Below is the latest blog from Dyfrig Hughes of NHER, kindly reproduced due to their spam filter not allowing me to respond.
The government has funded a 15 month project to look at how to close the “performance gap” for new homes. This is the gap believed to exist between the predicted and actual performance of newly built homes. For this project this is roughly speaking the difference between the performance predicted by SAP and the actual performance under standard occupancy when the keys are handed over. This of course ignores the key role role of the householder who takes ownership of those keys, but the line has been firmly drawn at handover. This is probably wise are there are plenty of issues before handover to be addressed and there is a limit to what can realistically be achieved in one project.
The work is being facilitated by the Zero Carbon Hub, and NES are contributing to the “Design Tools” and “Verification” groups. The “Design Tools” group is mainly concerned with whether or not the SAP tool is up to scratch. In our view SAP is not too bad although there is always room for improvement. We think the bigger issue is around the veracity of the data entered into SAP.
At the first meeting of the Verification Group, four key areas were defined as the main focus. Number one on the list was issues around SAP assessments, in particular ensuring that the data entered matches the actual build. There are many issues here including incomplete SAP conventions, conventions not being applied on the ground, SORs being woolly in places, unclear rules around required documentary evidence and commercial pressures on SAP Assessors leading to corners being cut ……. all issues that will be familiar to SAP Assessors and which NES is addressing through various other initiatives.
The second item on the list is the role of Building Control. For example, the limited amount of “energy” checking done by most BCOs, some developers not even being asked for an EPC by building control.
A key aim for NES in all of this is to ensure an even playing field between Assessors and Accreditation Schemes and a gradual improvement in both quality standards and fees for our Assessors. We will keep you informed as things develop.