Part L 2021 and the new SAP 10 Construction Evidence Requirements

The new Building Regulations Approved Document L, Volume 1, 2021 for new dwellings came into effect on 15th June 2022 in England. The change introduces more stringent requirements for thermal efficiency, energy usage, and quality in construction in a move towards the Future Homes Standard expected in 2025. The changes are intended to reduce the performance gap between design and as-built energy performance.

Among the changes, the new SAP 10 methodology comes into effect. This is an update to the SAP calculation used to demonstrate compliance with Approved Document L, and produce Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for new homes.

The calculation now requires a greater level of detailed design information to be entered into the assessment for each new dwelling, and building contractors are required to provide more information to the SAP Assessor and to Building Control.

Changes currently apply in England and Wales. Building Regulations Approved Document L, Volume 1, 2022, applies in Wales from 23rd November 2022.

Changes to As Built Evidence Requirements

Most residential building contractors are likely to be familiar with the evidence already required by the SAP Assessor in order to prepare the As Built SAP calculation and EPC. The new Regulations and SAP 10 methodology require the following additional information to be collated and provided to the SAP Assessor, and submitted to Building Control.

The most demanding change for building contractors will be the photographic evidence which needs to be collected for each dwelling throughout the build to comply. Detailed requirements are set out in Appendix B of Approved Document L, Volume 1, 2021, and guidance is given below. The photographs need to be provided to the SAP Assessor and submitted to Building Control. The photographs must also be provided to the building owner at completion, along with the new BREL (Buildings Regulations England Part L) report and EPC.

The photographic information must be collected throughout the build to capture all of the necessary detail of construction, and provided to the SAP Assessor before an EPC can be issued. It is therefore really important that building contractors are aware of the requirements so as photos are not missed at crucial stages before work is covered up.

Collecting Photographic Evidence

The following guidance is based on the details set out in Building Regulations Approved Document L, Volume 1, 2021, and the SAP Conventions 9.0 December 2022.

Photographs must be taken for each dwelling on a development as a record during the construction of a property. The photographs must be provided to the SAP Assessor and submitted to Building Control.

Photographs must be taken of typical details as listed below and must be unique to each property. At least one photograph per detail should be recorded. Additional images, such as a close-up detail, should be provided when necessary. For example, close-up photographs may be needed where a long distance image provides insufficient detail.

Photographs must be taken at appropriate construction stages for each detail when completed, but prior to closing-up works.

Additional photos of the same detail may be required in order to show the continuity of both insulation and airtightness of each detail.

Photographs should be digital and of sufficient quality and high enough resolution to allow a qualitative audit of the detail.

Geo-location should be enabled to confirm the location, date and time of each image. This is usually added automatically with recent smart phones with location services turned on.

It should be clear what each photo shows, so each image file name should include a plot number and detail reference according to the numbers used in Approved Document L1, Appendix B7, and listed in the downloadable guidance sheet below.

Here to Help

We want to help building contractor’s to get used to the new requirements as quickly as possible to reduce issues arising at the completion stage which might affect issue of the new BREL report and EPCs, and delay handovers. If there are any questions about the new processes or evidence requirements please get in touch, we will be happy to help.