Four Housing Group - building performance and post-occupancy evaluation

Sinclair Meadows in South Shields is a development of 21 dwellings built to Level 6 of the Code for Sustainable Homes for Four Housing Group. They were designed to be ‘carbon negative’ and the use of large areas of photovoltaic panels more than offset the energy needed to power and heat the homes. The development is heated by a communal heating system with a biomass boiler.

The 18-month evaluation included an 'in-use' monitoring of both the communal heating system and the energy use and internal environmental conditions of two of the dwellings; including temperature and humidity. We also undertook post construction airtightness tests, MVHR duct flow tests, in-situ U-value measurements and thermal imaging surveys. The Technology Strategy Board-funded project (now Innovate UK) also included assessments of the design and construction processes, occupant building use surveys and domestic appliance audits.

The project will link with other activities being undertaken for Four Housing Group on the development including a behavioural change project being carried out by Northumbria University and a tenant engagement project being carried out by Gentoo Green.

Our partners

  • Four Housing Group

  • Richard Taylor Designs Partnership

  • Fitz Architects

  • Galliford Try

  • Sub-contract testing services provided by:  Stroma, BSRIA

Project timeline
September 2012 to September 2014

Funding source
Technology Strategy Board, Building Performance Evaluation Competition

We provided

  • Project management.

  • Collation and analysis of in-use monitoring data and post construction test data.

  • Design and construction review, SAP review and design team interviews.

  • Domestic energy audit.

  • Primary author for reporting to the Technology Strategy Board

Expected benefits

Lessons learnt on this project will provide direct benefits to all aspects of Four Housing Group’s operations, including future design specifications, procurement, supply chain engagement and skills/training needs.
The project will enable Four Housing Group to evaluate whether small-scale district heating systems for domestic-only developments are a viable approach for future projects.

The results will also link with the group’s community development programme and will inform the development of future handover and management strategies to help ensure housing stock is being well controlled by the tenants. Four Housing Group’s teams will use the findings to help implement similar strategies across the rest of the housing stock.

Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Innovate UK brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. For more information please visit the Innovate UK website.

Related services

Building Performance Evaluation

There is significant and growing evidence that buildings do not perform as anticipated at their project design stage. Variables that affect building energy performance arise from design, construction, handover and operation. The result is that actual energy performance is often significantly different from its predictions. This is often referred to as the ‘performance gap’ and we provide a service that helps tackle this gap.