What Buildings Require An SBEM Calculation? Sustain Quality

  • Every new building with a heating system will need to be assessed to check energy efficiency against current Government emission targets.
  • If you’re building a dwelling, such as houses or apartment blocks, it needs its own SAP calculation, whereas any building that isn’t a dwelling will require an SBEM calculation.

In simple terms, an SBEM calculations will be needed for all non-domestic, new-build properties.

Read on to find out more…

What Does The Term ‘Non-Domestic’ Mean?

  • The term ‘non-domestic’ refers to any property that is not used as a place of permanent or semi-permanent residence. The most common example of a domestic building is, of course, a house.
  • Non-domestic buildings also refer to B&B accommodation and holiday homes which are let for 140 days or more a year.

Examples of non-domestic buildings include:

  • Shops
  • Offices
  • Factories
  • Schools
  • Warehouses
  • Pubs
  • Restaurants
  • Town halls

What Buildings Require An SBEM Calculation? Sustain Quality

Read More
What Are SBEM Calculations?
How Much Do SBEM Calculations Cost?
Why Are SBEM Calculations Important?

Domestic Buildings

Domestic buildings also need to demonstrate compliance with Building Regulations. The difference here is that an SAP calculation would be required, rather than an SBEM calculation. Sustain Quality provides both SAP and SBEM calculations, depending on the nature of your project.

A More In-Depth Exploration Of SBEM Buildings

Construction Of New Buildings, Other Than Dwellings

  • The obvious buildings are the ones listed above, but hospitals and hotels also require SBEM calculations to be carried out.
  • When it comes to student accommodation and care homes, there is a certain element of confusion amongst some of our designers
  • Generally, if the living space is self-contained (as in, people have their own bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom facilities), an SAP calculation would be required.
  • SBEM calculations are required when there are shared areas, such as kitchens, lounges, and corridors.

If in doubt, talk to one of our experts today.

Fit-Out Works

An commercial SBEM calculations would be required if:

  • The fit-out work is part of the construction of a new building.
  • It is the first fit-out shell and core development where the shell is sold or let before fit-out work is carried out.

Extensions To Existing Buildings

An SBEM would be required if the extension to the existing building exceeds 100m2 and greater than 25% of the total floor area of the existing building.

Buildings That Contain Both Dwellings And Non-Dwellings

An example of this would be a block with shops on the ground floor and flats above. In this instance, an SBEM applies to the shop and common areas of the flats (stairwells and corridors). The flats will require an SAP calculation as it is classed as a non-commercial dwelling.

Living Accommodation and Commercial Purposes

  • Some buildings contain both living accommodation and space used for commercial purposes, the whole building should generally be treated as a dwelling, and therefore would require an SAP calculation.
  • This is based on the assumption that the commercial part could revert to living accommodation, and it doesn’t occupy a substantial portion of the total building. This doesn’t apply if there is a small bed-sit in a large office building!

Commercial SBEM Calculations
Buildings That Are Exempt

We would always recommend that you contact Building Control in your local area before making any assumptions regarding exemption. However, below are the main exemptions.

Places Of Worship

Places of worship are exempt from SBEM, but if there are offices, catering facilities, etc adjoining these, they would not be exempt. In this instance, a part building calculation would be required.

What Buildings Require An SBEM Calculation? Sustain Quality

Temporary Buildings

If a temporary building has a use time of fewer than two years, a commercial SBEM calculations would not be required. If the temporary building exceeds this, you’d need to get your SBEM calculation booked in.

Buildings With Low Energy Demand

Examples of this are industrial sites, workshops, and agricultural buildings. The energy demand is concerning the energy for occupants, not an industrial or agricultural process.

What Buildings Require An SBEM Calculation? Sustain Quality

Stand Alone Buildings

If the building has a total floor space of less than 50m2, then an SBEM calculation would not be required.


Distinguishing between those buildings that require SBEM or SAP calculations is the first step, before entering into the design process of your project.

If you would like any more information about your new build project, talk to one of our experts today.

What Buildings Require An SBEM Calculation? Sustain Quality