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Rugby goals: EVORA EDGE appointed by Wasps to improve energy efficiency

EVORA EDGE has been appointed to provide energy and sustainability consultancy services to Wasps Rugby Club. The remit covers a wide portfolio of buildings from the iconic 32,609 seater Ricoh Arena stadium to a large exhibition hall, hotel and casino.

This is an exciting opportunity as Wasps are looking to set ambitious targets in terms of their energy consumption.

EVORA EDGE will also be advising them on a range of strategic actions to ensure energy management is at the forefront of their operational and day-to-day decision making. They have already committed to a combined heat and power generation scheme for the stadium.

Combined heat and power (CHP) systems are highly efficient because they capture and utilise the heat that is a by-product of the electricity generation process. By generating heat and power simultaneously, CHP can reduce carbon emissions by up to 30% compared to the separate means of conventional generation via a boiler and power station.

Wasps Managing Director Stuart Cain says the rugby club is committed to reducing its carbon footprint year on year.

“We’d like it to  see a 10% reduction in energy usage over the next year and are looking to set an ambitious carbon footprint reduction target of 30% by 2030, we’re really pleased to be working with EVORA on this strategy and are investigating a range of other measures to increase our overall sustainability as a business.”

The Wasps Rugby Club is one of the largest in Europe and has turned the Ricoh Arena into an award-winning venue visited by over 1 million people each year and hosting global artists such as the Spice Girls, Bon Jovi, Coldplay and Rihanna.

If you are interested in understanding how a CHP system could reduce your energy costs contact EVORA EDGE on info@evoraedge.com or phone on +44 (0)1743 341903.

Chillers and record breaking heat

It seems appropriate that EVORA EDGE spent the hottest day of the year so far (the hottest day on record in some parts of the country) co-ordinating the replacement of a chiller on the roof of a multi-storey office in Birmingham.

Chillers are guaranteed to cause facilities managers problems during heatwaves. This is because they are complex pieces of equipment which are difficult to maintain properly, expensive to replace and run and, unlike heating, usually only needed for a small amount of time each year in the UK. The temptation is always to push chillers down the priority list in any planned preventative maintenance schedule.

Yet in those weeks when the mercury soars, chillers become the only piece of equipment in a building that matters. If they are old, or poorly maintained, they will not cope with such sudden spikes in temperatures as we saw last week.

It is not unheard of for large office buildings to have to be evacuated because chillers have buckled under the pressure when temperatures hit 30°C. Such incidents are not popular amongst tenants.

In the building in Birmingham, the air-cooled chiller had failed repeatedly over the course of the year.

The decision to replace it had already been made but it takes months to co-ordinate chiller replacements. It requires the preparation of detailed specifications, designs and the running of tender processes. It also needs careful project management to ensure equipment delivery times, permissions and road closures for crane lifts are all co-ordinated so they seamlessly fit together and keep disruption to a minimum. Schedules cannot be changed to fit weather forecasts.

EVORA EDGE’s Operations Director, Neil Dady explains: “Although we still had one operational chiller serving the building we knew that any high temperatures would cause problems and potential failures in the air-conditioning.

“The replacement was scheduled for July. As we watched the temperature soaring in mid-July the project team had to swiftly come up with a contingency plan. We provided temporary cooling and used the fresh air handling units to deliver cooler air overnight while extending plant operating times.”

The pressure was on the appointed contractor S&G Air Conditioning Contracts to ensure the replacement did not overrun and the new chiller was able to be commissioned swiftly.

In the end it all worked like clockwork and the new chiller was quickly in operation. The facilities manager and all those working inside the building can now watch future summer weather forecasts with calm equanimity.

Do heat waves cause problems in your building? Contact EVORA EDGE for detailed audits and risk assessments of equipment as well as project management of chiller replacements on info@evoraedge.com or phone on +44 (0)1743 341903.

Fire dampers: still a key risk for commercial buildings despite Grenfell disaster

One of the biggest risk areas we see, when EDGE carry out audits of planned preventative maintenance work on large commercial buildings, is a failure to regularly test and maintain fire and smoke dampers.

This seems strange given the Grenfell Tower disaster should have focused the minds of all property managers and landlords on the measures they need to take to stop fires occurring.

The subsequent inquiry raised question marks over whether the smoke dampers in Grenfell Tower failed, which may have contributed to thick smoke filling common areas hindering rescue attempts.

Fire safety is one of those areas often treated as a tickbox requirement by facilities managers, yet its importance cannot be understated, given the potentially horrific outcome when a fire takes hold in a tall, closed, commercial building filled with lots of office workers.

Dampers are essential to stopping the spread of fire and smoke. They are installed in the ducts of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and will automatically close on detection of heat or smoke (depending on their purpose). This prevents fire and smoke from spreading, via the ductwork, to the rest of the building.

The exclusion of ventilation ductwork in planned preventative maintenance (PPM) programmes is a common occurrence and fire damper testing is often no more than a visual inspection. It is not uncommon for fire dampers to have been poorly installed and poor testing regimes mean this may never be discovered until it is too late.

Some of the reasons why people often fail to test their fire dampers on a regular basis are because they are hidden in the ductwork, it can be difficult to gain access and testing can be a time-consuming process.

But failure to meet the testing regime stipulated under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2015 in England and Wales (as well as Scottish and Northern Irish Fire Safety Regulations) can lead to fines of up to £10,000 and two years in prison for the designated responsible person.

A prohibition notice can be issued to close a building down if the local fire officer is not satisfied that compliance with the act is being achieved.

It may also put the insurance of your building at risk as insurance companies will often require proof of damper testing when assessing claims for fire damage.

British standards in this area require 100% of fire dampers in a building to be tested at least once a year, and more frequently in ventilation systems that are at higher risk. Each damper should be drop tested and then reset to open. A full test report is required, including photographs of each tested damper in the open and dropped position. A schedule of remedial works should be included in the report.

Access panels should be installed on both sides of the damper to enable full inspection.

Fire compartmentation is another important element of ‘passive fire protection’ and is achieved by dividing the premises into ‘fire compartments’ through the use of fire-resistant doors, floors and walls and cavity barriers within roof voids, for example. A full compartmentation audit should also be carried out by a specialist risk assessor and reviewed regularly as part of maintenance schedules.

EVORA EDGE is able to create comprehensive PPM plans and audit existing PPM plans for both individual buildings and portfolios of assets. For more information contact the EDGE team on 01743 341903 or email info@evoraedge.com

Solar power: still a viable option following the closure of the feed-in tariff

There have been widespread predictions that green energy technologies, such as solar and wind power, would not be able to survive the government’s closure of the feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme for small scale renewables at the end of March this year.

For many suppliers, this has certainly been the case. The number of registered solar installers, which blossomed to 6500 by 2014, is now less than 1000 in May 2019 – equating to just a few hundred companies.

But for those who have managed to hang in there, the signs are that this tariff-free future could, in fact, herald a new golden age of solar photo-voltaics (PV) without the hindrance of continual FiT deadlines.

The great gamble by the government seems to have paid off and the material prices for PV have now reduced significantly to the point where, so long as the generated solar power is used within the building where the system is installed, small/medium scale commercial solar PV systems do not need a feed-in tariff to be viable.

Four years ago the cost of a 50kw PV system was in the region of £65,000. The same system, including design, structural engineers report, mechanical and electrical (M&E) support and the installation itself, is now circa £40,000. Whether the building owner consumes all of that power themselves or the same is sold to the tenant on a competitive power purchase agreement of 12p per kWh, the investment rate of return (IRR) can be expected in the region of +12%. That does not take into consideration the annual increases to the cost of electricity which would boost this return still further.

Even if the system owner opts for a full life-time operating and maintenance package, the IRR is still in the region of 8%, which provides a very healthy return on investment, given system lifetimes are well over 35 years currently.

On top of this, PV still delivers on its initial promise of reducing carbon dioxide, with a 50kw system saving more than 20 tonnes of carbon emissions per year compared to existing electrical consumption.

With the government signalling that climate change targets are likely to get even more challenging, commercial building owners can once again look at PV as a well proven, low impact method of generating green energy, as well as a very profitable investment.

EVORA EDGE has experience in installing and managing PV systems in commercial buildings. For more information have a look at our case study where we identified suitable sites, negotiated with occupiers and managed the installation of systems for a large investment fund.

Contact Andrew Cooper on acooper@evoraglobal.com or 01743 341 903

Health and Safety: The legal risks of ignoring it on small projects

Despite having been introduced four years ago, there is still limited understanding in the building services sector of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM 2015) and the new obligations it has placed on building owners.

The 2015 regulations switched the balance of responsibility for health and safety from a CDM co-ordinator (a role which has now been abolished) to those paying for the works (ie clients). This places direct responsibility on property owners and landlords.

Anyone who has any kind of construction work carried out for them is considered ‘clients’ and are held legally responsible for ensuring every project, undertaken on their behalf, is suitably managed and ensures the health and safety of all those engaged on the project, as well as the members of the public.

CDM 2015 applies in every circumstance, whether it is a category A or B refurbishment or even just the ongoing maintenance of facilities, including remedial repair works.

A refurbishment project doesn’t have to involve any structural changes for CDM to apply. In short, CDM applies to every aspect of works being carried out on a property.

The fines for non-compliance are unlimited and directors can be jailed.

As an example, in 2016 a construction company was removing a roller shutter door on the boundary of a site and in the process, the door fell onto the pavement and badly damaged a market stall. The principal contractor was fined £45K for a CDM breach after the HSE’s investigation found:

  • there was no risk assessment for the task of removing the roller shutter door
  • the site manager was not on site when the incident occurred meaning there was no supervision of the workers
  • the site issues could have been rectified by appropriately planning, managing and monitoring the construction work.

It’s also worth remembering that the obligations apply to the design stage of works as well as actual construction. In fact, the creation of a ‘principal designer’ role in the regulations is supposed to ensure health and safety planning is an integral part of the design stage.


So who is responsible for what under CDM 2015?

Virtually everyone involved in a construction project has legal duties which can be defined as follows:

  • Client– Anyone who has construction work carried out for them. The main duty for clients is to make sure their project is suitably managed, ensuring the health and safety of all who might be affected by the work, including members of the public.
  • Principal designer – A designer appointed by the client to control the pre-construction phase on projects with more than one contractor. The principal designer’s main duty is to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety during this phase when most design work is carried out.
  • Designer – An organisation or individual whose work involves preparing or modifying designs, drawings, specifications, bills of quantity or design calculations. Designers can be architects, consulting engineers and quantity surveyors, or anyone who specifies and alters designs as part of their work.  They can also include tradespeople if they carry out design work. The designer’s main duty is to eliminate, reduce or control foreseeable risks that may arise during construction work, or in the use and maintenance of the building once built. Designers work under the control of a principal designer on projects with more than one contractor.
  • Principal contractor – A contractor appointed by the client to manage the construction phase on projects with more than one contractor. The principal contractor’s main duty is to plan, manage, monitor and coordinate health and safety during this phase when all construction work takes place.
  • Contractor – An individual or business in charge of carrying out construction work (e.g. building, altering, maintaining or demolishing). Anyone who manages this work or directly employs or engages construction workers is a contractor. Their main duty is to plan, manage and monitor the work under their control in a way that ensures the health and safety of anyone it might affect (including members of the public). Contractors work under the control of the principal contractor on projects with more than one contractor.
  • Worker – An individual who carries out the work involved in building, altering, maintaining or demolishing buildings or structures. Workers include plumbers, electricians, scaffolders, painters, decorators, steel erectors and labourers, as well as supervisors like foremen and chargehands. Their duties include cooperating with their employer and other duty holders, reporting anything they see that might endanger the health and safety of themselves or others. Workers must be consulted on matters affecting their health, safety and welfare.

Architects and engineers are often reluctant to take on the role of principal designer under the regulations because of a lack of expertise in the area of health and safety. At EVORA EDGE we are skilled mechanical, electrical and public health consultants able to take on the principal designer role and ensure health and safety is an integral part of all planned and designed works.

Take a look at our work acting in the principal designer role during the implementation of a large scale photovoltaic installation across multiple buildings in the UK, here.

For more information on how EVORA EDGE might be able to help you please contact Sadie Hopkins (0)1743 341903 or shopkins@evoraglobal.com

Soft Landings: Better Buildings, Better Real Estate

One topic I am very passionate about is that of ensuring that the buildings we build and operate are fit for purpose. In my mind, this means providing users with an environment to deliver their work in sustainable, efficient buildings that do not impact their wellbeing. For building owners, it is about ‘getting what you paid for’ in terms of efficient design that leads to sustainable operation.

We often find that existing buildings do not operate as they should / could due to age, refurbishment changes, historical maintenance practices and/or BMS set up. This may be shown through high energy consumption, plant equipment impacting asset performance as well as substandard occupant wellbeing and comfort.

Reasons why this is happening need to be understood so that we can adapt and learn for future situations, and in particular, refurbishments. The existing building stock isn’t going anywhere and refurbishments within these properties is going to be important in delivering both sustainability performance (including those aligned with Paris targets) and occupier wellbeing.


Soft Landings – bridging the gap from design to operation

A tool that addresses these issues is Soft Landings. I hear many people refer to Soft Landings as commissioning and handover. This is a misconception. These are critical components of implementing Soft Landings, but it is much more than that. It’s a mindset and approach that should begin at project inception and embed through the whole building’s life cycle. Bridging the gap from design to operation is essential to ensure the building delivers as intended for the end user.

By thinking about the end use at the outset, measurable KPI’s can be established along with roles, responsibilities and ownership. These KPI’s can be championed throughout, with agreed reviews and meetings to understand changes, manage re-occurring problems and capturing the required information to ensure a smooth hand over and aftercare in those early stages of occupancy. Communication and engagement are critical and must play an integral part to ensure information is shared at the right time and interpretation for all level of users is provided where required.

The BSRIA Soft Landings stages and how they align with the RIBA Plan of Work are shown in the diagram below.

Source: BSRIA Soft Landings Framework 2018 (View full-size Soft Landings Map)

BSRIA Soft Landings Map

Adopting this approach, I believe is a firm step forward in addressing the challenges faced across the built environment. Having honest discussions around what works and why things have gone wrong helps us to build and manage better buildings. This, in turn, helps move towards a sustainable built environment to ensure the real estate industry mitigates its climate change impacts.

It’s not a perfect world and things can go wrong during any stage of a project. Soft Landings is not a silver bullet to solve this.  However, it does help identify why and how a problem occurred, providing context and understanding. This is then built into ‘lessons learned’ to improve future project delivery. This in itself is a success story and requires an open approach to project delivery and building operation.


A framework approach

Where possible, Soft Landings should be fully embedded and deployed throughout the project. Not applying the framework in its entirety increases the risk of operational problems, user issues and/or failure in sustainable operation further down the line.

EVORA & EVORA EDGE recognise that this is difficult across many situations. In order to establish the vision of ‘delivering better buildings’, we can support our clients in navigating through the six phases of Soft Landings through the following ways:

Phase 0 & 1:

  • Act as the nominated ‘Soft Landings Champion’ on behalf of the client.
  • Carry out surveys of existing building to help support key project decisions and KPI’s.
  • Define ESG / sustainability objectives, targets, KPIs and responsibilities

Phases 2 to 4:

  • Co-ordinating and managing the Soft Landings ‘Gateway’ meetings.
  • Providing concept and technical design input to support and advice with regards to building services.
  • Ensuring data capture infrastructure is in place e.g. meters and sensors.

Phase 5:

  • Facilitating engagement with Stakeholders to identify solutions to impacts on occupant satisfaction and sustainability performance.
  • Co-ordinating with the project and operational teams to establish building user guides.

Phase 6 & 7:

  • Develop aftercare programmes, including building analytics and utility performance to support ongoing KPIs and performance measurement.
  • Conduct Post Occupancy Evaluation surveys
  • Providing BREEAM In Use, RESET & Fitwel assessments and certification.
  • Providing technical reviews on building system issues to fine tune performance.

Get in touch with our experts if you’d like to hear more about Soft Landings

London Plan: Generating your own electricity in London just became less attractive

The London Plan, which dictates all planning and development in the capital, is currently undergoing a major rewrite but many in the sector are unaware that some significant changes and adjustments have already come into force.

In October last year, the Greater London Authority (GLA) published updated Energy Assessment Guidance which applies from January this year and directly impacts on developers. All new planning submissions in London are now ‘encouraged’ to use the new emissions factors detailed in the government’s latest Standard Assessment Procedure for Building Regulations (known as SAP10) alongside PART L 2013.

This is a highly unusual step for GLA to have taken, given SAP10 has yet to be incorporated into official building regulations. The government is not due to consult on new Part L regulations until Spring this year so the new emissions factors are unlikely to be made law until the latter part of the year at the earliest.

However, the GLA guidance states that any energy assessments which do not use SAP10 will be expected to provide a justification as to why not and presumably this will be a consideration in planning approval.


The reason behind this policy change is England’s rapid decarbonisation of the National Grid which has seen the amount of electricity sourced from wind and solar technologies increase year on year, while at the same time there is a move away from coal fired generation to gas fired generation.

The GLA believe the new SAP10 factors more accurately reflect actual carbon emissions as the electricity emissions factor in SAP10 is now 55% lower than that specified in PART L 2013. As a result, generating electricity onsite, by using combined heat and power engines (CHP) and/or photovoltaic solar energy systems, are no longer as attractive to London planners as previously.

Additionally, district heat networks using gas-engine CHPs are unlikely to be favoured because of concerns about the impact on air quality, which has become a high-profile issue in London.

The guidance makes it clear that applicants will be expected to use other low carbon technologies such as heat pumps. Ground source heat pumps are generally deemed more efficient than air source heat pumps, depending on ground conditions.

In practical terms, any PART L 2013 compliance should be accompanied by a separate spreadsheet document, supplied by the Greater London Authority (GLA), that translates energy consumption to SAP10 carbon emissions.


The changes, detailed in the GLA’s Energy Assessment Guidance, affect both residential and non-residential applications referred to the Mayor of London from January this year including:

  • Developments of 150 residential units or more
  • Development over 30 metres in height (outside the City of London)
  • Development on Green Belt or Metropolitan Open Land

Applications for commercial developments also need to show at least a further 35% reduction in carbon emissions on top of those specified in PART L of Building Regulations 2013. However, the Mayor has already said that he intends to introduce zero carbon emissions for commercial developments in the final version of the London Plan which will be published later this year.

Domestic residential developments are already required to achieve zero carbon emissions. However, if this is not feasible or viable then developers must show how they will reduce emissions on-site by a minimum of 35% on top of those specified in Part L. The remainder of the target needs to be met via carbon-offsetting either elsewhere in London (for example photovoltaic panels on a local school) or by contributing a carbon offset payment.


EVORA EDGE can help the success of planning submissions in London by modelling and testing how such ambitious targets could be achieved using sophisticated, dynamic simulation software both for passive design (such as fabric improvements and shading strategies) and active design (mechanical systems and lighting).

If you would like to discuss further please email Erieta Dimitriou edimitriou@evoraglobal.com or call on 07538141399 for further information.

Gaining an EDGE: Engineering and building physics services

At EVORA we know from long experience there is a huge amount of unlocked potential in existing commercial buildings. But we see time and again how the realisation of that potential is so often obstructed by the long and complicated supply chains involved.

That’s why we set up EVORA EDGE, our engineering and building physics team which, in just over two years, has grown to a team of six with further expansion planned this year.

EVORA EDGE allows us to deliver an end-to-end service and provides a solution to the often negative impact that mechanical and electrical teams (M&E) can have on achieving successful sustainability policies.

Traditionally, fund managers will appoint asset managers, who appoint property managers, who appoint M&E consultants, who support the appointment and policing of M&E contractors. This is a long supply chain – from the technical specialists to the decision makers. Unfortunately, in many cases, translation of the technical expertise gets lost along the way.

In our experience, M&E consultants often simply respond to requests at an individual building level, without stopping to think, evaluate and advise on where and how long-term value can be also be added through the day-to-day running and management of a building and portfolio.

The addition of EVORA EDGE to our service seeks to change this. We believe we can better target cost-effectiveness, standardisation and open up opportunities to better support asset improvement in both the short and long-term.

We believe we can better target cost-effectiveness, standardisation and open up opportunities to better support asset improvement in both the short and long-term.

We like to think outside the box.  Whilst we offer standard MEP services, we also believe M&E consultancy teams can offer greater value. We deliver all of the following:

  • Procurement support for M&E contractors
  • Development of M&E replacement plans
  • Project management
  • M&E consulting – the policing role

But we also aim to identify improvements that fit into asset management plans, support client sustainability initiatives and ultimately help protect and enhance asset value for the long-term.

Take a look at some of our case studies and see how the EDGE team might be able to help. For more information contact the EDGE team on 01743 341903 or email info@evoraedge.com


Case studies

  1. Ambitious CO² reduction policy for UK local authority Guildford Borough Council
  2. Sophisticated building modelling reduces overall energy consumption at Broad Quay House
  3. PV systems achieve internal rates of return (IRR) in excess of 6% per building for Aberdeen Standard Investments
  4. Modelling software identifies cost-effective measures for energy efficient refurbishment at Regents House

Do you know how to assess the financial risks related to climate change on your business?

It is becoming increasingly difficult to separate climate related risk from the conventional view of financial risk.

So how do you assess the financial risks related to climate change?

Unpredictable weather patterns across the world can influence everything from food prices, health costs, retail clothing sales patterns as well as how effective and efficient our buildings are at being comfortable places to live and work in.
This has been acknowledged globally by G20 finance ministers and Central Bank governors who tasked the Financial Stability Board (FSB) with helping various stakeholders such as investors, lenders, and insurers – identify, quantify and report on climate-related financial risks.


The FSB, an international body that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system includes members such as Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England and representatives from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

Its taskforce released a series of recommendations (Recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, Bloomberg, 2017) structured around four thematic areas: governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets.

Financial risks related to climate change – Scenario Analysis

A key element of the report is that organisations should use scenario analysis to assess potential financial implications of climate-related risks and opportunities and disclose those in their financial filings.

Organisations are encouraged to select a set of scenarios to include a global warming potential of 2°C and potentially 2 more global warming scenarios across different timelines.

Real Estate

One sector that is particularly at risk from climate change is the real estate sector. Energy consumption and asset resilience are key elements for the sector which can be directly and linearly related to climate conditions.

Increasingly real estate investors are wanting more information and data on sustainability and its predicted influence on property value and sector decision making.

Building Information Modelling for Strategic Asset Management (BIM:SAM) Modelling

EVORA EDGE (EDGE) has pioneered the use of energy models for strategic asset management purposes. Using CIBSE future weather data, EDGE can literally simulate and stress test building performance and building resilience in a virtual environment across 3 or 4 climate change scenarios. Using leading software, we can create financial models around building capital and life cycle costs within the energy model.

This 3-D digital modelling technique, which we call BIM:SAM (see below), enables our clients to identify climate related risk over the short, medium and long term. And this enables both the optimisation of existing building use as well as future-proofing.

This same model can be used to manage EPC MEES risk and can be transferred with the property creating a digital passport for the lifetime of the building.


What is BIM:SAM?

EVORA BIM-SAM Logo TM

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure.

Strategic Asset Management (SAM) involves the balancing of costs, opportunities and risks against the desired performance of assets.

 


To speak to our EDGE Technical Engineering division, please contact us.

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