In today’s world, sustainable building design has become a critical aspect of construction projects. With an increasing focus on environmental responsibility and energy efficiency, professionals in the construction industry are seeking ways to minimize the environmental impact of buildings. One widely recognized assessment method for sustainable building design is BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology). In this blog post, we will delve into the concept of BREEAM pre-assessment, exploring its purpose, benefits, key considerations, and steps involved in the process.

What is BREEAM?

BREEAM is a widely used and respected environmental assessment method for buildings. It was developed by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in the United Kingdom and has since expanded its reach to several countries worldwide. BREEAM assesses the sustainability performance of a building across a range of categories, including energy, water, materials, pollution, land use, and ecology.

Understanding BREEAM Pre-Assessment:

BREEAM pre-assessment is an optional step that occurs during the early stages of a building project. It involves an initial evaluation of the proposed design against the BREEAM criteria before formal certification is pursued. The purpose of pre-assessment is to provide early feedback and guidance to project teams, enabling them to optimize the design and enhance the building’s sustainability performance.

Key Benefits of BREEAM Pre-Assessment:

Early Identification of Sustainability Opportunities: By conducting a BREEAM pre-assessment, project teams can identify potential sustainability opportunities and make informed decisions at the early stages of the design process. This allows for adjustments in the design to maximize environmental performance and minimize future costs. For example, the pre-assessment may highlight the benefits of incorporating renewable energy systems or improving the building envelope’s thermal performance.

Cost Savings: BREEAM pre-assessment helps identify cost-effective sustainability measures that can be integrated into the design. By addressing sustainability issues early on, the project team can avoid costly retrofits and modifications later in the construction process. For instance, optimizing energy efficiency measures during the pre-assessment stage can lead to significant long-term energy savings and operational cost reductions.

Enhanced Design Integration: Pre-assessment promotes interdisciplinary collaboration among architects, engineers, and other stakeholders. By considering sustainability from the outset, the team can integrate sustainable design principles seamlessly, resulting in a more harmonious and efficient building. The pre-assessment process encourages the exploration of innovative design strategies and the integration of sustainable technologies, such as rainwater harvesting systems or green roofs.

Competitive Edge: Achieving BREEAM certification demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and can provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Pre-assessment enables projects to position themselves for higher BREEAM ratings and showcase their sustainable attributes to potential tenants or buyers. The certification can enhance the building’s marketability, attract environmentally conscious occupants, and contribute to its long-term value.

Process and Considerations:

The BREEAM pre-assessment process typically involves the following steps:


Project Registration: The project team registers the building with BREEAM and provides relevant project information, including the building type, location, and size.

Pre-Assessment Report: The project team prepares a pre-assessment report that includes details of the proposed design, alongside an assessment of its compliance with BREEAM criteria. This report is reviewed by a BREEAM assessor. The report should address various aspects, such as energy performance, water efficiency, materials selection, site ecology, and waste management strategies.

Feedback and Recommendations: The BREEAM assessor provides feedback on the design and highlights areas for improvement to achieve a higher BREEAM rating. This feedback can range from energy efficiency measures to water conservation strategies and materials selection. The assessor may suggest specific design modifications or alternative approaches to enhance sustainability performance.

Design Optimization: Based on the assessor’s recommendations, the project team incorporates sustainable design improvements into the project. This may involve refining energy-efficient systems, optimizing daylighting strategies, implementing sustainable materials, or enhancing biodiversity on the site. The iterative process of design optimization ensures that the building’s sustainability performance is maximized.

Formal Certification: Once the design is finalized, the project team can proceed with the formal BREEAM certification process, which involves a comprehensive assessment by an accredited BREEAM assessor. The assessor evaluates the building’s performance against the BREEAM criteria, verifies the implemented sustainable measures, and assigns a BREEAM rating.

How Focus 360 will help you in the BREEAM pre-assessment

Focus 360, a comprehensive sustainability solution, can greatly assist in BREEAM pre-assessment by offering advanced energy modeling capabilities to optimize energy performance, tools for water consumption analysis to enhance water efficiency, and resources for evaluating sustainable materials and waste management strategies. By leveraging the features of Focus 360, project teams can streamline their BREEAM pre-assessment process, identify areas for improvement, and achieve higher levels of sustainability in building design.



BREEAM pre-assessment is a valuable tool for integrating sustainability into building design. By conducting an early evaluation against BREEAM criteria, project teams can identify opportunities for sustainable improvements, enhance design integration, achieve cost savings, and gain a competitive edge. BREEAM pre-assessment sets the stage for a successful sustainable building project, enabling developers and designers to create environmentally responsible structures that have a positive impact on both the occupants and the planet. By prioritizing sustainable design principles from the outset, we can move towards a more sustainable and resilient environment. The BREEAM pre-assessment process empowers project teams to make informed decisions, optimize sustainability performance, and create buildings that align with the principles of environmental stewardship and energy efficiency.