What Is SBEM Used For?

SBEM is short for Simplified Building Energy Model — a government scheme for deriving energy ratings. The best way to remember it is that SBEM figures form the commercial counterpart of SAP figures.

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SBEM reports:

  • Ensure that the Building Emission Rate (BER) isn’t greater than the Target Emission Rate (TER).
  • Assess the fabric of the building.
  • Assess for energy efficiency, all ventilation, heating, cooling, water heating, and permanent lighting systems.
  • Set down control measures designed to reduce solar gains in summer, thereby reducing the need to install air conditioning.
  • Ensure that steps have been taken to allow the building to function energy efficiently.

There are two formats for SBEM calculations: one covers new builds (L2A); the other deals with conversion and extension work (L2B). The most important purpose of SBEM figures is to create a BRUKL (Building Regulations Part L) report which generates a brand-new EPC, or one that has recently been updated.

What do SBEM calculations do for me?

SBEM calculations are mandatory under Part L (England & Wales), Section 6 (Scotland), and Part F1 (Northern Ireland) of Building Regulations. These are all documents relating to power and fuel conservation. SBEM calculations were introduced with the 2006 UK Building Regulations.

SBEM calculations are a prerequisite for any new or updated Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and give a property rating ranging from one to one hundred — the higher the number, the higher the efficiency. It is illegal to sell or rent out a commercial building that has no EPC.

What information goes into an SBEM?

For us to produce an SBEM report, our customer needs to provide the following information. The list is not exhaustive but it’ll give you a fair idea of what we need:

  • Floor plans
  • Elevations
  • Sections
  • Site Plans
  • Insulation type and thickness
  • U-values for all openings
  • Heating system specifications
  • Details of the method used to produce hot water
  • Lighting specifications (including lighting controls)
  • Cooling and ventilation specifications
  • Details of any renewable technologies
  • Accredited building details

It’s important not to over-simplify SBEM calculations, however. Final figures are dependent on the nature of the construction: new build, conversion, or extension. In all cases, two reports are generated — new builds require design stage and as built reports. Conversions and extensions are governed by L2B SBEM Calculations and give rise to a notional and a proposed report.

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L2A SBEM New-Build Calculations

Design Stage


  • Scrutinise and pass the property’s construction details before construction starts;
  • Use specialist SBEM software to generate a TER rate and show BER compliance; then
  • Create an assessment of predicted energy use.

As Built Report

  • On completion of the project, details of the construction are assessed afresh and final calculations are added, e.g., the designated type of boiler model.
  • The EPC derives from this report.

The Calculation of L2B SBEM (extensions and conversions)

Notional Report


    • Carry out an assessment of the construction of the whole property, in addition to the proposed extension or conversion.
    • Create a benchmarked data report.
    • Use specialist SBEM software to generate a TER rate and to prove that the building is compliant with BER regulations.

Proposed Report


  • Use benchmark data for existing components. Actual performance data are used for new or upgraded components.
  • Use specialist SBEM software to generate a TER rate and to prove that the building is compliant with BER regulations.
  • Pass the property only when its performance values are lower than benchmarked standards.
  • Also check that overall BER measurements are lower in the proposed report than in the notional report.
  • We will replace the existing EPC with a new EPC, where SBEM calculations demonstrate that all building performance values are lower in the proposed report than in the notional report.

Scheduling SBEM Calculations

Two SBEM assessments are required: one at the beginning of the building project, and another at the end. We can produce an SBEM calculation at Design and As-Built Stages.

Design Stage SBEM Calculations

Design Stage SBEM Calculations must be produced before building work starts, so you should submit an SBEM report and Building Control/ Warrant Application to a Building Control Body or Verifier (Scotland) without delay or building work cannot start.

As-Built Stage SBEM Calculation

On completion, As-Built SBEM Calculations are needed to ensure that the finished building remains compliant.

What exactly does an SBEM Calculation offer?

Commercial SBEM calculations indicate the carbon footprint of the surveyed building as required under Building Regulations Part L. These calculations demonstrate energy costs and carbon emissions resulting from the proposed design.

Changes are often made as the project progresses, in consultation with architects, developers, or customers, to make sure that the building is always in full compliance with current regulations. We recommend that you engage an official accredited consultant before committing to your final design.

Do I also need an EPC?

The short answer is yes. Post-construction — once all works have been completed according to SBEM specifications — an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is created using SBEM figures. If you have engaged us to carry your SBEM calculations, we will supply your EPC free of charge.

You can rely on us for exceptional service:

  • We can carry out SBEM calculations for projects of any size.
  • We will review all specifications and plans.
  • We will offer recommendations, and make sure we meet your deadlines.
  • We will supply your Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) free of charge.
  • Our staff are all accredited experts, highly experienced in their field.
  • We can offer cost-effective neutral advice on how to increase the energy efficiency of your property.
  • We take pride in having a fully trained team of professionals, dedicated to helping you meet your deadlines. We will keep you up to speed throughout the process. If it suits you, we are always willing to engage directly with your Building Control Office or Design Team.
  • Our assessors are CIBSE qualified to Level 5. This means we are qualified to carry out SBEM calculations on the most complex projects — those which incorporate, for example, atriums and complicated ventilation systems.
why is a SBEM report important

How much time should I allow?

Of course, it depends on the size and duration of your project. But as a rule of thumb, Briary Energy sets itself a target for report completion within 5 to 10 working days following application.

The consequences of failure

Simple. It is illegal to sell or rent any commercial property that does not have a compliant EPC. Your building must pass its SBEM. You can see how important it is to carry out SBEM calculations before starting to build — if the building does not reach building regulation standards, we can offer advice to improve the situation. Clearly, remedial work becomes more and more difficult, not to mention more expensive, as the project progresses.

Briary Energy offers wide-ranging support and guidance from start to finish of the whole SBEM process. Some of our competitors simply carry out calculations. Briary Energy offers our customers consultancy services to ensure you have all the data and information needed for an SBEM pass.

Dynamic Simulation Modelling

DSM software is designed to calculate data for new build commercial properties. It is also highly accurate and takes account of other external factors capable of impacting on energy consumption.

DSM software comes into play with large scale complex constructions such as airports, shopping centres, or sky-scrapers. But the software can prove very useful for those customers who want a more detailed analysis for their intended non-domestic project.

In commercial buildings we use Dynamic Simulation Modelling (DSM) to provide a much more detailed and accurate assessment using a 3D model of your building. This model enables us to analyse:

  • Thermal Performance / Construction
  • Renewables and Technologies
  • Energy usage
  • CO2 Emissions
  • Overheating
  • Daylight / Sunlight Assessment
  • Ventilation / Airflow
  • Occupant Comfort
  • BREEAM / LEED Performance

Briary Energy typically use DSM for large developments such as hotels and office blocks.

Why Briary?

  • We use the latest technology to model and test your building.
  • We offer a fast and effective service.
  • Our experienced SBEM assessor team will ensure a pass without compromising or changing your design.
  • We have the ability to package up SAP and SBEM assessment tools with DSM to ensure a robust and compliant report.

For a free quote for any of our services, from Standard Assessment Procedures (SAPs) for dwellings to Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) calculations and Dynamic Simulation Modelling, call the team at Briary Energy on 020 3397 1373. You can find more information on our services throughout our website at https://www.briaryenergy.co.uk/.


What does SBEM stand for?

SBEM is the acronym for 'Simplified Building Energy Model'. The methodology that has been approved by government calculates the energy that’s needed to light, ventilate, heat, or cool a building not used as a dwelling. SBEM calcs demonstrate the energy performance of both new and existing commercial (i.e., non-residential) buildings.

What is an SBEM assessment?

A Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) assessment is a government-approved methodology used throughout the UK in order to calculate how energy-efficient commercial properties are. An SBEM report takes into account the size, geometry, orientation, construction, and systems of a building to calculate the amount of energy it uses monthly and its carbon emissions.

What is the purpose of SBEM?

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has developed SBEM as a software tool to analyse and calculate non-domestic building energy performance. SBEM is intended for use in commercial, non-domestic buildings and supports the National Calculation Methodology (NCM), the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), and the Green Deal.

What is a BRUKL output document?

BRUKL output documents are those that calculate a non-domestic building energy rating. The term BRUKL stands for Building Regulations UK, Part L and is often used interchangeably with ‘SBEM (Simplified Building Energy Model) report’. The SBEM is the most common methodology used to produce a BRUKL output document.

What is a BRUKL report?

A Building Regulation UK Part L (BRUKL) report lays out the energy usage and fuel conservation methods used in a non-domestic building. The document reports on the likely emissions of a building and is used throughout the building process to monitor the extent to which the property complies with the relevant regulations.

What is a Dynamic Simulation Modelling?

Dynamic Simulation Modelling (DSM) refers to a software package that has been designed to predict the energy performance of larger and/ or more complex commercial buildings which are required by the relevant regulations to hold Level 5 EPCs. A few examples of buildings that need Level 5 EPCs are shopping centres, skyscrapers, and airport terminals.

What is an EPC assessment?

An EPC assessment is the process carried out to produce an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) on a building. The EPC assessment calculates how energy-efficient a property is and how much it will cost to heat and light it on a scale of 1-100. Properties are graded into bands A to G, where A is most efficient, G is least.

Do I need an EPC for SBEM?

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is drawn up after an SBEM assessment has taken place. The EPC states the energy-efficiency rating of a property and is a legal requirement for any sale or rental of a non-dwelling. Building Control will also require an EPC before they will sign off on a property.

Can you fail an EPC?

There is no pass or fail with an EPC, but the document informs potential buyers and tenants of the energy efficiency of a property. A very poor score may adversely affect your chances of selling or leasing out your building. Your EPC grading is based on data drawn from a commercial building energy assessment such as an SBEM.

How long is an EPC valid?

An EPC is valid for a period of ten years and within this period, can be utilised any time a property is sold or leased out. After the ten-year period is up, a new commercial building energy calculation must be carried out and an EPC produced if the building is to be marketed for sale or rented out thereafter.

Using SAP and SBEM Calculations to Measure Building Compliance

The SAP calculates the performance of a new domestic building in terms of its energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, while an SBEM report performs the same function for non-domestic buildings. The calculations are notional, based on aspects such as the type of heating and lighting installed; the ventilation systems; the fabric and insulation of a building; the size and materials used for windows and doors; and the impact of renewables like solar panels.

The calculations don’t take into account factors such as appliances installed, how many occupants use the building, and how they live; but they do provide a basis for demonstrating compliance with building regulations and comparing energy efficiency between buildings.

What is the Simplified Building Energy Model?

The Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) is a tool used to demonstrate compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations and to draw up Energy Performance Certificates for non-dwellings. Assessors input various data related to the building into software, which then predicts monthly energy use and carbon dioxide emissions (Building Emission Rate, or BER), comparing that with the energy use of a notional building of a similar size and type (Target Emission Rate, or TER).

The SBEM certificate was devised by the Building Research Establishment Ltd and has been used for demonstrating compliance with Building Regulations since 2006 and for Energy Performance Certificates since 2008.

what are SBEM calculations

Compliance with Part L for Non-Domestic Buildings

Part L2 of the Building Regulations sets out targets for the energy performance and emissions of a non-residential property. An SBEM assessment is mandatory for any new non-residential building with a square footage of over 50m2. To ensure compliance, the requirements of Part L should ideally be taken into account at the design stage, as this lessens expense further down the road.

To better meet the requirements, invest in the best fabric for the building; select the most efficient kind of heating system; use energy-efficient lighting; and build in renewables such as solar panels.

Energy Software Compliance Tools

In the UK, the National Calculation Methodology is used for a non-domestic building energy computation to calculate the energy performance of non-dwellings and assess their compliance with Part L of the Building Regulations, as well as to produce an Energy Performance Certificate, which is a requirement whenever buildings are constructed, sold or rented out.

Software tools have been developed to assist with this process, from the Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) to dynamic simulation modelling (DSM) for larger or more complex buildings. Expert energy consultants such as Briary Energy can help you ensure compliance with such tools.

An Introduction to UK Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

It’s estimated that buildings account for around 40-50% of all carbon dioxide emissions across Europe. To reduce that and address the increasing demand for energy-efficiency, there are European-wide minimum requirements for the energy performance of buildings.

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) states the national benchmark value and indicates a building’s performance against this value on a scale of 1-100, where the higher the figure, the more energy-efficient that building is.

An EPC is required whenever a building is constructed, sold, or let to inform prospective buyers or tenants of a property of how energy-efficient it is.

If you are planning a construction project of a non-dwelling, we can provide assistance with SBEM calculations in the UK. Contact Briary Energy for a free quote and advice.

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Contact us today to talk about your upcoming project – it could save you on average £800* per plot!