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Are SAP, SAP10 and SAP10.1 the same thing?

16 Jan 2020


In this series of articles, we aim to answer some of your questions about the upcoming changes to Approved Documents L and F, SAP methodology and the Future Homes Standard.

Current proposals suggest these regulations will be coming into force in England and Wales from October 2020. Contact us with your own questions about the regulation changes, or to discuss our training seminars and workshops.


Are SAP, SAP10 and SAP10.1 the same thing, and if not, what’s the difference?

They are different in the way that Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 10 are different, but ultimately do the same thing.

If you’re involved with the design and performance of new homes, you will be familiar with the SAP calculation, the Energy Performance Certificate, and what’s required to produce compliance reports.

You need to prove to Building Control that your dwelling passes the SAP. In other words, it has been designed to produce lower levels of carbon emissions than the target.

We use SAP methodology to confirm this. Or to give it it’s full name: SAP2012. Historically SAP has been rewritten every few years to keep the maths up to date with latest research and building practices. Simultaneously, Building Regulations have also been modified to push us towards building greener homes.

As we’ve not seen any changes to the Building Regulations recently, the same version of SAP (2012) is still in use despite being quite out of date.

But the authors (BRE) have been writing new versions of SAP in this time:

SAP2016 was published in preparation for a Building Regulations change that never happened. This version of SAP never made it past the first hurdle and was scrapped.

SAP10 was released as a draft in 2018. Note the name has changed from the year it was written to a version number. SAP10 also failed to make it into Building Regulations, however some local planning authorities now ask developers to use SAP10 emission factors as part of their planning submission.

This unprecedented move is to ensure developments going through planning stage are designed in preparation for the new Approved Document Part L which is going to treat sites using electric heating systems – especially heat pumps – more favourably.

SAP10.1 is the most recent version, and was released alongside the Government’s proposed changes to Part L. This version of SAP is being used to help designers plan their new housing specification in readiness for the new regulations but can’t be used in any official capacity.

Later this year we will see SAP10.2. This will be the final version used alongside the new Building Regulations. This version won’t be miles apart from 10.1 – just with a few small updates.

So which SAP is right for you?

If you are at Building Control stage, use SAP2012.

If you are keen to learn how your usual building methods will shape up against the proposed changes, use SAP10.1.

If you are in planning and the authority ask for you to consider SAP10 as part of your Energy Statement, you need to use SAP2012, but substitute in SAP10 emission factors.

Energist’s Technical Team can help with all situations, so if you need a SAP calculation and you’re not sure which version is right for you, get in touch for more information.

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