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What is involved in the As Built (Final) Stage of a SAP Calculation?

Once construction is complete and the final details have been confirmed, the assessor finalises the SAP calculation and creates the Energy Performance Certificate.  The EPC provides a rating of energy performance based upon the dwelling as it has been built. The EPC must, by law, be displayed in a new dwelling put up for sale on the open market.

In addition there are other documents that are required by Building Control such as the SAP worksheet report and the SAP data input report.  The assessor will provide all of these documents to the client to pass on to their Building Control officer to enable the completion to be signed off.  The exact process here depends upon the location of your building as the system is different is some parts of the UK.

What is involved in the As Built (Draft) Stage of a SAP Calculation?

During construction it may be necessary to make some amendments to the design.  Keeping your assessor informed during this process and seeking their advice prior to confirming any changes will help to ensure that your finished building will comply with the regulations.

Once construction is complete an air pressure test (sometimes called an air tightness test or air leakage test) may be required.  This test confirms the air tightness of the finished building to ensure it is energy efficient.  Once the test is complete you will need to provide details to your energy assessor.  If an air pressure test is not required you may still wish to obtain one.  If the result of a test is not available then the assessor will use a default value in the SAP calculations which is worse than most well constructed buildings will obtain.  Having a test conducted voluntarily is likely to improve your final rating and help demonstrate that you have complied with the regulations.

During this stage the assessor will edit the SAP calculation to reflect the results of the air pressure test and any variations to the specification.  The approved software is used to check that the completed dwelling still meets the requirements of the Building Regulations with regards to the conservation of fuel and power.  If for any reason the building does not meet the required standards, the assessor can advise remedial action to get your project back on track.

The assessor will also check to ensure that any new building is registered on the Government’s central database register of national property addresses.  If it is not, the assessor will arrange for the address record to be created.

What is involved in the As Designed (Final) Stage of a SAP Calculation?

Once the As Designed (Draft) stage has been completed, the client, building designer and the assessor agree the finalised version of the design.  This may involve amendments to the initial design in order to achieve SAP compliance.

The data in the approved software is then updated to reflect this final design.  The software is then used to produce the reports that the client or designer need to submit to Building Control.  This will include a Predicted Energy Assessment (this provides a rating of energy performance based upon the specified design).

What is involved in the As Designed (Draft) Stage of a SAP Calculation?

The accredited energy assessor uses the plans and drawings provided to prepare summary information for the building.  This includes calculating the total floor area of the dwelling; the floor area of the lounge or living room; the areas of the heat loss floors, heat loss walls and heat loss roofs; the dimensions of external windows and doors; and storey heights etc.

The assessor then calculates the performance of the thermal elements from the specifications provided. These are expressed as ‘U’ values; the rate at which heat passes through the fabric of the building.  The higher the ‘U’ value, the greater the rate of heat loss.

The assessor then inputs all this data into the approved software to produce the SAP calculation.  Data is entered relating to:

  • Type of dwelling;
  • Floors;
  • Walls;
  • Roofs;
  • Openings (windows, doors, roof lights);
  • Ventilation;
  • Main and secondary space heating;
  • Hot water generation;
  • Renewable technologies, including photovoltaic panels and solar water heating;
  • Energy efficient lighting.

The software determines whether the proposed dwelling will comply with the requirements of the Building Regulations with regards to the conservation of fuel and power.  The assessor is able to use the software to model different variations of the design if the initial specification doesn’t show compliance.  The assessor can then advise the designer of the shortfalls and recommend solutions as required.

What information is needed for a SAP calculation?

SAP calculations are produced using a computer model.  They do not require the assessor to visit the site of the building.  As a result it is important that accurate and reliable information is submitted to the assessor.

The exact information required will vary from project to project and your assessor will discuss this with you.  The following is a list of the information typically required:

  • The full building address.
  • The correct postcode as confirmed by Royal Mail.
  • A site plan including the orientation of the dwelling(s).
  • Scaled plans of each storey of the building (normally at 1:100).
  • Elevations drawings for each elevation.
  • Sectional drawings of the dwelling.
  • Details of the principal heating and hot water system. This needs to include the make and model of boiler, details of heating emitters (e.g. radiators), hot water cylinder size (if applicable) and the system controls.
  • Details of any secondary heating system present.
  • Details of ventilation systems or extractor fans.
  • Details of the internal and external lighting.
  • Details of the construction of all the different floors to the property.  This needs to include the type and thicknesses of insulation and any other building products used.
  • Details of the construction of all the different external walls to the property.  This needs to include the type and thicknesses of insulation and other building products used.
  • Details of the construction of all the different roofs to the property.  This needs to include the type and thicknesses of insulation and other building products used.
  • Details of all the doors and windows.  This needs to include the sizes, type of frame, type of glazing, thickness of glazing and any low emissivity applications.
  • Details of any renewable technologies installed in the building.  These could include ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps, solar water heating, photovoltaics (PV), wind turbines and/or hydrokinetic technologies.

If you are in the process of designing your building, the assessor will be able to help you decide the minimum standards for each system to ensure that your finished building meets the required energy performance standards.

What is a SAP Calculation?

A SAP calculation works out the rating that is required in order to produce a Predicted Energy Assessment and an On-Construction Energy Performance Certificate for a new domestic building.

A SAP calculation indicates a score for the predicted annual energy cost for the new building based on:

  • The elements of structure;
  • The internal lighting;
  • The heating;
  • The hot water system;
  • Any renewable technologies installed in the home.

The higher the score the lower the running costs, with 100 representing zero energy cost.  Dwellings with a rating in excess of 100 are net exporters of energy.

The model used to produce a SAP calculation is largely location independent.  It is also based on a notional occupancy to overcome the different ways in which people use their homes.  As a result, SAP calculations allow the energy running costs of dwellings anywhere in the UK to be compared.

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