Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Below is a list of the questions we are asked most frequently, the list is not an exhaustive one, if you cannot find the answer you need simply give us a call on 0800 699 0904 or email email@example.com we would love to help.
Domestic & Commercial Assessments
Why do I need a SAP Assessment?
A SAP Assessment is a requirement for Building Regulations, the assessment is designed to show the projected CO2 output of a new home and confirm that when it's built it is within the allowed emissions rating for the dwelling. A SAP Assessment must be carried out by a licensed SAP Assessor for Building Control to accept it without having to check it any further than the first page.
What is involved in a SAP Calculation
In order to produce the SAP Calculation, there are certain bits of information we will require, a full set of building regulations plans is required to measure all the elements of a dwelling, this will form the Design Stage SAP Assessment, these calculations will not only show that when built the dwelling will comply with Part L of Building Regulations but will also give a developer lots of useful information on the thermal elements and how best to construct them to pass Part L1A, the final stage is the As Built SAP Calculation, for this we will require a letter from the developer confirming that no changes were made from the design stage or if there were, what changes were made, also there is a requirement for an Air Tightness Test also known as an Air Permeability Test, the results of this provide the information required to produce the As Built SAP calculations and also provide the EPC, the EPC or Energy Performance Certificate will be required by Building Control in order to sign the dwelling off.
What type of SAP Calculations do I need?
There are several types of construction projects that will require a SAP Calculations, Part L1A covers new build dwellings only and Part L1B covers conversion of use to form a dwelling house as well as overglazed extensions, an overglazed extension is one where the new glazing is more than 25% of the total floor area, so if you are planning an extension of say 10 square metres total floor area, a calculation would be required if you would like to install any more than 2.5 square metres of glazing, and generally people wants lots of natural light in an extension and want to fit large windows such as bi-fold doors or patio windows. for more information on extensions please see our Overglazed extension FAQ.
What do I need to do to pass the SAP Calculations?
Well now, that's the million dollar question, every architect, developer and builder has a different of idea of how they wish to build a house, and what materials they are happy working with, but as Building Regulations change there are certain traditional construction methods that no longer fit the bill, that's where your SAP Assessor can help, giving a SAP Assessor an idea of your preferred construction methods helps them work within the requirements of the Regulations and the requirements of the client. A good assessor should help the client make decisions based on the most effective methods to gain compliance, well, that's how we do it anyway, many of our clients have been with us for nearly a decade, and they say it's because we are approachable and easy to work with. As with each new version of Part L the requirements get more stringent with each new version, there was a time that if you built to building regulations standard you would pass SAP easily, then, in the 2010 version simply adding a few solar panels was enough to get a standard build through, but in L1B 2013 they introduced the TFEE and DFEE (Target Fabric Energy Efficiency and Dwelling Fabric Energy Efficiency) this means that the U-Values of the construction elements have to be of a higher standard than building regulations requirements to pass, in fact, quite a lot higher. A project is now measured against a much tighter "Notional Dwelling" than before and the calculations need to pass DFEE/TFEE in order to comply. For more information please read our article here
When do I need an EPC?
The EPC or Energy Performance Certificate is issued once a dwelling is complete and is a requirement for building control to sign off a project, we mentioned earlier what is needed to produce an EPC, as well as new build homes and EPC is also required for a conversion of use to form a dwelling, extensions do not require an EPC nor do they invoke a requirement to upgrade an EPC that may already exists for a dwelling.
What is a Sustainability / Energy Assessment?
A Sustainability or Energy Statement is usually required to accompany a planning application, local authorities require certain, more stringent reductions in CO2 over and above the requirements of Building Regulations. In order to show how this can be achieved for a project an Energy Statement / Sustainability Statement is produced, the statement looks at not just the construction methods that will be used but also looks at the various available low or zero carbon technologies that are available and whether they can be used efficiently on the project to reduce the carbon footprint, we have worked on some projects in the London area where the local authority require as much as a 40% reduction in CO2 to gain planning permission. The statement is quite an in-depth document that uses information from the Design Stage SAP Calculations combined with renewable technologies to show how the reduction could and would be achieved. Also whether or not certain types of technologies would or would not work, for example, there is very little benefit to using any type of solar technology in a building with no southerly facing roof, as the technologies only work efficiently on a south facing aspect, we're sure you get the idea. Please contact us if you have a project where a statement is a requirement and we will be happy to discuss and advise on the best way forward.
What is an SBEM? And do I need one?
An SBEM is the commercial version of a SAP Calculation, it is design to calculate the CO2 emissions from a non-dwelling or commercial building.
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