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Your Essential Guide to SAP Assessments: Your Top Questions Answered

SAP assessments are assessments that take measurements of the energy performance of new structures, extensions, and conversions in the UK, and they are essential under Building Regulations. New structures and homes need to undergo a SAP assessment, so if you are a developer or contractor or have been involved in the construction of a new dwelling or building in the past, then you may already be familiar with the SAP assessment and how it is carried out – and why. But if you are involved in a building and construction project for the first time, you may not be entirely familiar with the SAP assessment and how it is performed, why it is done, who does it, where it is done, and so on. Here, then, is your essential guide to SAP assessments: your top questions answered.

The basics of SAP assessments

A SAP assessment is an acronym for Standard Assessment Procedure, and it is a series of reports which will reflect a building or structure's energy efficiency. Under Building Regulations, new dwelling places or structures require a SAP assessment, although a SAP assessment may be different from another assessment you may also have heard of, the EPC. The EPC or energy performance certificate is a particular document that is required under the law for the buying, selling, or renting of a piece of property in the United Kingdom. A SAP assessment will also include an energy performance certificate or EPC, but it also takes into account a lot of other important factors. Thus, the SAP assessment is more in-depth and comprehensive compared to just a regular EPC.

The assessment’s top considerations

A SAP assessment takes into account a number of factors, as already mentioned, and the assessment consists of four basic elements: the fabric and structure of a building (which includes insulation, among other things), the building’s hot water and heating systems, the building’s lighting, and the building’s generation of renewable energy (such as wind turbines, solar panels, etc.).

The requirements for a SAP assessment

A SAP assessment has different documentation and informational requirements, which include the full address as well as postcode, floor plans, elevation drawings for each level or elevation, and sectional drawings. You may also be asked to provide supporting documentation for construction and lighting; windows, doors, and roof lights; accreditation details; ventilation and heating systems; cooling and hot water systems; and any systems that run on renewable energy.

How it is carried out and performed

Unlike the standard EPC, the SAP assessment can be performed and carried out by the assessor without a visit to the property. This may be a bit confusing because a SAP assessment is actually more in-depth compared to an EPC, but since you are submitting a whole range of documents for the assessment, this is often enough for the report to be done without a site visit.

There are different stages comprising a SAP assessment, and some of the stages involve the assessor inspecting floor plans and the building's dimensions as well as identifying areas with heat loss through the roofing, walls, and flooring. This allows the assessor to evaluate the building's thermal performance. There is also an air pressure test for some buildings, although the test isn't often required for smaller dwellings of two buildings or less. Your assessor may also check the building's registration on the central database of the government for national property, and this will help finalise your SAP assessment as well.
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