Ecological measures for BREEAM and CEEQUAL

Ecology is a key category across the sustainable development accreditations of BREEAM, CEEQUAL and the Home Quality Mark.

BREEAM (the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation; CEEQUAL (the Civil Engineering Environmental Quality Assessment & Award Scheme) is an international sustainability assessment, rating and awards scheme. There is also the Home Quality Mark (HMQ) for residential properties, which gives an independent perspective on a home’s quality and sustainability.

Although BREEAM and CEEQUAL assessments are not compulsory, they are often included as a requirement when planning consent is given, and achieving a CEEQUAL award proves to your stakeholders that you have taken the environmental responsibility of development seriously.

What needs to be done for BREEAM or CEEQUAL?

Good handling of ecological issues can contribute almost 9% of the total needed for a CEEQUAL award and contribute up to 13% of the credits achievable under BREEAM.It is essential ecological measures are taken into consideration at the very earliest stages of planning to maximise the benefits

BREEAM, HMQ and CEEQUAL all require a report which complies with their own specifications, and which is submitted to the managing assessor. The report will include ecological information for a site and its surroundings, using information which is usually gathered at the start of the planning application process, plus verification of the current ecological status of the site if it has been some years since it has been developed.

What ecological measures are taken?

The BREEAM/CEEQUAL/HMQ assessment looks at how a site performs against established benchmarks to evaluate a building’s specification, design, construction and use. There is an ‘ecology’ category in both assessments, with credits available for:

  • identifying ecologically valuable features and opportunities
  • providing approved ecological protection and enhancement measures
  • mitigating for unavoidable effects.

All  of these credits can only be awarded once a site survey and report has been carried out by a Suitably Qualified Ecologist (SQE).

How do you work out the ecological value of a site?

This type of calculation can incorporate many different aspects of a site’s ecology, and so needs to be done with the professional advice of a BREEAM/CEEQUAL trained ecologist. The specialists at Engain can provide an ecological evaluation, native planting advice, timescales, costs and management protocols, all with the aim of maximising the number of credits achievable.

Although there may not be many obvious ecological points to be gained in urban developments, we can advise on measures like living walls, green rooves and even subterranean habitats  to provide a measurable and attainable way of delivering credits.

If your site is likely to need BREEAM, HMQ or CEEQUAL assessments, or if you want to undertake an assessment to prove you are a responsible developer, the ecological experts at Engain can advise where you can gain those extra credits and what steps you can take to improve your score.

To arrange a chat with one of our trained ecologists about BREEAM, HMQ, CEEQUAL and your site, call 01225 459564 or email

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To discuss your project requirements, please contact our experienced team