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How to save money on your building cost?

How can you maximise and benefit from the cost of energy efficiency calculations on your new build project?

From 10 years at the coal face of planning and building regulations for sustainability and energy efficiency there are 4 recurring issues that we are regularly asked about. The answers will enable you to save on your building costs, deliver better buildings and make more money.

Questions:

  1. Who is responsible for carrying out the energy efficiency and assessments?
  2. At what stage of the design and build is this established and implemented?
  3. How does the contractor prove that they have followed the thermal brief on the upgrade?
  4. How to avoid the pitfalls of entering into a guessing game at the BREEAM Design Stage, (pronounced ‘bream’ like the fish, in case you were always wondering).

Answers:

  1. Ultimately, it is the client’s responsibility to address this. If an architect has been appointed then the responsibility falls to them to either undertake the work themselves or inform the client from the outset that an energy and sustainability consultant must be appointed to work with the design team to achieve the mandatory energy and sustainability compliance. As part of a the team they can assist the architect to ensure the compliance compliments the design, the client’s vision and budget. It cannot be assumed that the architect with “deal with the energy and sustainability”.
  2. The time to start is NOW. At the planning stage right report will demonstrate to the council that the client is serious about the environment which is a key Council consideration for new developments, change of use, and renovations with extensions. The correct choice for the report is important. It could be one or a combination of the following; energy assessment, sustainability statement, daylight and sunlight assessment and BREEAM pre-assessment. The local authority planners will want to know EXACTLY how the project proposes to reduce its carbon emissions, and from 2020 with the New London Plan, they will also be paying close attentions to health and well being, eg. air quality and biodiversity.
  3. Establish a steady flow of communication between the client, the design team and the contractor once they have been appointed. Once appointed, a swift provision, of a clear and concise energy efficiency, orientated, construction guide for the contractor will keep the budget of the project on track. The details of this summary are extracted from design stage SAP or SBEM calculations. It clearly and simply outlines the U-values, i.e. insulation and wall build ups for the external walls, floors, roof, windows and doors together with the heating type and specification of renewable technology. It enables the contractor to easily know what is required. It also provides accountability. Then compliance for building control sign off can be easily proved resulting in the swift delivery of that all important EPC.
  4. It is true that the BREEAM assessor will be needing the answers to very specific questions on materials for the Design Stage Assessment. It may seem a ludicrous ask when the project has not even gone out to tender yet. However, BRE set the standards for the details of mandatory issues and they cannot be avoided. Calculated and informed assumptions are sufficient at the design stage. Delays will be avoided. BRE can take atteahkldk;to 6 weeks to deliver certificates.

It is this type of information that is difficult to obtain from the project manager when they are dealing with dozens of other pressing construction matters. However, ignoring the BREEAM issue, which is all too common, often results in a staggered process of the design stage submission to BRE who will impose a fine of £950 if design stage submissions takes more than six months.

By Monique Simons, Managing Director of EAL Consult – updated 02.01.19

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