We are proven experts in the field of BREEAM and legacy Code for Sustainable Homes assessments.
We frequently work with a number of local and affordable housing associations, as well as single-home developers requiring assessment for smaller schemes. We are able to act as a Suitably Qualified Ecologist (a requirement of assessment) to help maximise the credits that can be obtained. We have extensive experience of undertaking BREEAM projects and have been successful in helping to achieve Code level 5 ratings for a number of developments. We provide simple but innovative solutions for maximising the ecological value of developments, whilst taking care to ensure that the original philosophy of the scheme is not compromised.
With funding frequently dependent on the ability to attain a high rating, money spent on a skilled Suitably Qualified Ecologist (SQE) is often one of the best investments a developer can make, not least because many credits can be awarded on the recommendation of a good SQE.
BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method)
BREEAM is the world’s most widely used assessment of the environmental quality of new buildings. The environmental performance is measured by attaining credits within ten categories, of which one is Land Use and Ecology (LE). Credits available include:
LE2 – Ecological Value of Land & Protection of Ecological Features (1 credit available)
LE3 – Mitigating Ecological Impact (2 credits available)
LE4 – Enhancing Site Ecology (3 credits available)
LE5 – Long Term Impacts on Biodiversity (2 credits available)
The Land Use and Ecology category accounts for 10% of the total credits available within a BREEAM Assessment. Consequently, the performance of a project in this category often dictates the final rating achieved. We can advise on measures which could be incorporated to increase the site’s ecological value, particularly involving additional species in the planting scheme to increase the number of native or ecologically valuable species, and therefore the number of credits.
We can also make a series of additional recommendations for improving the ecological value of the site, so that the recommendations most appropriate to the scheme can be selected to maximise ecological value and the number of credits awarded.
CSH (Code for Sustainable Homes)
This has now been withdrawn but legacy projects still exist. In April 2007, the Code for Sustainable Homes replaced EcoHomes for the assessment of new housing in England. Put simply, CSH is an environmental assessment method for rating and certifying the performance of new homes. The scheme offers credits for the following ecological credentials of new homes:
ECO1 – Ecological Value of Site (1 credit available)
ECO2 – Ecological Enhancement (1 credit available)
ECO3 – Protection of Ecological Features (1 credit available)
ECO4 – Change of Ecological Value of Site (up to 4 credits available)
In order to allow the best opportunities for maximising credits in the ecology category, a Suitably Qualified Ecologist should be consulted at an early stage. Credits are only available if it can be shown that:
- The project will only develop on land of low ecological value if features of ecological benefit have been designed into the scheme;
- existing features of ecological value are protected during site preparation and construction works; and
- the change in the site’s ecological value has been assessed.
We provide bespoke ecological recommendations that are appropriate and cost-effective to your scheme. A percentage of these recommendations can then be adopted for you to achieve as many credits as possible.
Advanced identification workshops
We also offer advanced ID training to conservation charities, organisations and institutions. Our Principal Ecologist, John Poland, has delivered high-quality workshops to the following partners, with botanical masterclasses in particularly high demand:
- Natural England (Farm Environment Plan and grassland ID & management)
- Countryside Council for Wales (advanced plant ID)
- Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre (great crested newt survey & mitigation)
- Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (aquatic and terrestrial plant ID)
- University of Birmingham (advanced botany and plant ID)
- Sparsholt College (advanced botany and plant ID)
- Hampshire & IoW Wildlife Trust (aquatic & invasive plant ID and grassland ID & management)
- Field Studies Council (advanced botany)
- University of Southampton (protected species training)
If you feel your company or organisation would benefit from specific ecological training, please contact us to discuss your requirements.