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On the 15th June this year, building construction changed. Building Regulation 40 updates came into force, which affected the approved documents for many sections, including Part L. This transforms how dwellings are constructed with a view to conserving fuel and power.
To ensure compliance to the uplifted Part L, detailed evidence in the form of photographic images is mandatory – and this blog is focused on what is required and more.
Discover exactly what comprises Part L, why photographic evidence is necessary, what constitutes that evidence – and what failure to comply might mean.
The UK is adapting to a necessity for sustainability. Part L is a pivotal step forward in the roadmap toward the Future Homes Standard, coming into effect in 2025.
Part L is an ‘Approved Document.’ An approved document tells us what may be accepted as reasonable provision for relevant requirements and compliance, of the Building Regulation to which they refer.
The updated Part L of Building Regulation 40 covers the conservation of fuel and power in the building of dwellings, refurbishments and non-domestic dwellings in England, and establishes how energy-efficient new and existing buildings should be.
Part L is split into three sections:
Approved Document Part L1A: This covers the requirements for new homes to be energy efficient. Individuals responsible for building work must ensure that homes comply with the requirements provided within this document.
Approved Document Part L1B: This covers the requirements for renovations and extensions to existing homes to be energy efficient. It does highlight that it’s not always possible to meet new build standards, but the regulations state that if a thermal element (roof, wall or floor) is being replaced or renovated then it must be done to Part L1A standard.
Approved Document L2A: This covers the required energy standards during construction of new commercial buildings, and Approved Document L2B covers existing buildings other than dwellings.
The bottom line of Part L is that all new homes must produce 31% less carbon emissions than previous Part L regulations stated.
In this blog, we’ll focus on Part L1A.
Part L focuses on how much energy a dwelling will consume when delivering a standard rate of comfort and service, such as hot water and heating. The assessor will use standardised assumptions for who will occupy the dwelling and the behaviour that will define the usage. Other factors, such as fuel costs, are also considered.
This is then divided into energy use per floor, but the bottom line will be all dwellings are checked to gauge the annual energy consumption for space heating, hot water, lighting and ventilation – as well as appliance usage and odds of seasonal overheating. Photographic evidence will be taken during installation and in situ to provide evidence that these measures have been successfully implemented.
To evidence that the building is constructed using the correct material and in line with projected emission levels, photographic evidence must be taken to exhibit that the materials, designs and construction take into account and deliver the 31% reduction on emissions compared to previous Part L limitations.
Photographs can be taken by anyone on site, but each instance must have a separate photo record acquired. On a typical project, these photos will accumulate quickly and will total hundreds, if not thousands of separate images. Ideally this will be securely stored and easily sharable with multiple stakeholders. Also, this will need to be located simply so the SAP assessor can proceed with their testing in an efficient manner – reducing the chance of wasted hours on-site.
All details and instances where photo evidence should be captured can be found here.
The images should be digital and of enough resolution to ensure a qualitive assessment. Where a longer shot is taken and sufficient detail isn’t present, a further close-up will be required.
This test is a pass/fail scenario, with a score out of 100. The SAP assessor has many more variables to consider and to arrive at a reasonable verdict, much more data will be necessary.
At the design stage, SAP calculations are made, which result in a Predicted Energy Assessment (PEA). This provides a rating of energy performance based on the design of the dwelling and shows the building inspector that the home will meet the requirements under Building Regulation 40, Part L.
The SAP assessor will create an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate), which is required for homes when built, sold or let. Authorised SAP assessors are necessary to produce these calculations and the completed home’s EPC.
That means you will need a consultant – which is another resource.
All images should be enabled with geo-location.
This means that every image should have the location and time added. The reference to the part of the building the image refers to, as well as the plot number, must also be included.
The result of a failed SAP test primarily means rising costs. To remedy a failed SAP test will normally demand a more energy efficient or greener solution is required – the installation of which will demand invasive work that will cause significant project delays.
At worst, budgets will be stretched or entirely rewritten thanks to extra, unplanned work to ensure a passed SAP test.
Without a pass, the building will not be signed off for completion.
The uplifted Part L regulation will ensure that your project produces a dwelling that is less harmful to the environment and crucially, can achieve sign-off.
The added data and evidence required to comply with these regulations can be another drain on resources however.
With so much information that needs to be shared, viewed and assessed for compliance, a central platform that provides a single source of truth and the catalyst to efficiency on-site is essential. Something that stores, files, labels, geo-locates, time stamps and enables the sharing of thousands of photos and supporting documentation per project, would cut out unnecessary time wasted by doing so manually, or with a sub-standard, ambiguous platform.
Construction and quality management SaaS is purpose-built to not only provide these solutions, but also enhance workflows and allow seamless sharing of data. A configurable solution designed to overcome the data requirements that all projects are required to meet.