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The drive for net zero and rising energy costs is reinforcing the significance of, and building demand for, BREEAM certification.

Potential buyers and occupiers of new and refurbished commercial space are increasingly valuing the clarity which BREEAM certification brings to future running costs and the sustainability of a property.

For contractors and suppliers involved in the commercial and industrial construction sectors, a familiarity and experience with BREEAM certification systems is critical for winning new work.

The Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, or BREEAM, is a sustainability assessment method which is widely used to specify and measure the sustainability performance of buildings on various key yardsticks. These cover energy and water use, health and wellbeing, pollution, transport, materials, waste, ecology, and management processes.

Owned by the BRE, BREEAM helps ensure building projects meet sustainability goals and perform well over time. Under the system, which has been widely used worldwide, independent assessors rate and certify buildings on a scale of 'pass', 'good', 'very good', 'excellent' and 'outstanding'.

Route to higher rents

In the central London commercial office building market, a strong BREEAM rating is increasingly seen as a key factor in achieving higher rents.

Developer Grosvenor Group recently noted that its new net zero office development in Belgravia achieved higher than expected rents partly thanks to its strong energy efficiency performance. The new building’s BREEAM ‘outstanding’ rating puts its performance in the top 1% of new non-domestic UK buildings. The new development relies on electric heating and offers a 50% energy saving compared to a typical London office.

Other major new London commercial office developments in the pipeline are also being designed to sustainability levels which will qualify as BREEAM ‘outstanding’. One example is Royal London Asset Management’s new £200 million Holborn Viaduct project where demolition work on existing buildings is underway ahead of work starting next spring on nearly 36,000 sq m of new office space. The scheme, which also includes biodiverse planters and public realm improvements, is due to run for four years (Project ID: 21434450).

Similarly, Land Securities’ £225 million Red Lion Court office redevelopment in Southwark (pictured), where detailed plans have been granted and work is due to start next spring, has also been designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘outstanding’ rating (Project ID: 18423376).

CGI of BREEAM certified Red Lion Court office building in London

Outside London, major commercial developments are also being built to the most demanding sustainable standards. In Cambridge, the new £500 million Botanic Place office development - which involves over 54,000 sq ft of new and refurbished space in the city’s business district – has been designed to a BREEAM ‘outstanding’ rating. Work on the project, which also involves a pub, is set to start this coming autumn, and is set to run for 24 months (Project ID: 19443557).

High ratings on new public buildings

High BREEAM ratings are also emerging as significant factors in new public buildings, notably in the health sector. The new £41.7 million hospital paediatric building at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, where detailed plans have been granted and work could start later this summer, has also been designed to achieve an ‘outstanding’ BREEAM rating (Project ID: 22270513).

Sustainability is also high on the agenda in the buoyant industrial/logistics sector although developers tend to aspire to an ‘excellent’ rather than an ‘outstanding’ BREEAM rating. At the Berry Hill Redevelopment in Droitwich in the West Midlands, work is due to start later this summer on a replacement industrial building (class B2/B8) with ancillary offices which has been designed to achieve an ‘excellent’ BREEAM rating. The project, involving almost 16,000 sq m for client EOS INC, is due to run for nine months (Project ID: 23010733).

Glenigan customers can see details of projects with BREEAM certification if part of your subscription.
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