Helping boost ecology in BREEAM

Friday, June 17th, 2016

The Ecology Consultancy has been a part of the recent development of the Strategic Ecology Framework (SEF) for BREEAM. The Framework has been set up by BRE in response to widespread stakeholder feedback identifying a need to carry out a strategic review of BREEAM’s approach to ecological assessment given that it’s criteria have remained broadly consistent since 1998.

What is The Strategic Ecology Framework?

The SEF provides a framework of common objectives and actions to guide and align the development of BREEAM ecological assessment criteria to ensure it keeps up to date with best practice in a practical and achievable way and it continues to encourage high ecological standards within construction and development.

7 Air Street exterior - green roof, breeam ecology survey

The Crown Estate, 7 Air Street – The Ecology Consultancy provided BREEAM ecology services

The Ecology Consultancy’s involvement in BREEAM

Our involvement in BREEAM started eight years ago in 2007 as part of the Biodiversity Task Group led by The UK Green Building Council. Since then, we have continued to work with BRE and other stakeholders, searching for ways to update and improve Building Environmental Assessment Tools (BEATs) such as BREEAM. In the last two years we have been part of BRE’s Technical Working Group for their Strategic Ecological Framework relating to the practical experiences of The Ecology Consultancy and the industry of ecological consultancy carrying out BEATs. One of our aims in this process has been to link the SEF with CIEEM’s new guidelines on Ecological Impact Assessment and to ensure that terminology and definitions are updated.

Ben Kimpton, Principal Ecologist in our Sussex office, was one of the members of The SEF Technical Working Group and said of the publishing of the SEF:

“The SEF provides a significant shift in how future BREEAM methodologies will be updated. It has been designed in consultation with a broad range of stakeholders in both the landscape and ecology sectors. As such, it promotes more collaborative work within design teams and takes account of current approaches on how to deliver high quality environmental and sustainable features in a robust yet pragmatic way. The construction industry and our clients are set to benefit from these changes.”

The framework aims to help project teams to:

  • Understand the existing ecology of a site to identify the best approach.
  • Identify, protect and enhance key ecological features.
  • Remove or limit existing features that are negatively affecting the site’s ecology
  • Mitigate unavoidable impacts and compensate against residual impacts.
  • Enhance the ecological value of the site and surrounding areas by encouraging other ecological features.

More about the launch of the SEF here

Achieving BREEAM outstanding rating – The Crown Estate, 7 Air Street

7 Air Street BREEAM & Green Roof

We helped The Crown Estate receive a BREEAM outstanding rating for their 7 Air Street mixed use retail and office development in Central London. It’s now considered the UK’s most sustainable historic building! More about the project here

How BREEAM ecology can benefit your development

To help maximise the chances of earning credits in the ecology categories for BREEAM you should consult an ecologist early on to advise on areas of ecological value and how to enhance them. Ecologists can assess a site to maintain, protect or enhance their ecological value and advise design teams on how they can achieve maximum credits.

Read more about our BREEAM ecology services here.

Learning about BREEAM

If you want to know more about BREEAM for ecology then The Ecology Consultancy are running a training course entitled How To Effectively Deliver BREEAM Ecology which is aimed at professional ecologists but is also of value to others in the environment/sustainability sector such as BREEAM Assessors, architects/landscape architects carrying out BREEAM, public sector ecologists, planners and graduates – find out more about the course here.


SSIP Link-up Constructionline Builders Profile