Non Domestic BER Assessors –Technical Bulletin January 2012
Non Domestic BER Assessors – Technical Bulletin
Issue No. 1/12
January 2012
Contents:
1 Building Services – HWS – Multi Tenant Premises ................................................................. 2 2 General - Building Type ........................................................................................................... 3 3 Geometry - Zone Heights – Measurement Convention ......................................................... 6 4 Geometry – Zone Heights – Default Slab Thickness .............................................................. 7 5 Geometry – Global Zone Height ............................................................................................. 8 6 Building Services – Zones - Lighting ...................................................................................... 9 7 Data Integrity for a Provisional BER ....................................................................................... 9 8 iSBEM software: Updating Project Files ...............................................................................10 9 Quality Assurance – Quality of Photographic Evidence ......................................................12 The Non-domestic BER Technical Bulletins are archived here.
This technical bulletin will address a number of queries recently encountered by the BER audit team
and Helpdesk, including:
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Hot Water Systems in Multi Tenant Premises
Building Type classification;
Clarification of Zone Heights;
Clarification of Zone Lighting Characteristics;
Data Integrity for Provisional BERs.
Updates in iSBEM software
Photographic evidence for BERs
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Non Domestic BER Assessors –Technical Bulletin January 2012
1 Building Services – HWS – Multi Tenant Premises
When assessing a property of a tenant or occupant in a multi-tenant premises, Assessors should
consider the following guidance on treatment of hot water services.
HWS Supplied by Landlord or from a Central Water Heating System
Where the hot water services are supplied to each tenant by a central water heating system (e.g.
from the landlord to the tenant’s premises) the efficiency and storage volume should be based on
the details of that central system. Where this information is not available default data should be
used.
Example
Below shows an example of a building where a BER assessor is carrying out a BER assessment for
Tenant 3.
(i) Tenant 3 has the same Building Activities as the remainder of the tenants:
The HWS storage for Tenant 3 BER assessment should be based on the following:
Total Central HWS Storage x Floor Area of Tenant 3
∑ Floor Area of Tenants 1,2,3,4,5
The efficiency of the HWS generator for Tenant 3 BER assessment should be based on the
central HWS generator.
(ii) Tenant 3 has different Building Activities to the remainder of the tenants:
The HWS storage for Tenant 3 BER assessment should be apportioned based on recognised
methodologies such a CIBSE guidelines for Hot Water Storage.
The efficiency of the HWS generator for Tenant 3 BER assessment should be based on the landlord
HWS generator.
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Non Domestic BER Assessors –Technical Bulletin January 2012
HWS Supplied by Tenant
Where the hot water services are part of the tenant’s system the efficiency and storage volume
should be based on the details of the tenants services. Where this information is not available
default data should be used.
Example
Below shows an example of a building where a BER assessor is carrying out a BER assessment for
Tenant 3.
The HWS storage for Tenant 3 BER assessment is based on the actual storage volume.
The HWS Generator Efficiency for Tenant 3 BER assessment is based on the efficiency of the HWS
Generator.
2 General - Building Type
We have found in some recent audits that BER assessors have not correctly identified the building
type, particularly in reference to “retail” buildings. An example would be an audit where an assessor
was carrying out a BER assessment for an Estate Agent, and selected “Office” as the building type,
however as detailed below the correct building type would be “Retail”.
A BER assessor is responsible for ensuring that the correct Building Type is selected for the
assessment.
The Building Type sets the activities that may be assigned to the zones. Assessors should refer to
Appendix F of the SBEM User Guide for a list of activities associated with the building types.
The Building Type selected under General Information – Building Details is the building type that
defines the majority of the building and this will be displayed on the BER certificate.
Here is the list of Building Types available in the NEAP software. This list closely aligns with the UK
Town and Country Planning Use Classes.
1
2
3
Building Type
Airport Terminals
Bus Station/ Train Station/
Seaport Terminal
Community/ Day Centre
Description
Airport Terminal
Bus/ Train and Seaport Terminal
Creches, day nurseries and day centres
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Non Domestic BER Assessors –Technical Bulletin January 2012
4
5
Crown and County Courts
Dwelling
6
7
Emergency Services
Further Education
Universities
8
9
Hospital
Hotel
10
Industrial Process Building
11
12
13
14
15
Laundrette
Libraries/ Museums/ Galleries
Miscellaneous 24hr activities
Nursing Residential Homes
and Hostels
Office
16
17
18
Primary Health Care Buildings
Primary School
Prisons
19
Restaurant/ Public House
20
Retail
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
Retail Warehouse
Secondary School
Social Clubs
Sports Centre/ Leisure Centre
Sports Ground Arena
Telephone Exchanges
Theatres/ Cinemas/ Music
Halls and Auditoria
Warehouse and Storage
Workshops/ Maintenance
Depot
28
29
Law Courts
Residential spaces within Non Domestic buildings not designed
or altered for use as a separate dwelling.
Emergency Services includes Fire Stations.
Universities
Hospitals
Hotels, boarding and guest houses where no significant
element of care is provided.
Use for carrying on an industrial process, it excludes light
industry appropriate in a residential area.
Laundrette
Art Galleries, museums and libraries
Miscellaneous 24hr activities.
Residential care homes and nursing homes
Office
Non residential clinics and health centres
Primary School.
Secure residential accommodation, including use as a prison,
young offenders institution, detention centre, short term
holding centre and secure hospital.
For the sale of food and drink for consumption on the premises
– restaurants, snack bars, cafes, public houses and wine bars
Shops, hairdressers, undertakers, travel and ticket agencies,
post offices, pet shops, sandwich bars, showrooms, domestic
hire shops, dry cleaners, funeral directors, banks, building
societies, estate and employment agencies. Also professional
and financial services and betting offices where the services are
provided principally to visiting members of the public.
Retail Warehouse.
Secondary School
Bingo and Dance Halls
Swimming pools, skating rinks, gymnasiums.
Sports Arena
Telephone Exchange.
Cinemas, music and concert halls, night clubs and theatres.
Use as a storage or distribution centre
Research and Development of products, light industry
appropriate to being a use which can be carried out in any
residential area without detriment to the amenity of that area
by reason of noise, vibration, smell, fumes, soot, ash, dust or
grit.
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Non Domestic BER Assessors –Technical Bulletin January 2012
The following shows an example of how to treat a mixed use building;
Mixed Use Building Type
This example shows a new building
with speculative office space on
levels 1 to 4 totalling an area of
4000m2, and speculative retail
space contained on the ground
floor totalling 1000m2.
In this case the Main Building Type
is “Office” as it defines the majority
of the building. The BER certificate
shall show the building type as
“Office”.
For the office zones, Z1/01, Z2/01,
Z3/01 and Z4/01 the building type
remains as “Office” and the activity
is selected based on activities
associated with that building type.
In this zone the activity chosen is
“Speculative Office Space”.
For the retail zones, Z0/01 and
Z0/02 the activities associated with
building type “Office” are not
appropriate. Therefore the building
type for these zones is changed to
“Retail” and appropriate activity
selected. In this space the activity
chosen is “Speculative Retail
Space”.
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Non Domestic BER Assessors –Technical Bulletin January 2012
3 Geometry - Zone Heights – Measurement Convention
BER Assessors have asked the Helpdesk for guidance on deriving zone heights. This article describes
a number of different cases. The following is the measurement convention for determining zone
heights:
Zone Height and Element Areas

For ground and intermediate
floors the zone height is from
top of floor slab to top of floor
slab.

For top floor the zone height is
from top of floor slab to soffit/
underside of roof slab

For the purpose of zone height
and surrounding wall areas,
suspended ceilings and raised
floors are ignored.
For top floors with pitched roof but
flat ceiling:


Zone height is top of floor to
underside of soffit/eaves level h4
Area of gable wall is that below
soffit/eaves level i.e. L4 x h4
For top floors with pitched roof and
dropped ceiling (with or without
insulation at ceiling level):
 Zone height is top of floor to
underside of soffit/eaves level h4
 Area of gable wall is that below
soffit/eaves level i.e. L4 x h4
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Non Domestic BER Assessors –Technical Bulletin January 2012
For top floors with pitched ceiling:
 Zone height is top of floor to
underside of soffit/eaves level h4 (not average room height)
 Area of gable wall is whole wall
up to roof apex (shaded area)
For top floors with mono-pitched
ceiling:
 Zone height is top of floor to
weighted average height of all
walls - h4av
 Area of gable wall is whole wall
(shaded area)
 Note that zoning for daylit
areas must be carried out
manually
4 Geometry – Zone Heights – Default Slab Thickness
In addition to the guidance above on zone heights, the slab thickness also needs to be considered.
When there is insufficient proof of the actual slab thickness (not detailed in drawings for example), a
default of 250mm may be used.
Ensure that where ceiling voids and raised floors exist that these are correctly identified. The depth
of the ceiling voids and raised floors should be included in the overall height of the zone. Check that
documentary evidence is maintained to support entry.
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Non Domestic BER Assessors –Technical Bulletin January 2012
5 Geometry – Global Zone Height
As a result of feedback from audits, it was found that the global zone height was entered in error in
some assessments. A global zone height can be set in iSBEM under General and Geometry, Building
Details. The value entered by the Assessor will be given as the global or default zone height in each
of the zones. The Assessor can alter the height or use the global height for respective zones.
Example
Below shows an example of a building.
Z0/01, Z1/01 and Z2/01 have the same height - h1
Z0/02 has a different height - h2
The Global zone height is set at h1 :
For each of the zones the global/ default height is then h1, as evident in Z0/01:
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Non Domestic BER Assessors –Technical Bulletin January 2012
Where a zone height differs from the global/ default height, the BER assessor selects the global
button
and enters the actual zone height. In this case Z0/02 has a different height therefore the
zone is updated accordingly:
6 Building Services – Zones - Lighting
The BER auditors have encountered assessments where BER assessors can identify a lighting type
(for example the presence of fluorescent fittings) but are unable to correctly identify the specific
lighting type (T12, T8 etc) within a zone. Where the specific fitting cannot be identified, take the
most conservative (highest power density) option from Table 15 of the iSBEM User Guide.
For example, high bay fittings are used in a zone, the assessor can provide photographic evidence
to demonstrate their presence. However the assessor is unable to determine whether the specific
fitting is a High Pressure Sodium Fitting or a Metal Halide.
In this case, the assessor must obtain additional documentary evidence such as As Built drawings
and specifications to identify the specific lamp type, however where these are not available the
assessor should select the more conservative option; in this case the Metal Halide fitting.
7 Data Integrity for a Provisional BER
Section 5 of the BER Assessor’s Code of Practice, indicates that “a New Provisional BER assessment
can be carried out by BER Assessors based on design drawings and specifications of an
uncompleted building provided that, on completion of the building in question, a New Final BER
assessment is carried out on the completed building”.
The provisional BER must represent the specification and drawings of the building. The Assessor
must verify each item entered in the provisional BER and in a similar manner to the final or existing
BER must have documentary evidence to support all entries such as signed off specifications, Uvalue calculations and so on. Descriptions of acceptable documentary evidence are detailed in the
non-domestic survey guide.
The specification and drawings must be provided by the client or their representatives, however
where as part of their role within a project a BER Assessor has developed the specification or
drawing, they must be signed off by the client confirming that the uncompleted building shall be
built to the specifications and drawings produced by the Assessor.
The specification and drawings must provide adequate information to support an entry, please refer
to examples below.
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Non Domestic BER Assessors –Technical Bulletin January 2012
In exceptional cases, there may be insufficient documentary evidence to support an entry. The
assessor may then use the default values. The default should be based on the relevant guidance
documents and iSBEM defaults and the assessor should keep a record with the assessment detailing
the reason for the default chosen.
As an example, the following provides guidance on the documentation required for a number of
items.
Data Entry
Acceptable Supporting Documentation
U-Value of
Opaque Elements
- Specification/ Drawing detailing materials used in
element construction and
- U-Value Calculation and
- Appropriate References to Thermal Conductivities used
in U value calculation
- Specification/ Drawing stating Pressure Test shall
achieve X m3/hm2/hr and
- Drawings showing details of air barrier and addressing
penetrations and junctions
Pressure Test
Results
Unacceptable Supporting
Documentation
- Specification/ Drawing stating U value of
element is X.XX
- Specification/ Drawing stating Pressure
Test shall achieve X m3/h/m2 with no
other supporting data.
Or
Use expected values from ATTMA TSL2 Table under
Section 2.1: Normal air permeability values (e.g. for a
naturally ventilated office, assume 7.0 m3/m2/hr @50Pa)
Thermal Bridging
Factor
Heating System
Efficiency
Permeability test must be carried out by individual with
required accreditation (equivalent to NSAI air tightness
testing scheme) on final building once construction is
complete. This measured value is used in the final BER. If
test not carried out on final building, then iSBEM
defaults apply.
- Specification/ Drawing stating the building will
conform with ‘‘Limiting Thermal Bridging and Air
Infiltration - Acceptable Construction Details’’ and
- For a provisional BER for a building that proposes to
conform with ‘‘Limiting Thermal Bridging and Air
Infiltration - Acceptable Construction Details’’ Assessor
must provide the relevant drawings clearly showing the
relevant details. These drawings should be signed off by
the developer/builder, site engineer or architect
confirming that the uncompleted building shall be built
to these details.
Or
Certified PSI values and associated drawings etc.
- Specification/ Drawing detailing proposed heating
system and
- Efficiency of Heating System based on relevant
standards and
- Calculation of Seasonal Efficiency based on Non
Domestic Building Services Compliance Guide
- Specification/ Drawing stating the
building will conform with ‘‘Limiting
Thermal Bridging and Air Infiltration Acceptable Construction Details’’ with no
details provided.
- Thermal bridging PSI values based on
uncertified calculations
Specification/ Drawing stating that the
boiler efficiency shall be X%.
8 iSBEM software: Updating Project Files
BER assessors should be aware that when converting a project created in a previous version of the
iSBEM software to a current version of the software, it is their responsibility to check that all input
data is an accurate representation of the building.
Assessors should be aware that defaults may vary between software versions and the published
assessment should be based on the defaults applicable at time of BER publication. The following
provides one such example.
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Non Domestic BER Assessors –Technical Bulletin January 2012
Example
The following shows a default wall element created in Version 3.5.a of the software:
The U value is 0.44 for the cast in-situ concrete construction from 1992.
When this was converted into the current version of the software Version 3.5.b, the data is entered
in “Introduce my own values” with the same U value and Km value as the original software, as
follows:
The U value and Km figures are copied to match Version 3.5.a, however when the default is selected
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Non Domestic BER Assessors –Technical Bulletin January 2012
for this version of the software the U value changes to 0.45:
9 Quality Assurance – Quality of Photographic Evidence
BER Auditors have encountered photographic documentary evidence that has been submitted as
part of a Quality Assurance check that is unacceptable.
As described in the NEAP Survey Guide, “BER Assessors should endeavour to gather as much data,
photographs and supporting evidence as possible to increase the likelihood of an accurate survey
and assessment which will stand up to auditing by SEAI.”.
Issues have arisen during BER Audits regarding the quality of photographs taken by Assessors.
Recurring problems include:
 blurred photographs – due to camera movement;
 underexposed photographs – particularly photos in poorly lit area’s such as boiler room
when the flash has either not been used or used incorrectly;
 poorly focused photographs – caused by not giving the camera time to focus, not having
sufficient distance between camera and object, or, misuse of the camera’s macro function.
This applies particularly to pictures of nameplates on boilers, heating systems, etc.
If an Auditor cannot make a clear appraisal of a photograph for reasons such as the issues
mentioned above, or for any other reason, then the Assessor may be liable to disciplinary sanction
under the BER QA scheme.
In order to minimise the likelihood of any problems occurring the Assessor is encouraged to read
the camera’s manual to gain a full understanding of how the camera works, paying particular
attention to the use of flash, macro and focus.
The following simple tips should also be adhered to:
 hold the camera steady;
 give the camera time to focus;
 for close-up shots, the camera’s macro function may take several seconds to gain correct
focus;
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Non Domestic BER Assessors –Technical Bulletin January 2012



use the flash in poorly lit spaces (the camera’s auto-flash setting will do this automatically,
generally with good results);
when using the flash on a object several metres away try to ensure there are no objects in
the foreground as this can affect the focus and/or over-expose the photograph;
check the photograph and if it is not of sufficient quality re-take the photograph.
In responding to audit requests, all photographs must be labelled and the audit request should
reference the specific photo/photographs as part of the response. In some cases, BER Assessors may
wish to compress photographs to a smaller file size as smaller documents are easier to transmit by
email. This is acceptable provided the photograph remains clear.
The following example demonstrates an example of a typical audit request and the photographic
evidence required to show compliance.
Audit Request
Lighting - Occupancy Control
Please provide copies of As Built lighting specification
and drawings/ Technical Data Sheets/ Photos to show
compliance with Section 7.6.8 of the iSBEM User Guide
Please provide details of how the following data was
determined:
Type of Control (Auto On-Off etc)
Parasitic Power for Occupancy controls
Refer to iSBEM User Guide Section 3.2 and NEAP Survey
Guide for guidance on the documentary evidence
required.
Assessors Response
Please refer to the following attached
documentation;
-
Room Survey Form
Room Layout Drawings
Photographs
Img005
Img010
Img120
Example
(i) A BER assessor demonstrating the lighting type and presence of lighting control in a zone
should provide a photograph that clearly shows them, as shown below:
(ii) A BER assessor demonstrating the heating generator type should ensure that any text is
visible in the photo:
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Non Domestic BER Assessors –Technical Bulletin January 2012
Unacceptable Photo
Acceptable Photo
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