What Are SBEM Calculations?

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What Are SBEM Calculations? UK

Overview of SBEM Calculations

So – what are SBEM calculations? SBEM stands for ‘Simplified Building Energy Model’ and is the government’s method for calculating the energy performance of non-dwellings. These calculations are the commercial equivalent of SAP calculations.

In England, Your SBEM Calculations Measure Four Criteria: 

  • Making sure the Building Emission Rate (BER) does not exceed the Target Emission Rate (TER).
  • Assessing building fabric and the HVAC systems (heating, cooling and ventilation), hot water and fixed lighting systems to make sure they achieve reasonable overall standards of energy efficiency.
  • Demonstrating appropriate passive control measures to limit solar gains during summer months, in order to reduce the need for air conditioning systems.
  • Making sure there are the necessary provisions for enabling the energy efficient operation of the building put in place.
  • SBEM calculations come in two formats; L2A (new builds) and L2B (extensions and conversions). The primary purpose of the calculations is to produce a BRUKL (Building Regulations Part L) report in order to create a new or updated Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

Why Do I Need These Calculations?

Now we’ve answered ‘what are SBEM calculations?’, we’ll move on to why you need them. The calculations are required by Part L (England & Wales), Section 6 (Scotland), Part F1 (Northern Ireland) of The Building Regulations. These documents are concerned with the conservation of fuel and power. Originally based on Dutch energy performance guides, SBEM calculations came into effect as part of the UK Building Regulations in 2006.

You need to carry out these calculations in order to produce a new or up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). It is against the law to rent or sell a commercial property without an EPC. The EPC rates the property between 1 and 100. The closer to 100 the rating is, the more energy efficient the building is.

How Are The Calculations Done? 

In order for our team to carry out SBEM calculations, the customer should provide as much information as possible. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • Floorplans
  • Elevations
  • Sections
  • Site Plan
  • Insulation type/thickness
  • U-value of openings
  • Specification of heating systems
  • Hot water generation
  • Lighting controls and lighting specifications
  • Specification of ventilation and cooling systems
  • Renewable technologies
  • Accredited construction details

However, in some senses the question ‘what are SBEM calculations?’ isn’t that simple. How we carry out your SBEM calculations will depend on whether your project is a new build, or an extension or conversion. In either instance, the calculations are split into two reports.

For new builds, your calculations will be split into two reports: ‘design stage’ and ‘as built’.  For extensions and conversions, L2B SBEM Calculations are split into ‘notional’ and ‘proposed’ reports.

When Should SBEM Calculations Be Carried Out? 

You should carry out calculations before building work starts. This is so at design stage, you can be confident that the plans will achieve a pass. In the case of L2A SBEM calculations, we will produce a second report once you finish the building.

How Long Will My Calculations Take? 

This entirely depends on the timeline and size of your construction project – for instance, a huge hundred-unit warehouse will take far longer than a single shop front. Generally, UKBC aims to complete all reports within 5–10 working days after request.

What Happens If My Building Fails? 

It is against the law to rent or sell a commercial property without an EPC. Therefore, it is crucial that your building passes its SBEM.

It is very important to arrange your SBEM calculations before building work starts, so that should the building be failing to meet building regulation standards, our team can give you advice on how to improve. This becomes more difficult and expensive later in the project, as the scope of changes available becomes more limited.

UKBC aims to provide comprehensive support and guidance throughout the entire SBEM process. Whereas many companies will only carry out the calculations, UKBC provide our clients with a consultancy service to make sure you have the information and advice you need to pass the SBEM.


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