exceptions that cannot be covered by the existing schemes.


Depending on the total score achieved, the following ratings might be obtained:

  • No rating (<30%)
  • Pass (> or = 30%)
  • Good (> or = 45%)
  • Very good (> or = 55%)
  • Excellent (> or = 70%)
  • Outstanding (> or = 85%)

BREEAM ratings are awarded in stars. Depending on the quality level achieved, new buildings and modernization projects are awarded on a scale from 1 to 5 stars, while existing buildings are awarded 1 to 6 stars.


BREEAM certification follows a 3-stage process:

  1. The initial phase:
    • The client registers the project on BREEAM on line
    • The client chooses a BREEAM Accredited Assessor from a list of UK and international assessors.
    • The assessor and the design team undertake an initial assessment in order to identify an indicative BREAAM rating of the new project or building, refurbishment or fit out.
  2. Design stage:
    • The client, the assessor and the design team confirm the targeted rating
    • The design team provides documentation confirming commitment to achieve credits and submits this to the BREEAM Assessor
    • The assessor compiles the interim report that is submitted to the BRE for a quality assurance check.
    • BRE issue an interim certificate with BREEAM rating
  3. Post-construction stage:
    • When the project is finalised and the evidence (site inspection report, invoices) of the credits have been achieved, the design team submits this to the BREEAM Assessor
    • The assessor compiles a final report which is submitted to the BRE for a quality assurance check
    • BRE issue the final certificate with BREEAM rating

Quality assurance

Quality assurance is handled 
by BRE or the National Scheme Operator.

All BREEAM assessors must attend training. Training is specific to each of the BREEAM schemes. After successfully passing the test, BREEAM Assessors receives a license and are able to register to carry out assessments in the scheme they have trained for.

Further information

BREEAM projects database