How to comply with Part L Building Regulations
Communication with your SAP assessor, across all aspects of the design and construction process, is vital to ensure the SAP calculation accurately represents the design and subsequent construction of the dwelling; and that in both cases compliance is achieved. Commercial pressures can sometimes negatively impact the quality and accuracy of assessments and information provided, so involving an assessor throughout the process can have significant benefits.
Do not be afraid to ask the SAP assessor for references. If you are working on a development that requires particular product knowledge, e.g. renewables, then ask the assessor to relay their experience in this area, such as the percentage of their work that involves renewable or low carbon technology.
It is easy to feel that energy assessments are an obstacle or tick box exercise with assessors often instructed too late in the design process. Remember that SAP is a compliance tool. Interaction with the assessor, early in the design process, will allow a dialogue should your design initially fail to comply.
A clear path to follow in terms of achieving compliance would be a fabric first approach, followed by fit and forget technology and then renewables or other low carbon technology. However, bear in mind that the SAP assessor may not be a trained designer, so be aware of the extent of the assessors’ knowledge, particularly on product specification and application, when trying to get a dwelling to achieve Design Stage compliance.
During the build process, communication back to the assessor, when making any changes that could affect the energy efficiency of the dwelling, is paramount. Ideally, check that the revised assessment will pass, before implementing any changes. Do not be tempted to tell the assessor whatever is needed in order to get the As-built assessment and EPC produced. This will create issues with Audits (which are carried out by the assessor’s accreditation body) and subsequently issues with the accuracy of the EPC.