Most people who have been involved in the building and construction industry for some time have already heard of SAP assessments or calculations, of course, but if this is your first time encountering the term or you aren’t quite familiar with it, it would be in your best interest to find out what it is all about – especially if you are set to go through a building or construction project of your own. The SAP or Standard Assessment Procedure is a method introduced by the UK government in order to assess, compare, and evaluate the environmental and energy performance of buildings. The SAP aims to ensure that all new structures or buildings will not only meet and adhere to Building Regulations but also different initiatives in regards to environmental and energy policies. Here is your complete guide to SAP assessments and calculations – and their prime importance.

The aim of the assessment 

The SAP assessment’s foremost aim is to determine the energy new-builds or structures will consume as they deliver a definitive comfort level and services following standards for behaviour and occupancy. The process offers a standardised assessment of the energy performance of dwellings, so all dwellings can be compared nationwide. 

How the SAP assessment or calculation is made

SAP assessments or calculations are widely based on a new build or development’s balance of energy, and it considers a broad selection of factors that can contribute to the building’s energy efficiency. This includes factors such as the materials used in the dwelling or building’s construction, the building fabric’s thermal insulation, the building or dwelling’s characteristics in air leakage, including the performance of its equipment for ventilation, the control and efficiency of the building or dwelling’s heating systems, and the building’s solar benefits or gains through various openings.

The SAP assessment or calculation will also include a look at the fuel the building uses to provide water heating and space heating, lighting, and ventilation, and it looks at the energy used for the cooling of spaces and whether or not the building or dwelling makes use of renewable energy technology. 

It’s important to note, however, that the SAP assessment will not include a household’s individual features or characteristics, like the size of the household or its temperature and heating patterns. A Standard Assessment Procedure calculation can also assess the cost of fuel and the building’s EIR or Environmental Impact Rating through CO2 emissions.

Why a SAP assessment is essential

As you may already know, SAP assessments have long been a legal prerequisite and requirement for new-build and domestic structures in the UK as part of Building Regulations Part L. A home must be able to get a passing score on the calculations for it to adhere to Building Regulations. If it doesn’t pass, it will not be signed off and confirmed by Building Control, which means that it cannot legally be sold or rented. 

Since there are various elements that are related to a building’s construction phase, experts advise that you have your SAP assessment carried out at your project’s beginning so you can easily inform and confer with your architects, surveyors, suppliers, and builders. With the assessment, you can also figure out your building’s consumption of energy and its carbon output, and you can then find ways to minimise the building’s running costs early on.