Introducing CEEQUAL Version 6

CEEQUAL is the evidence-based sustainability assessment, rating and awards scheme for civil engineering, infrastructure, landscaping, and public realm projects.

The latest version of the scheme, CEEQUAL Version 6, was publicly released on 27 June 2019 at launch events in London and Hong Kong.

This is the first update since CEEQUAL became part of the BREEAM family of schemes in November 2015. It is an important milestone in the development of the most widely used sustainability assessment method for civil engineering projects in the world.

About the update

CEEQUAL Version 6 maintains the existing, successful elements of the long-standing CEEQUAL methodology, which has a 15-year track record of helping teams improve the sustainability performance of their infrastructure projects. With over 350 completed assessments and in excess of 750 project registrations CEEQUAL has supported many of the largest and most well-known infrastructure projects in the UK, including the new Queensferry Crossing, Crossrail, and the London 2012 Olympic Park. The scheme is increasingly used internationally, with new and active projects underway in Scandinavia, the Middle East, and Hong Kong.

CEEQUAL Version 6 incorporates elements trialled as part of the BREEAM Infrastructure Pilot scheme plus other aspects from across the BREEAM family of schemes. The BREEAM Infrastructure Pilot scheme is currently being used on major projects in the UK, including HS2 Phase One and the Transpennine Route Upgrade, and learning from pilot projects will continue to inform future updates to the CEEQUAL methodology.

The update is the first step towards greater alignment with other BREEAM schemes that also have a long history of being successfully used to improve the built environment both in the UK and internationally. CEEQUAL Version 6 provides a platform on which to make future improvements to the scheme and continue to increase its positive influence.

Timeline showing development milestones for CEEQUAL between 1999 and 2019
CEEQUAL development timeline (1999 to present)

What’s new?

The changes can be considered in two categories.

Many changes are operational and are designed to bring CEEQUAL into a form that is more consistent with other BREEAM schemes. These changes include updates to the structure of the technical manual, minor amendments to terminology, and the introduction of a new online assessment tool using the BREEAM Projects platform. These changes will aid projects using BREEAM and CEEQUAL and will enable more efficiencies and greater compatibility between schemes in the future.

‘Outstanding’ rating and minimum standards

CEEQUAL Version 6 introduces a new ‘Outstanding’ rating for projects that achieve a score of 90% or more (and a series of ‘minimum standards’).

Rating levels in CEEQUAL Version 6 compared to CEEQUAL Version 5
Rating levels in CEEQUAL Version 6

‘Excellent’ was previously the highest rating available in CEEQUAL. The addition of the ‘Outstanding’ rating in Version 6 is designed to provide a greater distinction for the highest performing projects and aligns with the ratings available in BREEAM.

Currently, minimum standards have only been introduced in Version 6 for the ‘Outstanding’ rating level. However, to continue to drive sustainability best practice in infrastructure, it is expected that minimum standards will be extended to cover other rating levels in the future. The minimum standards have been pitched at a stretching but achievable level given current performance levels in industry. It is anticipated these will also rise in coming years to ensure ‘Outstanding’ rated projects are truly outstanding.


Prerequisites are criteria that don’t carry a score but must be met for other credits within an assessment issue to be achieved. Six prerequisites have been included in CEEQUAL Version 6. All the prerequisites relate to criteria that previously scored in CEEQUAL Version 5. Two occur in ‘4.3 Protection of biodiversity’, three occur in ‘7.6 Construction waste management’, and one occurs in ‘7.5 Responsible sourcing of construction products’ (where the requirements for legal and sustainable timber have been aligned with the BREEAM building schemes).

Innovation credits

An existing feature of BREEAM building schemes, and part of the BREEAM Infrastructure Pilot scheme, CEEQUAL Version 6 also now incorporates optional innovation credits. These come in two forms:

  • Exemplary level performance criteria – optional criteria within the technical manual for exemplary performance (currently only available within ‘7.2 Reducing whole life carbon project emissions’).
  • Approved innovation credit applications – reward for innovations not covered elsewhere within the manual. Approved innovation credit applications go through a formal peer-review process and must demonstrate their sustainability benefit and unique innovation.
New categories in CEEQUAL Version 6
New categories in CEEQUAL Version 6

Technical updates

In addition to new features, the update also introduces some critical technical changes where important developments have occurred in the last few years.

Several of the changes are based on requirements that have been trialled and developed through BREEAM Infrastructure Pilot, including:

  • Resilience – new requirements relating natural hazards, security, climate change adaptation, and future needs.
  • Land use and ecology – a metric-based approach to quantifying change in ecological value.
  • Resources – updated requirements for life cycle assessments.

Some new criteria have also been introduced, including:

  • Carbon management in line with PAS 2080 in ‘7.2 Reducing whole life carbon emissions’.
  • Business models for a circular economy in ‘7.4 Circular use of construction products’.
  • Ethical labour practices in ‘1.4 Staff and supply chain social governance’.

Look out for more detail on the main technical updates in Version 6 in upcoming articles.

What’s next?

We will be actively gathering feedback on the changes introduced in Version 6.  This feedback will inform future updates and how soon further upgrades are introduced. Developments already planned for the coming months include:

  • Release of an international edition
  • Upgrade of Term Contracts scheme
  • Updates to metric guidance and online data collection
  • Ongoing updates to improve usability and guidance

To keep up to date with all our latest news and developments, please register your interest in CEEQUAL using the BRE Group Preference Centre (select ‘Sustainability’).

Existing CEEQUAL Assessors can now complete the online top-up training course for CEEQUAL Version 6, which is available through the BRE Academy for £50 (discounted from £75 until 30 September 2019). New assessor training courses are available from September onwards.

Find out more

To find out more about CEEQUAL Version 6, including how to register to use it on your project, please visit the CEEQUAL Version 6 webpage.