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    What Are SBEM Calculations?

    sbem calculations

    SBEM calculations are required by Part L,  of the Building Regulations for England and Wales.

    If you are heading up a new build, it is critical that you know about SBEM calculations. As well as how they work, when you need to get them, and how they impact your final construction.

    Research has shown that while UK building law is stringent yet clear, many constructions develop issues around gaining compliance. According to the study, this stems directly from a lack of knowledge around requirements.

    If a project does not comply with requirements, and cannot be passed by building control, this can lead to costly holdups and alterations to the construction.

    No developer or architect wants this.

    Therefore, read on to learn everything you need to know about SBEM calculations.

    What SBEM Calculations Are For

    SBEM stands for Simplified Building Energy Model. It is the approved framework for calculating the energy performance of buildings that are non-domestic. They are the non residential or commercial equivalent of SAP calculations, which estimate the energy performance of residential buildings.

    SBEM calculations compute values relating to, building materials used, ventilation systems, HVAC systems, lighting needs, glazing, energy input required for heating and lighting per annum, as well as components such as solar PV systems.

    The energy performance of buildings is measured on a scale of 1 – 100, with 100 being zero energy consumption.

    SBEM calculations not only work out whether or not a planned construction will pass energy efficiency requirements, but they also act as a framework/ blueprint that informs the different construction phases in order to for the building to meet requirements once it is completed.

    SBEM calculations form the basis for generating what is called an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) which is issued at the end of a build to show whether or not a building has passed all energy efficiency requirements.

    What Types of Constructions Require Them

    As mentioned above, SBEM calculations are required for all non-domestic buildings.

    Here is a list of examples of these types of constructions:

    • Hotels
    • Offices
    • Factories
    • Schools
    • Resturants
    • Retail developments
    • Warehouses
    • Student housing
    • Care homes

    Although student housing and care homes could be thought of as dwellings these generally require SBEM calculations.

    The rule of thumb is that if units are self-contained, they fall into the catagory of dwellings and require (individual) SAP calculations. Any shared areas or units that do not contain kitchens or bathrooms need SBEM calculations. Constructions that include both self-contained units and shared areas require both SBEM and SAP calculations

    There are also two exceptions to SBEM requirements. These are places of worship and non-heated buildings. If you planning construction of these, then it is unlikely that you will need to get SBEM calculations.

    As regulation enforcement can vary between regions, it is best to consult your local building control body to ensure that you are getting the right calculations carried out.

    Who Carries Out SBEM Calculations

    SBEM calculations are conducted by energy and sustainability consultants, such as us. Sustainability consultants compile the required data from your project within the government-approved software to generate the calculations report.

    After this, they will advise you, should you seek guidance on energy efficiency related areas of the build. Once construction is completed they will ascertain and prove whether or not the building complies with the SBEM calculations, in order for it to gain its EPC.

    Energy consultants are monitored by accreditation authorities to ensure that they conduct these services correctly.

    When to Get SBEM Calculations

    SBEM calculations are carried out during the pre-construction phase of a build. Ideally, SBEM calculations should be integrated into the design phase. By doing this you will be able to have confidence that your construction will pass the final evaluation.

    This also allows for any modifications to be planned in if the projected energy efficiency score needs to be increased. Unfortunately, many developers neglect to get SBEM calculations in the design phases and put it off until the end. This can result in costly problems.

    Changing plans is much cheaper and swifter than changing already erected constructions, so we strongly advise that you book your SBEM calculation service as soon as possible.

    How They Are Carried Out

    In order to carry out accurate SBEM calculations, the energy consultants you are working with will need to have access to as much information about the construction as possible.

    This includes but is not limited to:

    • Floor plans
    • Site plans
    • Section
    • Elevations
    • Insulation types used and their thicknesses
    • Specifications of heating and cooling systems
    • Specifications on hot water generation
    • Specifications of ventilation systems
    • specification of the glazing
    • Light specifications and information on lighting controls
    • U-value of openings
    • Specification of renewable technologies and systems
    • Construction accreditation details

    Once in possession of the required information, your energy consultant will compile the SBEM calculations. The time this takes is largely dictated by the project’s size/scope.

    What to Do With Your SBEM Calculations

    Once you are in possession of the SBEM calculations these need to be passed on to your builder and project manager. They will need to utilize the data to ensure that all specifications and u-values are implemented correctly. This will ensure that you project can successfully gain its new building EPC once completed.

    Schedule Your SBEM Calculations As Soon As Possible

    SBEM calculations are critical for the successful approval of non-domestic construction projects. To guard against common and costly issues that involve redoing sections of work, ensure that you schedule SBEM calculations for as early on in the projects as possible—ideally during the planning phase.

    If you are in need of energy efficiency consultants or have any questions, feel free to contact us to discuss your needs. We are an experienced team of energy consultants, dedicated to making your energy efficiency approval process a clear and smooth one.

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