At Method we offer a wide range of services, supporting our aim to provide intelligent engineering and advice for sustainable, low-energy buildings.

Engineering

M&E Engineering

At the core of our design philosophy is an intelligent, rigorous and building-centred approach to mechanical and electrical engineering services design. All our engineers are fully trained in all aspects of building services – both mechanical and electrical engineering. This results in a truly integrated design approach.

Engineering is a creative profession and our team comes from a wide range of backgrounds so that we can bring fresh perspectives and alternative thinking to projects. We provide an open and intelligent approach to mechanical and electrical engineering by focussing on what is right for the building and the client. We are not afraid to go back to first principles where required, but we have the experience to quickly appraise options and consider risks carefully to ensure buildings are delivered on time and on budget.

Our analysis of the building, using computer modelling, and our initial advice on such issues as shading, daylighting and thermal performance often have the greatest effect on shaping the building and ensuring a sustainable, low-energy design can be realised.

We use a wide range of tools, including computer modelling, to inform our understanding of how the building will behave and to optimise the form and fabric of the buildings. Our software includes Revit MEP, AutoCAD, Hevacomp, NBS, PHPP (Passivhaus), Stroma, and IES Virtual Environment.

Our methods are collaborative and allow stakeholders to make informed decisions about the project by providing them with objective assessments about the effectiveness and environmental impact of development proposals. We will then develop proposals in conjunction with stakeholders and monitor performance against agreed benchmarks.

BREEAM, SKA, DREAM & Home Quality Mark

Our team at Method has considerable experience of delivering sustainability projects, providing advice and assessment services from the early stages of the design and procurement process, through to site support and the post construction review. With qualified assessors and APs across all of the BREEAM New Construction and Refurbishment and Fit Out schemes, Code, Home Quality Mark and SKA, in addition to BREEAM Accredited Professionals, we take a pragmatic approach to ensuring that the team addresses BREEAM as early as possible in the design process.

Our current portfolio includes BREEAM Excellent and BREEAM Outstanding projects and we pride ourselves on making BREEAM accessible and as straightforward as possible. Two of our BREEAM Outstanding projects have been shortlisted in the BREEAM awards.

We work on projects all over the UK for a wide range of clients (both public and private) and we can offer a basic or enhanced level of advice depending on a project’s needs. We use Tracker Plus software to facilitate the BREEAM process which allows for ease of communication during the assessments and transparency for the whole design team.

Projects can achieve BREEAM credits for appointing a BREEAM AP before the end of RIBA Stage 1 and we do advise getting us on board as early as possible. Our experience as Sustainability Champion has shown that those ‘easy win’ early stage credits are vital, particularly when targeting Excellent and Outstanding ratings.

Our vast experience includes residential projects using CSH and the Home Quality Mark, defence projects using DREAM and refurbishment projects using SKA and BREEAM Refurbishment & Fit Out.

We are qualified and experienced in a wide range of sustainability assessment methods:

  • BREEAM New Construction (all building types)
  • Home Quality Mark (HQM)
  • BREEAM Refurbishment and Fit Out
  • BREEAM Domestic Refurbishment
  • SKA Rating Tool (refurbishment)
  • Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) and Building Performance Evaluation (BPE)
  • BREEAM Communities
  • Passivhaus
  • DREAM (Defence Related Environmental Assessment Method)
  • BREEAM Infrastructure (for civil engineering projects)
  • WELL
  • Code for Sustainable Homes

Please feel free to call or email one of our BREEAM Accredited Professionals who will be happy to answer any questions or discuss likely fees for your project.

Our information sheets contain further detail about each assessment method.

Post Occupancy Evaluation, Building Performance & Soft Landings

POE is the final step in the building design process, with Soft Landings, and allows clients to understand how a building is performing, by conducting a user survey, to ask occupants how they feel about their environment. It can be a powerful tool in identifying potential issues that may not have otherwise been thought about. We are formal partners of the BUS (Building Use Studies) Methodology, which allows us to use an industry-wide benchmarking data set to measure your building against.

We start by discussing your building and the occupants with you and decide whether you would like to choose a paper or online survey method, or a combination of the two. After some preparation work and assisting you with communicating the process to your staff, we spend a day or two at your building, where we will conduct the surveys. During this time we can also gather energy and water consumption data.

The survey results are then analysed and presented in a straightforward report, where we will highlight issues of interest. This might be that staff find they do not have enough control over their heating, or find their desk location draughty, or that they really think the lighting system works well.

Benefits

  • Can be really useful to do a before and after, in an office relocation or refurbishment – to identify staff issues which can then inform the brief for the new works.
  • Shows staff that their opinions are valued and taken seriously.
  • Identifies building systems that might not be working correctly, to allow for re-commissioning or re-training – this is particularly useful in new buildings which often contain complex systems that are not always easy for occupants to understand.
  • Provides feedback for the design industry – designers should check that the systems they design are working for the people who use them every day.
  • Independent review from building professionals.
  • Results will show how the performance of your building compares against a database of others in the UK
  • Provides feedback for the next project.
  • Highlight possible reasons for absenteeism.
  • Gains a BREEAM credit

WELL Assessments

The WELL Building Standard focuses on the health and wellbeing of the building’s occupants and assesses its design and construction in supporting the positive effects the space has on its occupants. Shell-and-core, and new and existing building projects can be assessed. The standard is tailored towards different building types, including multifamily residential, educational facilities, retail, restaurant and commercial kitchens and considers various environmental factors that affect daily health, wellness and productivity.

WELL focuses on seven wellness concepts:

  • Air- promoting clean air through reducing sources of air pollution
  • Water- provide and maintain clean drinking water through filtration and testing
  • Nourishment- encourage better eating habits and food culture
  • Light- optimising light conditions to support sleep quality, enhance productivity and optimise visual awareness
  • Fitness- encouraging a more active lifestyle
  • Comfort- ensuring the indoor environment is not disruptive, distractive or irritating in terms of acoustic, thermal and ergonomic comfort
  • Mind- provide a setting which promotes positive mental health

Multiple performance criteria should be met under each of the above categories so that WELL Certified spaces provide a built environment that improves occupants’ health, wellbeing and comfort. Each concept is graded to ensure all preconditions are met and the overall WELL score is based on the total number of preconditions and optimisations achieved. Based on the score achieved, Silver, Gold or Platinum certification levels can be achieved.

Administered by the International WELL Building Institute, the WELL Building Standard is based on scientific and technical review to inform the performance thresholds and prescriptive criteria to be met. Different to many other environmental assessment methodologies, WELL projects must be re-certified at least every three years to ensure building conditions have been maintained to provide the same levels of occupant health and wellbeing. Through providing this service, Method not only helps to ensure that a project incorporates occupant wellbeing into the design and construction, but can verify that the building continues to perform well when it is occupied.

WELL can be undertaken as a standalone assessment or alongside other methodologies such as BREEAM, SKA, DREAM or Home Quality Mark.

IMPACT Materials Analysis

IMPACT is the Integrated Material Profile and Costing Tool, developed by a consortium led by BRE and funded by the UK  Technology Strategy Board. IMPACT is used to review project whole lifecycle costing and the materials life cycle emissions, known as LCA materials modelling. We use eTool which is a BREEAM compliant lifecycle assessment tool, used to measure the environmental impact of the building. IMPACT has been developed with the BRE, so using it enables a project to achieve extra BREEAM credits for lifecycle cost and materials.

This can be particularly important when higher ratings are being sought or in the case of a borderline rating. We are trained and experienced in providing this materials analysis using both IES and eTool and can offer it as an addition to our BREEAM service or as a standalone service.

Under BREEAM 2018 projects are required to use an LCA tool. Click here to read the Mat 01 requirements of BREEAM New Construction 2014 and here to learn more about IMPACT. We are partners of eTool to deliver IMPACT compliant analysis.

Water Efficiency Calculations

Building Regulations (specifically Part G) require submission of water calculations for new dwellings, demonstrating how much water each dwelling will consume, with a maximum allowable amount. We can undertake these calculations for your project and present results in a straightforward document which can be sent to Building Control, as well as providing advice on different ways to reach the required target.

London Plan Energy Statements

London Plan Policy 5.2 requirements are detailed and we understand the subtleties required to help your project gain planning permission. Residential projects are required to achieve zero carbon which is normally achieved through building design for the first 35% and then cash in-lieu payments for the remainder.

Our team can cover all of the energy statement requirements; including setting the initial strategy, undertaking the calculations, conducting the dynamic overheating analysis and preparation of a comprehensive report that is straightforward, avoids jargon and contains clear information for the planning authority.

Passivhaus

Our passion for low energy building design has led to us becoming accredited as Passivhaus Consultants and Designers. In order to support architects through the process of a Passivhaus project, it is crucial that the building services consultant understands all aspects of the PHPP design software. Our quantitative understanding of building physics and the building services required for a successful Passivhaus design, complement the holistic process of collaborative low energy sustainable design.

We also use these skills as part of our pre-planning advice for energy and sustainability statements, guiding project teams to design low energy developments.

Passivhaus is a design philosophy aimed at significantly increasing the energy efficiency of buildings, whilst reducing the overall energy demand by reducing the air permeability and heat loss from the building fabric. As engineers we work closely with architects to determine optimum solutions for building designs, and we are committed to exploring the potential for Passivhaus buildings across the UK.

Energy & Sustainability Statements

Most local planning authorities require an energy and sustainability statement to be submitted with planning applications. We can produce a suitable appraisal report which provides all the information required by the planning authority. It will highlight all of the sustainability initiatives within the proposed design, as well as providing practical advice on how to meet Local Authority targets. This may involve completion of a regional checklist (or similar) which can form part of the sustainability statement or appraisal.

We address all aspects of energy and sustainability to help reduce the overall impact of buildings on the environment. We have considerable experience of writing sustainability strategies at organisational level or as part of outline or planning submission. This service is different for every project and we ensure the scope reflects the level of detail required.
Projects in London must comply with the London Plan and we have plenty of experience of preparing London Plan compliant strategies and reports.

We can help you with:

  • Energy statements for planning (residential, commercial and mixed use)
  • London Plan compliance
  • Sustainability statements for planning
  • Renewable energy feasibility
  • Detailed sustainability appraisals for planning
  • Strategic masterplanning advice
  • SAP and SBEM
  • BREEAM Communities
  • BREEAM Infrastructure
  • BREEAM pre-assessments for planning (new construction, refurbishment or fit out)
  • Sustainability checklists
  • Post Occupancy Evaluation
  • SKA assessment for refurbishments
  • Passivhaus

BIM

BIM (Building Information Modelling) is a technology aided process creating collaborative working through the design and use of buildings. This is typically through the use of shared multi-dimensional models enabling the stakeholders, designers and team members to evaluate and enhance design. Giving clients a greater influence through the design process from start to finish ensuring a holistic sustainable approach.

This is not limited to purely the physical and functional characteristics of the building, but also relates to the project’s construction and demolition. We have embraced BIM from the earliest opportunity and understand how to engage with our clients to ensure BIM is utilised to our clients benefit. We have used BIM on several projects with extremely positive outcomes. At Method we have full in house capabilities and experience to produce BIM Maturity Level 2 projects.

Immediate benefits that can be realised through the use of BIM include:

  • Faster comparison between engineering options
  • Visualisation of the end product for detailed stakeholder engagement
  • Improved collaboration, creating coordinated designs through the design stages
  • Reduced construction period due to increase in confidence through design team and trades, enabling greater use of prefabrication
  • Reduced on site risk, traditional on site risks can be removed or at least reduced
  • Structured data including Models, Drawings, Schedules and reports within an industry standard naming convention
  • Stored within a common repository
  • Significant improvement in the buildings operational expenditure and greater cost certainty pre construction

Each project is unique, we understand that no two BIM projects will have the same requirements. We offer a fully bespoke approach to ensure our clients understand all of the possible options and benefits BIM can create. We then ensure this is achieved and can advise further uses of the BIM that can be to their benefit.

SAP, SBEM & EPCs

Whether it’s mixed use, residential or commercial, our energy assessors are experienced in building projects. We understand that different projects have different priorities, and we will always aim to advise on achieving the best energy reduction and CO² performance in the most economical way. Our intelligent SAP service means we are not just compliance checkers, but we enjoy being part of a project team to offer pragmatic and useful advice at the early stages, working closely with Architects to bring in our building physics expertise.

For residential projects we use Stroma FSAP software and we are qualified to produce Part L calculations and EPCs across for residential and non-residential projects.

In addition to dynamic computer modelling, sometimes a more simplistic calculation is sufficient, and we use iSBEM for commercial projects for planning stages and Building Regulations Part L compliance.

For more complex buildings we would use IES software – please refer to energy modelling for more details.

Energy Modelling & Building Physics

Often the most challenging questions we need to address during the design process are not the precise details of the building systems but the more fundamental questions about the fabric of the building and how it will behave and respond to the environment and how this affects sustainability – the building physics.

The main issues we usually need to consider include:

  • Shading and solar gain
  • Daylighting, glare and window design
  • Thermal mass
  • Summertime comfort and avoiding overheating
  • Natural ventilation
  • Insulation and heat loss

It is crucial that our proposals for projects are evaluated against these criteria to ensure that we will have buildings which will provide comfortable conditions at all times with a robust, efficient and easy-to-maintain engineering services installation.
We use a wide range of tools, including computer modelling, to inform our understanding of how the building will behave and to optimise the form and fabric of the buildings. Our software includes Revit MEP, AutoCAD, Hevacomp, NBS, PHPP (Passive House), Stroma, and IES Virtual Environment.

Our analysis of the building using computer energy modelling and our initial advice on such issues as shading, daylighting and thermal performance often have the greatest effect on shaping the building and ensuring a sustainable, low-energy design can be realised.

You can view our series of one-minute videos on Building Physics on Method’s YouTube channel or by visiting our Media page.

Building energy modelling and Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is required for all new buildings and this can be produced through the thermal model and IES. We have CIBSE accredited Low Carbon Energy Assessors as part of our team, fully qualified to produce EPCs.
For non-domestic buildings we use IES Dynamic Thermal Modelling software which allows us to model a building in 3D and run different simulations to establish predicted energy demand and use, lighting loads, CO² emissions, daylight provision, overheating etc. Modelling can be used to demonstrate Building Regulations Part L compliance, BREEAM compliance or for general advice as part of our sustainability offering.

Contact us for:

  • Level 5 SBEM (Building Regulations Part L)
  • Building physics advice
  • 3D Computer modelling for BREEAM: Hea 01, Hea 03, Ene 01, Ene 04
  • Overheating analysis
  • Thermal comfort analysis (including for BREEAM)
  • Daylight calculations (including for BREEAM)
  • Passive design analysis (including for BREEAM)
  • Energy modelling for planning stage Energy Strategies and Energy Statements
  • Building services engineering advice – we often help other building services engineers who do not have the modelling capability in-house

Thermal Modelling & Heating Analysis

Overheating can be a really significant problem in buildings, especially with increases in air tightness and insulation standards driven by Building Regulations, particularly in high rise or densely planned residential schemes. With careful design, most buildings in our temperate climate ought to be able to be naturally ventilated, and our analysis will help you to determine the most appropriate technical solution.

CIBSE TM52 and CIBSE TM59 have been developed to set objective standards and our experts understand the technical jargon; we can help you achieve a building which is comfortable all year round.

At the early design stage, comprehensive thermal modelling is crucial to influence design decisions, we use IES VE software to build a 3D dynamic model of the building and use this to analyse different scenarios and design options, including future climate situations which is required by London Plan and BREEAM.

Daylight Calculations

Good levels of natural daylight are important in the design of new buildings. We use computer software to accurately determine the level of daylight including the average daylight factor and minimum point daylight factor. We also undertake Climate Based Daylight Modelling (CBDM) which is a requirement of ESFA school projects.

Our daylight analysis is undertaken either as part of the pre-planning service alongside our energy and sustainability work, as a standalone service often as part of BREEAM compliance, or most commonly as part of our M&E service where we always recommend building a computer model for daylight, energy and thermal comfort.

Masterplanning

We provide a comprehensive service to help clients achieve planning consent for a wide variety of building types – often in challenging or sensitive locations where specialist advice, analysis and reports are required to satisfy the planning authorities. We work closely with the architect and planning consultant to support them and help make sure the design addresses all aspects of relevant planning criteria, resulting in a buildable scheme more likely to receive consent.

Most local authorities have energy and sustainability requirements as part of their Core Strategies and will set strict requirements for new and refurbished buildings. Our planning service has developed over many years of experience in building projects from feasibility stage, and we have a vast range of experience in helping clients through the planning process.

Our energy and sustainability team can produce the Energy and Sustainability Statement, using SAP and SBEM, or IES modelling, to conduct energy calculations using the energy hierarchy; Be Lean, Be Clean and Be Green. We can set bespoke sustainability targets for the project using our extensive experience of sustainable design.

Other planning services include early stage M&E engineering for mixed use, residential or commercial projects. This will often involve utilities applications, understanding ventilation requirements and setting the initial service routes in liaison with the Architect.

Conservation projects and listed buildings will require special consideration and we are highly experienced in delivering successful schemes at planning and beyond.

We also recommend undertaking computer modelling and considering building physics for thermal comfort before planning, and before the key building form decisions are made.
BREEAM for Communities is a very useful tool used at the early stages of master planning design to check sustainability is integral to the design and not just added on a building by building case. It is a two stage assessment process; Interim Step 1 at Outline Planning Stage and Final Steps 2 and 3 at Detailed Planning.

We can lead the whole process from master planning to post construction. Our dedicated sustainability and BREEAM team is fully qualified and licensed to provide advice on BREEAM Communities and to undertake the formal assessment. We are also qualified under every BREEAM scheme for buildings and the Home Quality Mark so we can further advise on how specific buildings will need to comply and integrate with the overall site.

We are also qualified in BREEAM Infrastructure for civil engineering projects which can be used for public realm or roads, alongside BREEAM Communities. Click here for further information from BRE.

Renewable Energy

In the UK there is an increasing need to produce more energy from renewable or low carbon sources. Many Local Planning Authorities set targets for reducing CO2 emissions or levels of renewable technology inclusion and we can determine the correct type of technology to be specified that is appropriate to your building.

We consider the application of renewable energy to each site, including wind turbines, biomass heating, ground source heat pumps, photovoltaics and solar water heating. We also look at combined heat and power and groundwater cooling, and all considerations will integrate with the site wide energy strategy.

We offer BREEAM compliant Low and Zero Carbon (LZC) Feasibility Studies that can be used as part of design advice, planning applications or for BREEAM compliance. There is also the option to carry out building energy modelling to obtain extra BREEAM credits.