I have just read your article on BREEAM (21 September, page 14) and feel compelled to write to you.

I am currently going through the BREEAM process for a new-build office building, as the client’s project manager. I was shocked to find out how the process works. I was under the impression that certification as “excellent” under BREEAM meant the actual building had a BREEAM rating of excellent. This may not be true.

The process consists of two stages: the design stage and the completed stage. Most clients use the design stage assessment to get a rating as it is simpler and less expensive. This is an assessment of the drawings, specifications and intentions. The construction stage, on the other hand, is an “as completed” assessment.

This means an “excellent” design may not be what is actually built. How often does the tender price come back higher than the budget? And what is the first thing to be cut from a budget? All the sustainable benefits that make up the rating.

Perhaps BRE should be reviewing its BREEAM assessment process rather than introducing another level.

Joanna Davis, estates modernisation programme manager, Vehicle and Operator Services Agency