Internet review

Structural Survey

ISSN: 0263-080X

Article publication date: 30 May 2008



Todd, S. (2008), "Internet review", Structural Survey, Vol. 26 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Internet review

Article Type: Internet review From: Structural Survey, Volume 26, Issue 2.

The web site information included below includes two key and other informative sites. If there are any other interesting sites or sources of information that you have found useful, please e-mail me at

The Building Research Establishment


BRE’s mission is to “build a better world”.

BRE offers:

  • consultancy services;

  • certification;

  • commissioned research; and

  • publications, training and education.

The latest news from BRE includes information on carbon reduction in new non-domestic buildings. BRE welcomes the publication of the UK Green Building Council’s new report Carbon Reduction in New Non-Domestic Buildings. Commissioned by CLG, the report is the result of several months of work by a number of UK-GBC members, including BRE, who have shared data and collaborated in the project. The report confirms that:

  • It is possible to reduce carbon emissions from energy use down to zero in the majority of new non-domestic buildings, as long as onsite, near-site and offsite renewable solutions are employed.

  • There is a cost associated with building to zero carbon. Cost varies widely with both the form and the use of the building. However, preliminary modelling suggests that the premium could range from over 30 per cent down to as low as 5 or 10 per cent of current baseline costs.

  • A challenging yet achievable timeframe for achieving zero carbon new non-domestic buildings along the lines set for housing is needed. With a trajectory in place similar to that adopted for the Code for Sustainable Homes, then a deadline of 2020 could be adopted.

The Spotlight section gives information on: Barratt’s build Mail on Sunday Green House at BRE. Gaunt Francis’s winning design from the 2007 Homes of the Future competition, run by the Mail on Sunday, is now being built by Barratt’s on the BRE Innovation Park. The Green House was chosen as the wining design in the British Homes Awards 2007 by readers of the Mail on Sunday and viewers of Real Estate TV. Designed by architects Gaunt Francis, the home is to be the first UK house suitable for volume production that meets the UK Government’s zero carbon criteria. Barratt’s began work on site in October 2007, with completion due in April 2008.

Information is also given on approved certifiers of design launched at BRE. BRE Scotland launched two new certification schemes one for Approved Certifiers of Design for non-domestic buildings and one for Approved Certifiers of Design for homes. The two schemes (approved by the Scottish Buildings Standards Agency), qualify individuals and organisations to certify building designs as having met the requirements of the Building Regulations (Section 6 Energy) and the Mandatory Functional Standards.

The Approved Certifiers of Design Schemes (ACD), were announced some months ago by the Scottish Executive Minister Stewart Stevenson. Certification is intended to create a fast track mechanism (in the form of a single certificate) for providing information on compliance with parts of the building regulations to the Verifier (in Scotland these are the Local Authority Building Standards Department). BRE’s schemes are specific to the energy part of the regulations.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors


The homepage has been changed “to appeal to everyone and to ensure that it is much clearer what role RICS and its members play around the world.”

The main menu includes:

  1. 1.

    About us: who we are; news and opinion; industry news; and research on:

    • The impact of Post-Tsunami Reconstruction and Rehabilitation on Infrastructure Facilities. This paper aims to analyse the impact of the Tsunami on infrastructure facilities in Sri Lanka and results confirm that after almost one and a half years, the Tsunami rehabilitation process is slow as compared to its start.

    • A Multiple Decisive Factor Model for Construction Procurement System Selection. Determination of appropriate contingency sum for building projects.Housing development in an age of reform: experiences from Asia Pacific.

  2. 2.


    • RICS news and opinion;

    • Planning Bill (UK);

    • Report access to the housing market;

    • RICS residential reception; and

    • RICS Awards.

  3. 3.

    Industry news:

    • RICS EU Sustainable Urban Regeneration Lecture Series.

    • Events.

    • Research on: RICS UK Housing Market Survey January 2008; Energy Fact Sheets; RICS Rural market survey; and legal analysis of some schedule-related disputes in construction contracts.

    • Regulation: RICS approved to regulate Home Inspectors.

  4. 4.


  5. 5.

    Join RICS;

  6. 6.

    Using a Surveyor; and

  7. 7.


The homepage also gives links to:

  1. 1.

    Global intelligence, trusted advice:

    • RICS Economics and market surveys;

    • RICS Global Real Estate Weekly;

    • RICS Rural Market Survey H2 2007; and

    • RICS UK Housing Market Survey January 2008.

  2. 2.

    Setting and maintaining standards.

  3. 3.

    Corporate citizenship:

    • disaster management;

    • sustainability; and

    • home buying reform.

  4. 4.

    The very best advice:

    • flooding;

    • buying a home;

    • selling your home;

    • property surveys; and

    • Phil Spencer on the House podcasts.



The homepage of this web site includes information on:

  • Home;

  • About us;

  • What’s new;

  • Our products;

  • Buying products; and

  • Knowledge centre.

The Knowledge centre includes some useful information on the basics of ventilation and ventilation requirements. Section 1 covers the composition, nature and problems associated with moving air with special reference to humidity. Different types of ventilation systems are considered, together with the calculations necessary to determine the correct equipment. Section 2 considers the various types of fan available; their advantages and disadvantages for particular schemes and an understanding of fan curves and fan laws. A brief introduction to noise levels is also included. The section also covers the movement of air within a duct (with relevant fan laws); the advantages and disadvantages of various ductwork, with particular reference to flexible ducting.

Other information includes:

  • ventilation rates;

  • ventilation requirements;

  • units of measurement;

  • design guidelines;

  • system calculator;

  • condensation control;

  • building regulations;

  • guide to decent homes; and

  • CPD seminars.

Flir Systems


Infrared thermography cameras produce images of invisible infrared or radiation and provide precise non-contact temperature measurement capabilities. Some of the stated applications include:

  • Location of leaks. To find and check pipes and tubes for leaks even when the water pipes are laid in the floor or under plaster. The heat of the pipes radiates through the surface and the pattern can easily be detected with an infrared camera. A typical example is localizing leaks in underfloor heating systems. Leaks in district heating systems can also be detected and documented quickly with the help of infrared thermography.

  • Detection of construction failures. Thermography is a non destructive method to discover construction failures. It can easily be shown that construction work has been incorrectly executed. It makes heat losses, humidity and air leaks that occur in buildings instantly visible on thermal images.

  • Drying of buildings. To speed up the drying of a building drying machines are often brought in. The heat generated by this machines evaporates the water which is present is the walls and other parts of the construction. Areas where moisture is still present can be easily detected with an infrared camera. They appear on the infrared image as a “cold spot”.

  • Visualization of energy losses improving building insulation. Thermal bridges do not only indicate areas in a building where energy is wasted. These spots can also lead to condensation or the precipitation of humidity from the ambient air. Mould subsequently grows in these places, thus creating a risk for the occupant’s health. Infrared thermography reveals faulty locations immediately.

The web site also shows some information on the use of thermography in:

  • St Peter’s Basilica, Rome;

  • District Heating; and

  • Heathrow Airport.

The main menu is structured as:

  1. 1.

    Products and technology:

    • about infrared;

    • infrared cameras;

    • software; and

    • accessories.

  2. 2.

    Infrared in action:

    • image gallery;

    • success stories;

    • news and events; and

    • industry applications.

  3. 3.

    Support and training:

    • infrared training centre;

    • customer support; and

    • contact us.



SmartestEnergy is one of the UK’s leading independent energy trading operations. The business was set up in 2001 to give embedded and renewable generators access to the deregulated energy market in the UK.

  • Energy trading services. A range of products to help generators maximise revenues and enable energy buyers to manage energy cost exposure.

  • Power purchase agreements. Power Purchase Agreements tailored to suit every generation technology, from multi-MW landfill gas sites to small wind turbines.

  • Green supply. New products currently under development, looking to deliver green electricity at competitive rates.

  • Gas shipping and trading services. Bespoke, gas-related products and services to manage hedging, trading and shipping requirements for independent gas producers.

EPLabel: Energy Certification for Public Buildings


This web site allows the public sector to measure their building’s energy performance and CO2 emissions.

The site includes the following menu:

  • manage your sites;

  • describe your site;

  • define energy use for a year;

  • analyse your site’s performance for a particular year; and

  • demonstration Energy Certificate.



Hoval operate in the area of heating and ventilation technology. Their technologies include:

  1. 1.

    Hoval System Technology. Heating and hot water solutions for Fossil Fuelled Boilers and Renewable Energy Systems.

  2. 2.

    Renewable Programme.

  3. 3.

    Wood fired boilers, solar thermal and heat pumps.

The products and systems include:

  • boilers: gas, oil and wood fired;

  • solar thermal, heat pumps and hot water generation;

  • indoor climate;

  • heat recovery; and

  • pressure vessels and heat treatment services.

Energy Saving Trust


In 2008 the Energy Saving Trust will be piloting a choice for paid-for services, starting with a face-to-face home and travel audit. This will provide a single point of contact for home energy audits including managing the installation of energy efficiency and renewables technologies in the home, plus advice on how householders and landlords can save water, reduce waste, be more green with travel and connect to grants and offers from local energy companies.

The home page gives access to other sources of information including:

  • your impact on climate change;

  • what I can do today;

  • energy saving products;

  • home improvements;

  • generate your own energy;

  • help and support;

  • compare and buy products;

  • energy saving video guide; and

  • whether your rubbish is really rubbish.

The Carbon Trust


The Carbon Trust’s mission is to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy by working with organisations to reduce carbon emissions and develop commercial low carbon technologies. There is an online calculator so that businesses can calculate their carbon footprint. The user of this tool enters details of the business’s energy usage and other potential emissions sources including fuel usage, vehicle usage, electricity bill data and employee travel to produce a footprint. These figures are then used to set benchmarks and measure progress.

The site includes the following:

  • Insights. The Carbon Trust’s Insights explains the issues and opportunities surrounding climate change and carbon reduction, developing low carbon strategies that engage government and business.

  • Solutions. The Carbon Trust Solutions deliver practical solutions to help organisations cut their carbon emissions and energy bills.

  • Innovations. The Carbon Trust Innovations helps develop low carbon technologies through partnerships, funding, expert advice and large-scale demonstrations.

  • Enterprises. The Carbon Trust Enterprises creates new, low carbon businesses by identifying opportunities and combining key skills and resources.

  • Investments. The Carbon Trust Investments finances emerging clean energy technology businesses that demonstrate commercial potential.

Robust Details Ltd


Robust Details Limited provides a route to compliance for Part E of the Building Regulations (England and Wales). It may be used as an alternative to on-site pre-completion sound testing and is also recognised in the Code for Sustainable Homes.

A Robust Detail, for Part E of Building Regulations, is a separating wall or floor construction, which has been assessed and approved by RDL. In order to be approved, each Robust Detail must:

  • Be capable of consistently exceeding the performance standards given in Approved Document E to the Building Regulations for England and Wales;

  • Be practical to construct on site; and

  • Be reasonably tolerant to workmanship.

Stephen Todd

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