With significant rises in energy costs reported from April, the issue of energy efficiency is a pressing one. A growing solution to this and to the increasing environmental concerns associated with new buildings is retrofitting. It is time for FMs and surveyors to consider the use of retrofit survey software to streamline their process and increase efficiency.
What is retrofitting?
Retrofitting, while lacking a singular definition, speaks to an approach and to a mindset towards estates, acknowledging the need for longevity and efficiency.
Reports indicate that in 2050, 80% of the homes we live in will have already been built today.
Rather than rebuilding, retrofitting emphasises altering and improving buildings to better their carbon and energy efficiency, lower their costs, and insure them against future challenges. Using retrofit survey software to improve onsite surveys allows FMs to make the retrofitting choices that suit their needs.
Retrofitting includes replacing windows, insulating roofs, the installation of renewables and ensuring airtightness. The pronounced current emphasis on retrofitting is in part due to the contribution such actions could make to the UK’s goal of being net zero in 2050. For individual FMs the changes prompted by retrofitting could look like money saved on energy bills in the long run and buildings that will stand the test of time.
Graeme Fox, head of technical at Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has endorsed retrofitting as the long term solution to save money and prevent vulnerability to future energy cost increases:
“The price of energy has never had a higher profile, but most of the talk about possible solutions either refers to short-term financial measures… We can fix energy efficiency relatively quickly and cost-effectively through renovation and refurbishment.”
Beyond financial concerns, the need for retrofitting is a matter of health, with the National Insulation Association (NIA) claiming that an overhaul of retrofitting in the UK could save the NHS upwards of £1 billion a year. Homes and working environments that are unfit for purpose and make people sick require investigation.
Carrying out retrofit surveys
Requiring an initial cost that will later lead to savings, it’s important that tactical and informed choices are made with regard to retrofitting. Thoughtful surveying of each property, taking into account its function and history, is vital in order to note problem areas and environmental or monetary targets.
Current approaches to surveying areas for retrofit suitability are not suited for meeting the growing demands of a rapidly expanding sector and the need to do more surveys reliably and efficiently, typically involving manual recording of readings and taking photos that may not fully communicate the specifics of the situation. This approach leaves room for vulnerabilities and inaccuracies in the case of survey data either not being recorded correctly or lost entirely.
Errors early on in the surveying process can lead to time and money down the drain as procedures need to be unnecessarily repeated, such as extra site visits, and unsuitable decisions may be made for the estate and slow down processes.
Easy to use retrofit survey software
By using software to improve data collection during onsite retrofit surveys and integrating survey data from the retrofit surveying process into asset management software, all data from your site can be collected and accessed in a single, centralised location.
When surveying areas for their suitability for retrofitting 360 degree images (called photospheres) capture a room space quickly and easily. This means they provide a complete in-room view offsite providing a visual means of checking and communicating data with other stakeholders such as retrofit project managers and contractors who maybe asked to quote for works.
Accurate data gleaned in this way will reduce confusion at every stage of the retrofit process, saving time and money as surveyors are able to complete more work by having all the needed data to hand.
How Altuity can help
- Revolutionary 360 degree visualisation software allows for easy understanding of retrofit surveying
- Tagging of objects in a 360 degree environment, minimises confusion and saves time by ensuring the correct aspects of the site are worked on
- All data and documentation associated with the retrofit process is held in an easily-accessible, single location.