Technical newsletters about emerging issues & our latest research

Designing Buildings for Good Internal Air Quality

Posted on March 9th 2015

Poor internal air quality in UK homes is having a serious effect on the health of occupiers. This is a direct consequence of more airtight, energy efficient houses with inadequate ventilation. Through good design, both energy efficiency and ventilation can be optimised, providing high quality housing which will benefit health and wellbeing. We are able to advise on successfully balancing …

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Renewable Heat Incentive for New Build Housing

Posted on March 9th 2015

There are two distinct Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) schemes: Domestic and Non-Domestic. Paradoxically, it is the non-domestic scheme that is of most relevance to housing developers and can offer opportunities to reduce operational costs and hence resident heat bills. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was brought in to provide long-term incentives to switch from use of fossil fuels to renewable …

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Alfred Homes Complete Their First ‘Zero Carbon’ Home

Posted on March 9th 2015

Alfred Homes have recently completed their first ‘zero carbon’ home on their Alarth, Dean Lane development in Winchester. Alarth is a development of three spacious detached houses in a semi-rural location and designed with traditional exteriors to fit in with the local area. We assisted Alfred Homes from the planning application stage through the detailed design, culminating in the production …

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The Importance of Considering Noise Issues at Planning

Posted on March 9th 2015

Noise assessment is becoming an increasingly important issue for urban development to meet planning requirements. Proposed residential development in high density locations, often in brownfield or previously developed commercial sites, may require one or more types of noise assessment to provide assurance to local authorities that noise issues have been appropriately considered and mitigated. BS 8233:2014 and BS 12354-3:2000 give …

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New Pragmatic Approach to Assessing Summer Overheating

Posted on February 5th 2015

Until recently, a dwelling was deemed to have an unacceptable overheating risk if habitable rooms exceed threshold temperatures of 25oC in bedrooms and 28oC in living rooms for more than 1% of occupied hours per year. The new Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) TM52 guidance provides a much more pragmatic approach to assessing summer overheating in homes. CIBSE …

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Part L 2010 Deadline Fast Approaching

Posted on February 5th 2015

As we approach 6th April 2015, developers who have lodged an initial notice, building notice or full plans application before 6th April 2014 will need to commence works on site before this date in order to retain use of Part L 2010, thus avoiding the uplift in specification necessary to comply with Part L (2013). The DCLG’s definition of “commencement …

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Who To Trust With Housing Standards

Posted on February 5th 2015

We are continually refining the balance between cost-efficient strategies and optimising building performance for the end user. With the Housing Standards Review and the dismantling of the Code, industry faces a challenge between low cost mass-market housing, and high quality homes which are fit for the future. In our article for the CIBSE journal we look to the future and discuss …

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Demonstrating Sustainable Development to Planning Authorities

Posted on January 13th 2015

As Government policy gradually relaxes prescriptive standards for sustainable urban planning and housing quality, the challenge for developers is to find new ways to demonstrate sustainable development for planning applications. A number of key environmental issues are increasingly seen as important, including resident comfort (overheating, ventilation and daylighting), climate change resilience, microclimatic assessment and accessibility. The assessment of these is …

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Building User Guides & Operation & Maintenance Manuals

Posted on January 13th 2015

Building User Guides can reduce operational energy use and provide savings through effective use of the building and its systems. They allow the achievement of a BREEAM credit and also provide occupants with easily accessible, non-technical information to allow them to use the building efficiently and without difficulty. The Building User Guide is separate to the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) …

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Is it Time to Switch Your Biomass Boiler On?

Posted on January 13th 2015

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) can make previously unused biomass boilers profitable to use. Retrospective registration for the non-domestic RHI (which is the applicable scheme for residential community heating) can provide a significant revenue stream for developers with biomass boilers installed on or after 15th July 2009. The RHI is a Government environmental programme that provides financial incentives to increase …

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