Flats – North Oxford

This site comprises one block of nine, two-bedroom flats over three floors. It is located in north Oxford and was completed in 2008.

The developer was keen to use electric, ceiling mounted heating. Initial SAP calculations showed that it would be difficult to comply with Part L1A of the Building Regulations using this system, in conjunction with the rest of the design specification, due to the high associated carbon emissions from using electricity as a heat source. Nevertheless, this type of heating system was installed.

There was no follow up from the developer after the initial work and the developer was surprised when final SAP calculations were produced to be told that the dwellings did not comply.

As the building was now complete, there were limited options available to bring the building into compliance and the final solution was to install a 4.5kWp PV system to offset the carbon emissions associated with the properties down to a level that secured compliance.

This scenario is sadly not uncommon and adds additional, unbudgeted costs to projects that could have been avoided if SAP calculations were undertaken at the start of the design stage and cheaper build and specification options considered and then adhered to.

Since the upgrades to Part L1A of the Building Regulations in 2010, it has become be even more imperative to undertake SAP calculations at an early stage as an assistance to the overall design process – as a legal requirement – and we are well prepared and experienced in this approach.