Environmental Performance Assessments for the MOD and Defence Estates (BREEAM and DREAM Assessments)

Environmental Performance Assessments for the MOD and Defence Estates (BREEAM and DREAM Assessments)

It is Government and Ministry of Defence policy that environmental performance assessments must be undertaken in relation to the construction of new buildings or the refurbishment of existing buildings.

The requirement for environmental performance assessments is enshrined in MOD Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) Policy Instruction (PI) 06/11. For Estates projects, a BREEAM, DREAM, CEEQUAL or equivalent assessment process must be used, appropriate to the size, nature and impact of the project. This applies to all projects managed by Defence Estates, including, but not limited to, Single Living Accommodation Modernisation (SLAM), United States Visiting Forces (USVF) property, and projects undertaken in Gibraltar, Cyprus and the Falkland Islands. The requirement does not apply to Defence Estates property in Germany.


It is MOD and Defence Estates policy that DREAM (Defence Related Environmental Assessment Method) is used wherever possible in preference to any other assessment method.

DREAM was developed by the Defence Estates Strategy & Policy Directorate to address the particular environmental performance aspects of MOD construction projects, and is accepted as being equivalent to BREEAM.

A DREAM assessment will generally be required in the following circumstances:

  1. For new buildings
  2. For refurbishment where planning permission is required
  3. For refurbishment not requiring planning permission but where there are several material effects on the fabric of the building or its services e.g. new heating system, new lighting system, new or altered thermal element, or re-roofing
  4. The development is on a site protected under environmental legislation (e.g. SSSI, SAC, SPA, RAMSAR etc)
  5. The work is designed to improve energy efficiency
  6. There are a series of linked small scale works with cumulative impacts

Assessments are generally not required for developments where works are of a simple or minor nature or the works are unlikely to have a significant environmental impact, although a DREAM ‘Minor Works’ asessment can be carried out if necessary.

The DREAM Process
When using DREAM, developments must be assessed against one of the following six sets of criteria, each of which is split into New Build and Refurbishment categories:

  • Hangars and Workshops
  • Kitchen and Dining Facilities
  • Commercial Space
  • Living Accommodation
  • Mediterranean Living Accommodation
  • Mediterranean Kitchen and Dining Facilities

The commercial space category commonly encompasses developments not covered by the other categories, e.g. offices, creches, etc

It is recommended that a Pre-Assessment is undertaken at the start of the project, before the assessment begins. The function of a Pre-Assessment is to run though the credits included in each stage to enable the project team to establish which credits they wish to target and achieve. An indicative score and rating for each stage can then be generated. The rating categories are as follows:

Rating Score

Unclassified < 25
Pass > 25
Good > 40
Very Good > 55
Excellent > 70

Unlike BREEAM, there is no ‘Outstanding’ rating category.

After the Pre-Assessment, each development is assessed at ‘Survey’, ‘Design’ and ‘Construction’ stages. Together, these three stages are collectively known as the ‘Project’ stage.

The Survey stage assesses issues concerning site selection, the current state of existing site, the capacity of local infrastructure, and the collation of relevant environmental information for handover to the design team. The Design stage reviews the minimisation of the environmental impacts of the building throughout its life (e.g. efficient use of resources and minimal generation of pollution) through efficient and innovative design. Finally, the Construction stage evaluates managing, monitoring and preventing environmental impacts associated with construction activities.

At each stage, the development is assessed against a suite of credit issues and a score is generated per stage. Individual scores achieved are added together and an average is taken, which represents a total score and rating for the overall Project stage. In order to obtain a particular rating for the whole project, the overall rating sought must also be achieved at each individual assessment stage. So, for example, if a ‘Good’ rating is achieved at Survey stage, a ‘Very Good’ rating cannot then be achieved for the whole project.

At the end of the Project stage, and at key points during the assessment, the DREAM Assessor will be able to provide ‘DEAL’ (DREAM Evaluation and Assessment Log) reports, which provide an official record of the assessment progress and/or result.

DREAM Assessments also involve an assessment at ‘Operational’ stage, i.e. once the building has entered use. The overall responsibility for this stage rests with the operator of the facility, who may commission a DREAM Assessor to assist with its completion if desired.

Credits within the Survey, Design, Construction and Operation phases of assessment are grouped into eight separate categories:

  • Biodiversity
  • External EQ
  • Energy
  • Internal EQ
  • Procurement
  • Travel
  • Water
  • Waste

Some credit issues contain credits which include mandatory items, each of which must be achieved in order for a rating to be generated for the stage, and for the project. Mandatory requirements include:

  • Undertaking a Renewable Energy Feasibility Study
  • Ensuring that the energy/water supplies to the building and major energy/water consuming uses are metered and compatible with a BMS system
  • Ensuring Heating and Ventilation are shown to be in compliance with CIBSE Guide A
  • Ensuring there is a Construction Pollution Control Plan
  • Ensuring there is a Pre-Handover Review attended by the DREAM Assessor and Operational Phase Lead Assessor

JSP (Joint Service Publication) Scales

Some credits can be achieved automatically if it can be demonstrated that there is a requirement to work to JSP scales. This can be demonstrated by the provision of contract/appointment documentation as evidence.

How much does DREAM cost?
There are no registration or submission charges associated with DREAM Assessments. As such, the only charges payable are those required by the Project stage DREAM Assessor. Upon request, we will be happy to provide a quote for any DREAM assessment project.

DREAM Peer Reviews
Stride Treglown Management are able to offer a service to review DREAM assessments undertaken by others. We will analyse reports written by, and evidence provided to, other DREAM assessors and will provide detailed feedback to help establish whether or not DREAM criteria has been adhered to.


If the DREAM assessment process cannot be followed, or if it is deemed to be more appropriate, a BREEAM Assessment may be undertaken. Where BREEAM is used, the government’s requirement is that all new projects must achieve an “Excellent” rating and all refurbishment projects must achieve at least “Very Good” rating, unless site constraints or project objectives mean that this requirement conflicts with the obligation to achieve value for money. However, the DIO requirement is to go beyond this and to seek to achieve “Excellent” ratings for refurbishments.

Upon request, further information on the BREEAM assessment process and its requirements and implications can be provided.