BESS Assessments


About Obtaining a BESS Report For Your Project


 A Sample BESS Report

See what a BESS Report actually looks like
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A BESS report is a Victorian sustainability assessment needed for your planning permit application which is typically required for multi dwelling residential projects.
BESS has been seen by many as a bottom up approach to managing ESD principles in design and development as the push for sustainability has come from the local councils in contrast to the State government, like in NSW which has legislation enforcing the BASIX scheme statewide. 
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BESS Explained


What is BESS?

The Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS) is an assessment tool used in the planning permit stage, designed to evaluate the following areas of a new building or alteration against set benchmarks:

  • Energy/Water Efficiency
  • Thermal Comfort
  • Overall Environmental Sustainability Performance


This tool aims to assist builders, developers and community members in showing how a proposed development design meets sustainable design benchmarks and requirements. Using the scorecard produced by the BESS assessment tool, improvements can be recommended to increase your home or development's sustainability performance. 


Typically, BESS can be used to assess:

  • Single houses
  • Townhouse developments
  • Apartment buildings
  • Large non-residential or mixed use developments


Image of BESS Building


BESS is used as an input for Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) reports or Sustainability Management Plans (SMP) for development projects in Victoria quickly becoming the Victorian equivalent of BASIX in New South Wales. More local councils are beginning to require ESD assessments at the planning permit stage of the development cycle.
BESS was created by the Victorian Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE) to replace two existing tools that supported the Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP):
  • STEPS (Sustainable Tools for Environmental Performance Strategy) for use with residential building assessments
  • SDS (Sustainable Design Scorecard) for use with non-residential buildings

There are 9 categories that are assessed within the BESS tool, which are:

  • Management
  • Water
  • Energy
  • Stormwater
  • Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ)
  • Transport
  • Waste
  • Urban Ecology
  • Innovation

Minimum scores in mandatory categories (Energy, Water, Stormwater, IEQ) along with an overall score of 50% is required to pass.



Video of Bess Report



When do I need a BESS certificate?

The BESS system is designed to supplement the ‘Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process’ within the planning permit stage of development. For many councils in Victoria, applicants for planning permits are required to submit information about how their proposed development intends to be sustainable and meets certain targets and benchmarks. This information can be supplied through an SDA (Sustainable Design Assessment) for small scale projects or an SMP (Sustainability Management Plan) used for large scale projects.
Through BESS the water and energy efficiency, thermal comfort, and overall environmental sustainability performance of a proposed new building or alteration are assessed. This tool was implemented to assist builders and developers, to ensure that they demonstrate that their development meets sustainability requirements as part of a planning permit application. These requirements involve meeting certain energy consumption targets to reduce the overall energy consumption of the state and the country.


How is BESS assessed?

BESS is accessed through the use of a comprehensive online assessment tool and through the use of thermal modelling to rate the energy efficiency and overall consumption of a proposed dwelling. Through the use of a comprehensive list of performance criteria those being management, energy, water, stormwater, IEQ, transport, waste, urban ecology and innovation, proposed dwellings must meet certain deemed to satisfy provisions to be approved during the DA stage.

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A Sample BESS Report

See what a BESS Report actually looks like

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What do you need to know?


We have experience with all councils and know their preferred outcomes and offer practical solutions and design advice to assist in achieving a higher score. 


Image of Bess Approved Building


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What do you need?


This is the information that you need to get started with a BESS Report:


  • Architectural Drawings, sections, elevations and materials palette
  • Know the major construction materials
  • Thermal performance modelling
  • Building context 
  • Expected minimum energy efficiency rating of major appliances for heating, cooling and hot water 
  • Expected minimum water efficiency rating of taps, toilets and fittings 
  • On-site renewable energy device
  • Rainwater tank details (if applicable)
  • A STORM rating 


Image of Bess Approved Building Interior


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How long does it take?


What is the process of obtaining a BESS Certificate?


1. Send your plans for quoting

2. Approve the Quote

3. Receive a Draft Report

4. Approve the Draft 

5. Payment

6. Receive final Certification


Our turnaround for these reports is usually between 2-5 business days. Let us know if you have a deadline, and we will try and work with you to meet it.


Image of Plant for BESS




How much does it cost?

The cost of the overall assessment of a dwelling is dependant on its size and complexity and therefore requires a specific quote to be made. Prices for BESS reports range from $400 to $1000 depending on the size and complexity of the project.
To find out the exact price of a BESS Report for your project, send us your plans and we will review  them to work out an accurate fee and time frame.
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Getting a BESS statement can be a drawn out and frustrating experience with councils. To get a BESS statement requires a variety of factors such as management, water, energy, stormwater, Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ), transport, waste, urban ecology and innovation. With IEQ being weighted at 16.5% towards BESS certification, here are four ways where you can improve the Indoor Environment Quality of your next commercial or residential project, while being one step closer toward BESS certification:


1. Noise Pollution

Noise pollution can cause psychological and physical harm. People who are exposed to high levels of noise pollution tend to feel an increased level of stress, and even permanent loss of hearing when exposed repeatedly over a long period of time. Including materials in your building plans such as drywall or fibreboard, will improve hearing, decrease stress and even see higher levels of productivity for commercial buildings.


2. Air Ventilation
Air ventilation is the next step in improving the Indoor Environment Quality toward, poor ventilation can lead to physical issues and increase the risk of anxiety. By developing greener solutions such as including low-VOC paints, having dehumidifiers in your building plans or sealing heating appliances all benefit towards improving IEQ and ultimately helping getting that BESS statement. Additionally, improving air ventilation will not only improve health and well being, but achieve cost savings on electricity too. 


Image of Bess Approved building


3. Thermal Quality

It's important to understand that humans maintain a body temperature of 37 degrees. When the environment people are working in isn't regulated and is found to be too hot or cold, it is proven individual's perform tasks less efficiently as the body subconsciously exerts energy to regulate its temperature. However, this can be avoided through glazing windows to control thermal comfort or managing the opening of windows, so make sure your building maintains a cool climate and mitigates humidity (particularly during the warmer months!).


4. Lighting
A well-lit commercial or residential building goes a long way toward improving IEW. Builders and developers can improve the quality of lighting in a building by considering glazed windows and maximising the amount of natural light through manipulating window sizes and shapes. Studies have shown that by reducing artificial lighting, there is an increase in well-being and productivity.
By following these four suggestions, your next project, whether commercial or residential will be more eco-friendly and get you one step closer to that pesky BESS statement for developer approval.


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