Putting SaaS at the heart of photographic evidence

Maria Hudson, CMO at Zutec, examines what’s new in Part L 2021 of the building regulations and how a SaaS platform can help ensure mandatory photographic evidence compliance

It was a time of change and adaptability for the construction industry, especially for home builders and developers. New and updated building regulations have come into effect in recent months, ensuring safer, better performing and greener buildings, and evolved work practices to comply with regulations.

Today, it is not only absolutely essential that home builders, developers and contractors understand what they need to do to meet standards and comply with these regulations; they also need to be ahead of the curve in terms of the adjustment period, how they make the process easy to complete, how they produce and document evidence, and how they make evidence easily accessible to anyone who needs it. see – and the right tools and processes in place.

We at Zutec have taken a look at these impending regulatory changes, focusing on photographic evidence of the improved Part L Standard (or Approved Document L 2021) or Building Regulation 40. With this regulation, all new Registered homes in England and Wales must produce 31% less CO2 emissions on the current SAP model to meet compliance.

Part L 2021 provides an interim improvement to the energy efficiency of single family homes being built in preparation for upcoming regulations such as the more stringent Future Homes and Future Building Standard in 2025. This standard will complement existing building regulations and will be the turning point in which the UK government hopes to reduce carbon emissions in new homes by 75-80%.

The requirement to capture photographic evidence to comply with Part L 2021 is mandatory. Homebuilders and developers must demonstrate that new construction and retrofitted homes are built using materials, methods and technologies that meet standards and ensure energy savings to meet targets.

Uplifted Part L 2021: What does it mean?

Many components are part of the process to make the properties more energy efficient, but the main changes to Part L 2021 include the following:

• Raising fabric insulation standards for all buildings.
• Increased energy standards for heating, hot water and ventilation systems for all buildings.
• Maximum primary energy tariff – the new standard for all buildings.
• Increased emphasis on as-built construction to reduce the performance gap between design performance and as-built performance.

As part of the above list, low-carbon heating options, improvements in fabrics and thermal insulation, and the use of new technologies such as heat pumps, cooling systems and l fixed lighting should be used to reduce fuel consumption. The measures will not only help the government meet its climate change targets, but will also tackle the problem of overheating, which will reduce expensive bills for families.

Specificities of Photographic Evidence

In order for SAP assessors to issue EPCs (Energy Performance Certificates) and the new BREL (Building Regulation England Part L Report), homebuilders will need proof of the work carried out. An on-site audit of building details and thermal elements will be required during construction and on completion for building regulation approval, including photographic evidence to confirm that all new build and refurbished accommodation is properly constructed using materials and technology that guarantee energy savings and comply with building regulations. standards.

The specific requirements for photographic evidence are described in Annex B of Part L 2021 but, in brief, photos must be taken during construction and prior to production of the EPC and BREL Release Compliance Report. These photos should be unique to each property and property detail and ensure that the as-built construction truly mirrors that of the SAP calculation of the design phase to ensure quality and installation is to best practice and assumed performance.

Each photo taken and submitted to the evaluator must be digital and have a high enough resolution to allow a qualitative audit of the subject. This means close-ups may be required, geotagging enabled to show the date, time and location of each image, and a filename to include parcel number and reference depending on the property details so that the photos are traceable.

Part L requires that all photos be taken at the appropriate stages of construction when every detail is complete and before the work closes. Additionally, technology should play a vital role, alongside a timeline and checklist provided to all site managers to ensure that sufficient photographic evidence is collected and recorded. This schedule and checklist should be a step-by-step process as construction work takes place because once work is complete on a build it is virtually impossible to go back and re-photograph without procedures. invasive.

Neglecting or omitting these requirements can be costly and expedient for the builder or developer and can mean the works have to be deconstructed and retrofitted. Failure to comply with the BREL report, which is required by the building control body for final approval of the works, also means that a property cannot be “completed” until it complies with the standards.

Building SaaS platform

A construction SaaS platform, such as Zutec, provides a common data environment to support all of your project management, review, and evidence needs. It can be integrated with a site quality management program and configured according to business needs. This is the perfect solution for taking geotagged photos from any mobile device on site, ensuring the photos match the project and location. Photos and correlated data can be centrally stored and accessed by all key stakeholders, from the home builder to the owner, as well as the SAP assessor as they inspect evidence on the road to part compliance. L 2021.

Data can be collected onsite without wi-fi and further processed, which means a place where all photographic evidence and supporting documents live. Additionally, photos can be annotated and shared with team members and inspectors at any time, meaning site managers can submit photos as they are captured so evidence can be approved or returned with comments. If the work is not up to standard, it can be corrected before construction is complete. If there are gaps in the evidence, they can be collected before completion. This speeds up the process before the release of the EPC and BREL report and avoids the time-consuming and expensive refurbishment of new homes.

A solution like Zutec can be up and running quickly and offers additional benefits, including analytics to assess evidence gaps, authenticity and audibility. So you know who captured data, when and where, improved team communications, task assignment, and the ability to close and approve installations. A tool for everything. As a fully configurable platform, it can be used for other upcoming regulations, as well as all quality management and digital transfer use cases – providing a single source of truth so manufacturers of homes can demonstrate that they are using the most effective products and materials to build safe and show homes.

The future of the L part 2021

Overall, the Part L 2021 changes will ensure that homebuilders and contractors meet higher standards as regulations become much stricter. For the construction industry, Part L 2021 is the first step towards increased quality assurance, traceability and accountability to ensure that the most efficient products and materials are used to bridge the energy efficiency gap between buildings and their performance in the real world. and the data is authentic and verifiable, which can be used for other downstream management and quality assurance purposes.

Maria Hudson

CMO

Zutec

Tel: +44 7967813429

[email protected]

www.zutec.com

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Michael E. Marquez