Building with Nature

A new benchmark for the design and maintenance of green infrastructure in housing and commercial development.


Building with Nature has been designed to support the creation of high quality green infrastructure throughout the planning and development process. Green infrastructure includes parks, play areas, nature reserves and street trees, as well as rivers, ponds and other water features.


Building with Nature secures space for wildlife and recreation. It also helps you to deliver green infrastructure which is better for water management, public safety, and the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. Green infrastructure is as important as buildings, roads and power supplies in providing the essential ingredients that go into making places work effectively.


Building with Nature defines what good green infrastructure is. We have drawn on the good work that already exists and brought it together under one umbrella.


How does it work?

Building with Nature provides an assessment and accreditation service. There are different levels of support available to suit your needs.

A set of core standards are our starting point. These define the basic approach to green infrastructure. They include alignment with the local policy context and a commitment to long-term maintenance.

Next, there are three key themes: wellbeing, water and wildlife.

Wellbeing Standards

Require delivery of health and wellbeing benefits through the green and blue features on the site, making sure they can be easily accessed by people close to where they live and work.

Water Standards

Secure a commitment to improving water quality, on site and in the wider area, reducing the risk of flooding, and managing water naturally for maximum benefit.

Wildlife Standards

Aim to protect and enhance wildlife, creating networks where nature can thrive, and supporting the creation of places which more effectively deliver a net gain for wildlife.

As an applicant for Building with Nature accreditation, there are three possible outcomes: Candidate status, Achieved and Excellent.

It’s possible to apply for an award at any stage in the development process. For phased developments, the award can be granted for each phase as it’s completed. It is also possible to apply for accreditation of a scheme which has already been built out, or for a policy document which has already been adopted.

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Candidate Status

Candidate status recognises that a development or document has met the Building with Nature standards, subject to sign off post-completion/publication.

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Building with Nature Achieved recognises that your development or document has met all of the core standards and nine standards across the three themes.

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Building with Nature Excellent recognises that your development or document has met all Achieved standards, plus six additional standards across the three themes.


The Standards

Building with Nature standards are publicly available to be used by developers and planners to inform development from the outset. Community groups can also use the standards to better understand what is meant by high quality green infrastructure.

There are 23 Building with Nature standards in total. This includes five core standards, six wellbeing standards, six water standards and six wildlife standards.

The User Guide explains the standards in full and provides support on how to meet them. This summary provides an overview of the principles underpinning each standard:


Core standards

Distinguish green infrastructure from a more conventional approach to provision for open and green space .

  1. Multi-functional network

  2. Contextual

  3. Policy-responsive

  4. Climate-resilient

  5. Future-proof


Wellbeing standards

Secure health and wellbeing benefits through the delivery of green infrastructure features close to where people live.

  1. Accessible

  2. Inclusive

  3. Seasonal enjoyment

  4. Locally relevant

  5. Socially sustainable

  6. Distinctive


Water standards

Managing water quantity and quality, and maximing opportunities for amenity and biodiversity. 

  1. Quantity

  2. Quality

  3. Amenity and biodiversity

  4. Innovative

  5. Resilient

  6. Locally distinctive


Wildlife standards

Create places where nature can flourish, both within the boundary of the scheme, and at a landscape scale.

  1. Bigger and better

  2. More joined up

  3. Locally-relevant

  4. Nature-rich development

  5. Ecological networks

  6. Sensitive construction

User Guide

The user guide explains in more detail how the  benchmark works. It explains the aim of the standards and describes how to meet them.

It can be used to assist with the preparation of your application for Building with Nature accreditation.

It can equally be used as a self-assessment tool by those responsible for the design, implementation and maintenance of high quality green infrastructure.

User Guide PDF

User Guide PDF

User Guide for Policy Makers PDF

User Guide for Policy Makers PDF


Case Studies

Case Studies PDF

Case Studies PDF

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Find out more

If you are interested in Building with Nature accreditation for your development or  policy, or have any questions about the benchmark award, please get in touch with the Building with Nature Manager:


Alternatively, please complete the form below:

Name *