Harry Hazell, Sustainability Consultant at Darren Evans Assessments, explains the need for best practice in evidence gathering for post-construction BREEAM Assessments.
As BREEAM assessors we are required to gather a wide variety of evidence from project teams in post-construction assessments but due to the quality of evidence required this can be a time-consuming process. Information needs to be exact, robust and show compliance with relevant criteria as it will be used for the final verification of a building in order to gain certification.
With greater robustness needed than in design stage assessments which can focus more on commitments to deliver certain performance, it is crucial that teams have a plan in place to deliver that evidence promptly and efficiently to ensure that their building gets its certificate on time. So what are the best practice methods for collating evidence in post-construction BREEAM assessments?
The first priority for assessors is to meet and engage with contractors, project managers and clients as early as possible and throughout the assessment process in order to build and maintain a positive relationship. Keep in regular contact so as to have a handle on the project at all times. Evidence gathering itself needs to start as early as possible, as soon as the design stage assessment is complete if one is taking place, to ensure adequate planning time to achieve an effective process.
Secondly, client and contractor need to be clearly informed of the requirements for evidence in an easily understood way for all involved. Use of a central tracker document is a practical tool for keeping tabs on what evidence has been received, and who supplied it, and the current overall score of the assessment. It will also show the evidence still outstanding, who is responsible for it and when it is due.
Clear roles and responsibilities need to be assigned for each specific element of evidence, for example the M&E contractor providing as-built drawings and product specifications. Commitment has to be given from individuals on deadlines for delivering evidence including individual accountability for sending it. An up to date schedule of works should be obtained so the assessor can determine the stage of the building and therefore when certain evidence will be available.
A site inspection by a registered assessor will normally also be required for a post-construction BREEAM assessment to validate the evidence, which is further reason to streamline the rest of the process. BRE Global administers BREEAM endeavours to ensure that all information required will already be in existence in any normal design and procurement process, but collaborative working across the team and using these best practice pointers will make providing it as efficient as possible. This way the building gets its project credits and certificate sooner, and delays to final handover are less likely.