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Building Control vs Heating System Design


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I met with the Architect last week and ran into a problem. I've always been keen on using SunAmp with Solar PV as my preferred heating/hot water platform. I'm building a small 108m2 house so it's a good fit in my opinion. However....Building Control legislation has changed in recent years and I've to "opt in" to keep the bank happy. This means hands off first fix basically including MVHR that I was looking forward to installing. Anyway, that aside there's no registered installers in ROI for SunAmp and therefore no one can sign off such a system. Andy in SunAmp has been very clear on this point and even with the Amazing Nick willing to design and provide support I doubt any builder here will accept this risk and one I've just spoken to voiced his concerns. I've to go out to tender soon and don't want this to blow up on me! 

There are two likely heating options in my house at the minute:

  • ASHP with underfloor, towel rails etc and hot water tank etc, no solar PV
  • Solar PV and SunAmp UniQ to do the same without the hot water tank

My plan was to live with SunAmp for a year and get an ASHP later if required. The more likely scenario is I get an ASHP and add SunAmp later (!) and possibly end up not using the ASHP afterwards! Well, I'll use it to recharge the SunAmp (ideally with a high temp ASHP unit) but it's the additional combined cost that I'd rather not spend. And retrofitting a SunAmp after a commissioned system is built and signed off isn't the route I'd prefer to go. 

One option I was wondering about was what the minimum heating system I can get away with that leaves me open to easily incorporating a SunAmp shortly after building control is signed off? Maybe an instant electrical hot water heater and a few two bar fires? But then there's DEAP (SAP equivalent) to contend with. 

Anyway, thought I'd throw this to the experts here and see if I'm stoking a fire to burn myself in or not?!! Thanks!  

 

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Sunamp can train an installer pretty quickly, might be worth seeing if you can persuade a local plumber/heating engineer to go on a Sunamp training course.  Perhaps talk to Sunamp about whether or not they would offer training in RoI?  It really isn't at all difficult to install a Sunamp; Sunamp even allowed me to do my own install after I'd had a long chat with their technical chap and read through the installation instructions.  They were content that I was competent to undertake an installation based on that.  The sticking point may be if there is some for of government registration required in RoI, or whether it's just approval by the manufacturer.

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Thanks & Good idea! Might be worth the additional cost to get the training myself alongside the plumber! Or send him over. I'll start checking into what certifications this would require in ROI, is it just the CE mark or others? I also wonder if Brexit will impact those certs as the build will be post April 2019, unless there's an extension.....

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The Sunamp already carries a CE mark, so all that's needed is an approved installer.  I can't think that Brexit will change anything technical, as we will still be CE marking stuff, just as countries all over the world do if they wish to sell into the EU.

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1 hour ago, mike2016 said:

However....Building Control legislation has changed in recent years and I've to "opt in" to keep the bank happy

 

Can you explain that a bit more..?? Does this mean you have to start using accredited installers for everything, as if it is then it would crucify any sort of self build market

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Just now, PeterW said:

 

Can you explain that a bit more..?? Does this mean you have to start using accredited installers for everything, as if it is then it would crucify any sort of self build market

 

From what I can gather that's pretty much the case in RoI now, they've tightened up their regs a lot, primarily because there were thousands of really crap houses built during the boom years, some of which are having to be demolished they are that bad.

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There's new legislation introduced a few years ago to try to curb rogue builders. Every tradesman as I understand it involved in first fix needs to sign off that their work is compliant and put their PI insurance on the line, then the Architect puts their over the top of everyone's. What's happened in the past is builders have done crazy things along with tradesmen and gone bust and no one's left to pick up the tab when defects are found later. 

There is a back door where you can opt out but you have to have cash, not the mortgage route I'm pursuing. Anyway, talking to the Architect I can do painting, kitchen and the alarm install but CAT6a needs an approved installer as does MVHR for instance and of course plumbing and electrics. 

It pushes up the price of everything though and in my opinion does nothing to protect you if a tradesperson goes bust or disappears / leaves the country. But it makes the politicians happy I suppose. Anyway, these are the hurdles to building in ROI currently and I can't run foul of them or the bank will opt out! 

Edited by mike2016
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