SBEM calculations

SBEM calculations are required to comply with Part L2 of the Building Regulations.

Your building control body will request SBEM calculations when you are building, refurbishing or extending any commercial premises.

Very often we find that small changes need to be made to “initial designs” in liaison with the architect, developer or client to ensure the construction complies with the latest regulations.

It is essential to engage with an accredited consultant before finalising the design to make sure there are no surprises down the line.

We can support you at four different ways:

  • Exploring the most energy-efficient option: we can model different options for insulation, lights and wall constructions, for example. This enables you to make the most cost-effective choices while improving energy efficiency and carbon emissions
  • You’re ready for a SBEM calculation: you provide us with the relevant information (see below). We then model everything, tell you whether you’ve passed and send out the finished report
  • Your project does not currently comply: if your project doesn’t pass Part L2 building regulations we will give you a range of options to support you with compliance
  • You don’t have all the information: if you don’t have all the information, we can help you to fill in the blanks.

Top tips

  1. Consider the energy efficiency of boilers and ventilation systems “If you’re in the early stages of a project, careful consideration of M&E is essential as it’s more strongly weighted than in residential assessments; for example, M&E can have more of an impact on whether your SBEM calculation is compliant than the levels of insulation on the fabric side of things.”
  2. Lighting makes a big difference For retail units and offices, lighting is critical as it can have a more significant effect on the SBEM calculation than for other types of units
  3. Consider how you heat your hot water “If your building uses a lot of hot water, such as hotels, sports centres or changing facilities at offices, it becomes imperative to think about how you heat your water,” says Anthony.“A high hot water demand will increase your energy consumption and associated emissions, so careful consideration of the most appropriate hot water heating can help reduce the emissions and help with compliance.”

Watch out for: 

SBEM calculations for new and existing buildings are slightly different, which sometimes catches people out. For a new building, we can use architects’ plans. But for an existing building, we are required to visit the site before we can issue an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). This is why we include site visits in our quotes.
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Next steps

  1. Geometry: detailed drawings – floor plans, elevation and section drawings of buildings. We then use our modelling software to generate a 3D version of the building
  2. Fabric: we need to know all the construction specifications – what the floor, walls, roof and windows made of
  3. M&E: how are you heating the building? How is hot water supplied? What about ventilation equipment and lighting?Our assessors are qualified to CIBSE Level 5 standard so can also carry out Dynamic Simulation Models on the most complicated buildings. This is a mandatory requirement for projects with atriums, complex ventilation systems or automatic blind control systems.
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