Work with the Building Research Establishment (BRE) on ecological assessment is reaching consultation stage, while the prescribed role of landscape professionals in BREEAM is taking form

BRE Innovation Park, Watford. © Copyright Building Research Establishment Ltd

A revised section of the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) for ecology assessment is due to be available for public comment by the end of September.

First published in 1990, BREEAM is is the world’s longest established method of assessing and certifying the sustainability of buildings. BREEAM covers master planning, construction of new buildings, infrastructure, refurbishment and fit-out projects, as well as the review of existing completed building projects. The part of the assessment to which landscape expertise most pertains includes land use, ecology, health and wellbeing, materials and management.

BRE has devised a Strategic Ecology Framework, which is used to review the ecological aspects of BREEAM. This framework of common objectives and actions will guide the review and the development of new criteria that may be used in the BREEAM assessment.

Over the years, BRE has engaged with ecologists and landscape professionals to gain feedback on ecology-related criteria in BREEAM. The current review includes a number of LI members, some recruited by BRE and some who respondents to the LI’s call for expressions of interest to lead on aspects of BRE work.

The first review meeting was held in December 2016. Ecologists attending the meeting were keen for landscape professionals to become more involved with the ecological aspects of the assessment process. (Officers of the Chartered Institute of Ecological and Environmental Management (CIEEM) have also informally expressed this sentiment.) The final workshop took place on 4 August 2017.

Work is also about to commence on the input of landscape professionals and their role in BREEAM. This presents an opportunity for the landscape profession to influence an increasingly important part of the design, planning and construction process. It will also help to enhance biodiversity, providing benefits to people and the environment. The opportunities for the profession include:

  • a more integrated approach with our ecologist colleagues
  • a greater prescribed role for landscape professionals in terms of BREEAM credits for design areas involving wellbeing, communities, infrastructure and land use

The next meeting with BRE will take place before the end of the year; further updates will follow.

The LI has established a BRE working group to undertake this ongoing liaison with BRE. If you would like any further information, or wish to comment please contact marked for the attention of Mark Loxton, Chair of the LI BRE Group.


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