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FAQ – Building Services


Building Services / HVAC / MEP - Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

Read our Frequently Asked Questions. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

General

What are building regulations?

Building Regulations are there to ensure that buildings are made to a minimum quality standard for such things as structure, ventilation, fire escape, drainage, insulation etc.

Building regulation matters are usually handled by Building Control Officers in the Building Control Department of your local authority but increasingly private licensed inspectors are an alternative.

What are building services systems?

Building services are the systems installed in buildings to make them comfortable, functional, efficient and safe.

Building services engineering encompasses the following:

  • Mechanical services:
    • Heating, Ventilation, Air conditioning (HVAC) and other applications of Refrigeration (HVACR)
    • Escalators and lifts
    • Energy supply – gas, electricity and renewable sources (such as solar, photovoltaic, wind, geothermal, biomass, heat pumps etc.)
    • Energy distribution
  • Electrical services:
    • Low voltage (LV) systems, distribution boards and switchgear
    • Communication lines, telephones and IT networks (ICT)
    • Building automation
    • Lighting (natural and artificial)
    • Lightning protection
    • Fire safety, detection and protection
    • Security and alarm systems
  • Public health services:
    • Plumbing solutions for water supply, both potable cold water and DHW (domestic hot water),
    • Drainage of waste water (sewage) from inside a building and drainage/treatment of external surface runoff around a building. Increasing use of grey-water recycling and solutions to delay runoff (e.g. green roofs and infiltration beds). Sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS).
    • Solutions for hygiene and sanitation, including cleaning, indoor air quality, and health technology (e.g. isolation wards)
  • Other:
    • Building-integrated features such as passive cooling
    • Facade engineering (such as building shading requirements)
    • Building physics, especially related to heat and moisture transfer, etc.
    • Carbon emissions calculations and reduction
    • Design of pumping stations as well as pump houses
    • Integrating, restoring and designing new building services for architectural conservation projects

What is CDM (2015)?

CDM (2015) is Construction Design Management that was updated in 2015.

Do I need planning permission or building regulation approval?

If you live in England or Wales, you will find planning and building regulations guidance for many common building work projects at www.planningportal.gov.uk

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Technical

What does MEP mean in construction?

Basically MEP means Mechanical (heating and cooling systems, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration), Electrical (Electricity, lighting, fire alarm and security systems), Public health services / Plumbing (incorporates gas, water, sewer management).

What is the latest version of British Standard BS xxxx?

The best way of checking the currency of a particular British Standard is check the BSI website -> shop.bsigroup.com

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Ventilation

What size HVAC unit do I need?

When it comes time to buy (or change) a heating or air conditioning unit for your home (building / flat), one thing most people probably won’t know is what size unit they need.

Usually people know that when replacing an existing heating system it was (or is) warm enough or not. Air conditioning – was the current installation it was (or is) cooling sufficiently or not. Unfortunately, this information is often not enough for a new project, it can only be an advice on what to look for when making new engineering calculations (e.g. heat losses and gains) or equipment placement.

Choosing the right size HVAC unit for your home / building is very important in order to maintain a comfortable, even temperature throughout the building. REMARS can offer assistance (engineering calulations, design, drawings) and recommendations as to what type of equipment that would be best for your situation.

MVHR - what is it?

Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) provides fresh filtered air into a building whilst retaining most of the energy that has already been used in heating the building.

What benefits does MVHR offer?

  • Controlled airflows
  • Pre-heated incoming fresh air
  • Heat exchange may reduce heat demand
  • May be useful where external noise pollution is a problem as there are fewer building penetrations

What difficulties could we encounter?

  • Accommodating the fan unit and concealing all ducts
  • Perceived high running costs, though usually not actual
  • For the system to be effective, the dwelling needs to have an airtightness of less than 0.2 air changes per hour
  • Noise potential, especially if ducts are poorly installed

What is MEV?

Mechanical Extract Ventilation (MEV) are systems that provide continuous ventilation using multi point extracts. The MEV ventilation strategy provides simultaneous, low-level extraction from the moisture producing areas or “wet rooms” such as kitchens, bathrooms, shower rooms, utility rooms, and toilets to a central extract fan via a system of ductwork and grilles. The extracted air is then normally discharged to outside via a single duct and grille / cowl.

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Passivhaus

Can I open the windows in a Passivhaus?

Yes you can.

Even though a Passivhaus must be built to a high level of air-tightness, you can, if you wish, leave windows open whenever you want. In the heating season opening the windows will reduce the efficiency of the building and you will use more energy to keep the house warm, just as you would in a normal house.

Before you go…?

Are you looking for ways to create efficiences on a large upcoming construction project?