BBA launches competency scheme

Published:  25 January, 2012

LONDON: The British Board of Agrement (BBA) has launched a new, voluntary, calculation competency scheme.

The U-value and Condensation Risk Calculation Competency scheme, devised in association with the Thermal Insulation Manufacturers and Suppliers Association (TIMSA), includes key insulation players Kingspan, Knauf, Recticel, Rockwool and SIG with the backing of two of the premier U-value software providers, JPA and BuildDesk.

Members must demonstrate appropriate technical competency and in-house procedural controls to ensure their declared calculations are reasonable.

Assessment consists of:

  • Screening: an initial screening, based on sample calculations designed to explore understanding of the underlying principles of BR 443 and BS EN ISO 6946
  • Office inspection
  • Certification: issue of a Certificate to the company that employs the Competent Person(s), defining the individual area of competency
  • Ongoing surveillance

SAP calculations and U-value claims and counter-claims are now commonplace in the industry but the accuracy can sometimes vary. A research report produced for Energy Efficiency Partnership for Housing (EEPH) and the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) in 2009 'Research into Compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations for New Homes' highlighted that SAP assessors are often provided with incorrect, incomplete or contradictory design information, with the most common offender being U-values.

This leads to the strong likelihood that the carbon emissions calculated under SAP may not be correct and the affected designs may not be compliant with Building Regulations.

BBA chief executive Greg Cooper said: "We need to make certain that emission rates are calculated correctly and there is not much hope of that if the input cannot be trusted.

"There is therefore a need to provide accurate, objective and consistent U-value and condensation risk calculations and the scheme has been introduced to ensure that reliable information is provided to building control, specifiers, energy assessors and anyone else interested in reliable thermal data."

The scheme is open to non-TIMSA members as well as anyone seeking the reassurance of a rigorous and ongoing independent assessment process.

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