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New Part L Qualitative Photographic Evidencing

Developers and builders are now required to record qualitative photographic evidence of the as built construction and provide these to the energy assessor and building control body. Appendix B Part L 2021 detail the specific requirements of the evidence required. We explain below what this means and how you can stay ahead of the requirements to ensure your project run smoothly for design to completion.

Whats New?

The requirement for photographic evidence is to ensure the as built construction truly reflects that of the design stage SAP calculation and helps to ensure the quality and installation for many of the buildings fabric and services are in accordance with best practice and the assumed performance.

Additionally, it's now a requirement for an audit of the as built construction photos to be conducted by the energy assessor to prior to the production of the EPC and BREL output compliance report. Both of which are required by the Building Control Body for final completion sign off.

What Needs To Be Photographed?

Section B7 of Part L1 2021 require the following:-

Photographs should be taken of typical details as listed below and should be unique to each property. One photograph per detail should be recorded. Additional images, such as a closeup detail, should be provided only when necessary (see below). Photographs should be taken at appropriate construction stages for each detail when completed, but prior to closing-up works.

1. Foundations/substructure and ground floor, to show thermal continuity and quality of insulation in the following places.

a. At ground floor perimeter edge insulation.

b. At external door threshold.

c. Below damp-proof course on external walls.

2. External walls: for each main wall type, to show thermal continuity and quality of insulation for the following.

a. Ground floor to wall junction.

b. Structural penetrating elements.

3. Roof: for each main roof type, to show thermal continuity and quality of insulation at the following.

a. Joist/rafter level.

b. Eaves and gable edges.

4. Openings: for each opening type (one image per wall or roof type is sufficient), to show thermal continuity and quality of insulation with photographs of the following.

a. Window positioning in relation to cavity closer or insulation line.

b. External doorset positioning in relation to cavity closer or insulation line

5. Airtightness: additional photographs for all details 1–4 to show airtightness details (only if not included or visible in continuity of insulation image).

6. Building services: for all plant associated with space heating, hot water, ventilation and low or zero carbon technology equipment within or on the building, show the following.

a. Plant/equipment identification label(s), including make/model and serial number.

b. Primary pipework continuity of insulation.

c. Mechanical ventilation ductwork continuity of insulation (for duct sections outside the thermal envelope).

How Should The Photos Be Recorded?

Section B8 of Part L1 2021 require the following:-

Photographs should be digital and of sufficient quality and high enough resolution to allow a qualitative audit of the subject detail. Close-up photographs may be needed where a long shot image provides insufficient detail. More than one image of each detail may be needed. Geolocation should be enabled to confirm the location, date and time of each image. Each image file name should include a plot number and detail reference according to the numbers used in paragraph B7. For example, Plot 1 eaves detail would be P1/3b.

We recommend that a schedule and checklist is provided to all site management staff to ensure evidence is collected at the correct stage of the build prior to works proceeding to ensure photos are easily recorded. Failure to do so may result needing to deconstruction works and could result in the non-compliance with the BREL report. This BREL report is required by the building control body during final sign off and completion.

Getting Ready?

Site managers need to understand the importance of the evidence required and what, how and when these photos are required. Developers and builders should integrate into the site programme and their quality management systems a system of recording photos and inspections during the construction works at the relevant stage depending on the type and method of construction and fit out.

Additionally, the digital storage of photos is important to ensure they are safely stored and correctly labelled. We recommend photos are regularly backed up to a cloud or 2nd storage device.

Ensure the camera device is capable of embedding geo-location, time and date directly into the photo. This will help both the energy assessor and building control body identify the photos relevance to the project. Photos need to be stored and labelled so the filename correctly identifies the plot and construction stage/detail. Failure to do so will result in additional charges from your energy assessor for collating, processing and preparing the evidence for Building Control submission and EPC production.

We recommend practicing in advance using your proposed systems and devices to iron out any potential problems prior to any live projects under the 2021 regulations.

How We Can Help

We are preparing detailed evidence checklists for standard and typical construction methods to help aid developers and builders during construction. These will be available to purchase in our online shop. Due to the variable nature of construction we are developing these to be generic whilst as detailed as possible to cover most construction types. Once these are complete we'll up date our members via email, so ensure you are signed up to our members area.

Our SAP software provider is currently developing a online portal system to work alongside they new SAP10 software to enable site photos to be directly uploaded into a safe cloud based system. Once the online portal system is available it will help streamline the evidencing for developers and builders.

Want To Know More About The Other Important Changes To The 2021 Regulations?

To see all our guidance articles on the changes to the Approved Documents 2021, make sure your visit our 2021 Buildings Regulations page.

Stay Up To Date

With some many changes as a result of the New Part L, Part F and Part O, make sure you join our members area so every time we release a new guidance article it goes straight into your email inbox. Sign up now and join here.

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