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5 Reasons Computers Make Better Decisions Than You

5 Reasons Computers Make Better Decisions Than You

Sat-Nav equipped Uber drivers have proven how, in today’s world you don’t need “the knowledge” to know where you are going nor the best way to get there. Consequently, they have utterly disrupted the traditional taxi business model. Uber have had a bad year in 2017 – and the truth is as soon as they replace the weak link in the chain – humans – most of their problems will vanish.

Millions of drivers put their faith in sat-nav systems daily. They trust the system to make decisions on their behalf, they have faith in its abilities – beyond their own – apart from the older generation who stoically insist they know best. Systems like "Waze" update constantly with traffic info and help you avoid jams. Things local knowledge can’t possibly anticipate.

So why do we put our faith in these electronic gadgets to make life easier for us?

  1. First and foremost it’s knowledge. You cannot be expected to know every road, its length, traffic conditions and every alternative route off the top of your head.
  2. Speed. Computers make millions of calculations per second. More than you can cope with, especially when you are driving – that should be you most important priority.
  3. Opinion. Computers don’t have any. Every decision is based upon fact. The computer doesn’t have a preference for the M6 or the M1 – but it knows which it likely to get there quicker.
  4. It's up to date. New roads, bridges, traffic jams. It is more upto date more of the time.
  5. It doesn’t argue with you. No more map-rage-quits on holiday with the family on board! Many holidays have been ruined by parents arguing en route.

So, let’s apply the same 5 rules to making decisions about your asset register.

·        What are you going to upgrade first?

·        What funding, if any, is out there?

·        Do you qualify?

·        Which houses should you do first?

·        Where are the biggest returns on investment?

·        Where can you save the most kWh’s, or tonnes of carbon?

·        Where can your decisions have the biggest impact upon fuel poverty?

Just like the sat-nav example people are trusting computers and software to help them make informed decisions. Planning an energy reduction journey across your portfolio is exactly like planning an actual journey. The computer has no idea it isn’t a car and a road after all, everything is just 1’s and 0’s. Provided you input a genuine starting point and an achievable destination, then you can plan a more effective route using computing to crunch the numbers for you.

Applying the same top 5 from sat-nav, but for housing stock

  1. Knowledge. Today’s cloud computing solution has massive benefits over yesterdays CD based tools. The cloud offers true computing power on a scale unlike anything that’s gone before.
  2. Tools like IRT’s DREam can map, model, analyse and roadmap a house in less than 0.4 seconds.
  3. Agnostic, holistic results - every time. Software doesn’t offer an opinion as to what needs to be done, it merely calculates the savings based on facts. This is imperative when optimising your refurbishment programme and your budget.
  4. Up to date. Keeping one platform upto date with regulations saves you time and money. Why waste your time constantly trying to stay on top of an extremely fluid market when you could sit back and trust a computer to keep you informed? That’s why we invented computers after all – to help us with the heavy lifting.
  5. Just like sat-nav, using software to help make data driven decisions reduces board level friction. You don’t have to justify why you have chosen option A over B – it’s not about which sales person was the most persistent or charming. Your board will trust the data and won’t blame you for the choices it made.

Cars today have sat-nav built in. Phones have sat-nav built in. It’s trusted and everywhere. It works and it saves time and money.

The best news of all is that technology to roadmap your assets, is available today, it’s online and it’s low cost. It can be found at www.irtdream.co.uk

Sign up for a free trial today and see what DREam could deliver to your organisation. 

MEES – What it means to you

MEES – What it means to you

MEES - Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

 

What it means to you.

As of April 2018, the new MEES regulations will come into effect. This means that private landlords will no longer be allowed to grant or renew a lease of more than 6 months if their commercial property has an EPC rating of E or G. 

MEES will apply to all commercial properties rated E or G unless :

  • They do not require an EPC
  • The tenancy is under 6 months
  • Tenancy greater than 99 years
DREam individual property page - all the information on one page.
Potential savings available for every property.
" Recent studies have found that up to 20% of properties currently rated as an E would be
re-rated as an F or G under the latest calculation methodologies."

When is this happening?

Arpil 2018 - all privately rented domestic and commercial properties cannot be let to a new tenant or renewed to an existing tenant unless the property is better than an E or G.

April 2020 - As above and even when there are no changes in domestic tenancy.

April 2023 - As 2020, however now commercail properties are included even if no change of tenancy occurs.

Any Excemptions?

The Golden Rule - if an assessor has found that an improvement has a payback greater than 7 years and the property still doesn't meet MEES standards then an excemption may be granted.

Devaluation - if an expert determines that an improvement would lead to a likely decrease in valuation by 5% or may damage the property.

Third Party Consent - if works are refused by a third party. i.e. local authority.

What can I do now?

Ensuring your propety has an up to date EPC is the first step in ensuring MEES compliance. SBEM has been updated several times since it was first launched for EPC generation purposes. Re-running your EPC could give you a shock as it may have slipped down a band. It has been reported that up to 20% of properties initially assessed as a E may well in fact now be an F or G.

IRTs Edash platform can help you quickly assess different refurbshment options and see the potential savings and impact instantly. www.irtedash.co.uk

Our DREam platform enables you to visually see the locations of failing properties and the potential grant money available for retrofits. www.irtdream.co.uk

What to do with Failures?

A failing building is not always as bad as it seems. Utilising a thermal imaging survey you can easily identify quick wins where instant savings can be made. IRTs DREam platform can also provide you with grant saving options minimising the cost of any defects or qualifying retrofit measure. Whilst not cost neutral, the savings identified along with the efficiency benefits and grant funding available can result in an asset value rise in excess of the intitial capital expenditure. 

FREE trials

If you'd like more information or to see how your stock performs please get in contact. We are offering a 30 day free trial for UK users. 

Off Gas Grid Map for UK

Off Gas Grid Map for UK

Off gas grid mapping and why its useful

 

Fast easy ways to maximise funding and retrofit opportunities.

DREam now has over 500,000 properties online and live. Our cloud based system automatically cleanses uploaded data, runs SAP 2012 calculations, works out retrofit measures and savings, maps the property on Google maps and matches funding opportunities.
DREam off gas network overlay
DREam off gas network overlay

Off gas network

DREam uses the power of the cloud and googles mapping API to quickly map every property in its database and show its location and EPC rating on a street by street or house by house basis. DREam already contains 1000's of pieces of information held as map overlays allowing users to quickly identify regions of fuel poverty. This week we have launched the Off Gas Grid Network overlay which details the porbability of an area being on gas or off gas.

What is an overlay?

Whenever properties are uploaded, DREam maps the information directly into google maps by colour coding the streets the same as each EPC rating. This allows users to quickly see the extent of their stock and identify regions of interest.The overlay creates a coloured filter over the top of the map allowing users to see instantly where off gas properties lie. Because each overlay is individually controlled users can switch on or off other layers allowing them to visually see areas of deprivation and off gas properties.

How does this help?

ECO2t and other funding sources are often based on either deemed scores, achievable savings or area based. Consequently properties that have a main fuel as Electricity, in a fuel poor area and are E,F or G will attract the most funding. Being able to see all of your stock and then applying overlays of deprivation and off-gas network allows you to pinpoint the exact areas of interest. After that you can easily filter the information by construction and insulation level.

What next?

Once a user has identified a particular set of properties they are interested in they can simply create a new group containing only these. This exclusive group can then be shared with colleagues, contractors or consultants allowing them to view only that specific information.

FREE trials

If you'd like more information or to see how your stock with mapping overlays please get in contact. We are offering a 30 day free trial for UK users. 
Top 5 features that users love in DREam

Top 5 features that users love in DREam

Top 5 Features

 

Our users are loving DREam and its feature rich platform.

DREam now has over 300,000 properties online with users benefiting from instant SAP calculations, mapping, target creation and reporting. With so many features to choose from we've compiled a list of the Top 5 most used and talked about.

5. Drag and Drop Data Import

Our unique drag and drop property importer takes the hassle out of data transition. Users can drag a csv file into DREam and watch the updates and uploads happen before their very eyes.  DREams cloud based calculation engine can multiply itself in reaction to the amount of data being uploaded, this means there is no lag or delay whilst processing data. Each property set is assessed and missing data backfilled.

4. Visualisation of Data

Whenever properties are uploaded, DREam maps the information directly into google maps by colour coding the streets the same as each EPC rating. This allows users to quickly see the extent of their stock and identify regions of interest. Because we use the Google map engine users can quickly switch to Street view to see the actual property and check the location and access. IRT have also created a range of overlays which include areas of deprivation, benefit likelyhood and gas pipeline network.  

3. Searching and Filtering

Once the property information is on our cloud based system users can filter quickly and efficiently. From either the map environment or data tables, users can select the exact criteria of property they are looking for. Simply use the drop down options to find all matches in the portfolio. Search examples include finding E,F & G rated Solid wall construction properties within a specific postcode which also require a loft top up.

2. Groups and Sharing

Once a user has identified a particular set of properties they are interested in they can simply create a new group containing only these. This exclusive group can then be shared with colleagues, contractors or consultants allowing them to view only that specific information.

1. Targets

Uploaded your data, mapped it, filtered it, grouped it, shared it - whats next? 

Simply take your group and create a Target. You can choose to learn how to reduce the energy, CO2, kWh or achieve compliance with regulations, meet a specific SAP or EPC rating.
Once set DREam will instantly carry out multiple SAP calcs and find the most efficient way to achieve your target. These calculations are not biased towards specific products or manufacturers and just gove you the facts you need to make an informed decision. 

 
Cloud Based Engine
 
Automated Calculations
 
Interactive Mapping
Flat Roofs Core Sampling Surveying

Flat Roofs Core Sampling Surveying

Flat roofs are relatively inexpensive and very efficient to keep your buildings and your internal assets covered and protected from the weather. What can you do to identify flat roof defects?

Defects for flat roofs

 

Whilst their relatively low cost for a good protection plays to their advantage, this type of roof is also notorious for defects that often remain unnoticed until it is too late. As with any part of a building, they will be subject to wear and tear and will receive copious amounts of water.  Regular inspection of the roof is essential to make sure that this essential element is in tip top condition and kept free of defects.

One of the most common defects is water ingress which then leads to a leak inside the building. When water ingress does occur on a flat roof, damage often goes unnoticed for considerable time as water slowly penetrates and soaks the decking, insulation and/or structure beneath. This can lead to extensive damage. If left unattended and no leak detection surveying takes place, it can weaken the whole structure and have catastrophic operational and financial consequences for you.

Other defects can occur too. You can read our most popular blog post about the five common flat roof defects here

 

Flat roofs core sampling to detect water ingress

Core sampling allows the surveyor to see the make up of the roof and locate where water saturation may be.

The image above shows what appears to be a roof in a good condition with no obvious signs of moisture ingress, however;  the tenant has been complaining that there are leaks into his top floor office. 

Imagine, this is your tenant. You arrive on site with a surveyor and  the tools for the job, get onto the roof above the leaking office, but where should you start to take a core sample? You carry core samples, one is wet, two are dry. So we know that the insulation is saturated, but to what extent?

Using the roof image above, grab the slider and drag it across the image to reveal the thermal image, in short, red colours reveal saturated insulation (You can find out more about the meaning of infrared colours in our Understanding Colours post.). This  tells you everything you need to know about the accuracy of core samples. By relying solely on core sampling, your surveyor could mistakenly concludes that the entire roof needs replaced or on the opposite, that the roof is sound. How can you know for sure?

If your surveyor is employed by a roofing company, the impartiality of the advice could well be put into question. It is a matter of trust and reputation.

Flat roofs core sampling technique

The method and process of core sampling is therefore important. The core sample technique should be as follows:

  • take one core sample at a high point,
  • take one core sample at a low point and
  • take one core sample mid-way.

Critically this should be at random locations on the roof, not in a straight line. That way the surveyor can find out if water is coming in at parapets and tracking it down, if the area around the outlet is wet as water loves gravity and then try to ascertain the extent of the damage at the mid-point.

The surveyor will take appropriate notes and photographs. Then of course, they must patch the core sampling holes by resiting the sample and sealing the edges. Often this is made using blow torches.

This technique carries high risks for you and for the surveyor:

For you risk of fire from blow torches. Smouldering the flat roof away and causing extensive damage which could cripple your business,

Again for you invalidating roof construction guarantees by cutting holes through potentially perfect waterproofing.

For the surveyor, the risks are inherent to health and safety: slipping on a wet surface, working at height, stand alone working, fire protection, etc.

It is therefore easy to conclude that core sampling should be a last resort surveying technique, just before the nuclear surveying method.

 

Flat roof defects: infrared is the detection solution

If you are an asset manager, estate manager, building surveyor and are being asked to make a budget go as far as possible, then it is essential you get and give impartial advice to the building owner. By investing in an infrared thermographic (IRT) survey,  you mitigate risk from a third party advising whichever solution meets their commercial needs and wants.

Infrared can’t tell the difference between polyurethane and fibreboard. Wet is wet and that effects the temperature on the surface. Why? Simply put, wet insulation doesn’t insulate as well as dry insulation – so heat escapes the fabric. Also because water has a high emissivity. This means that water radiates its energy particularly well when it has finished absorbing it from the sun and from the building itself. This high emissivity makes the wet area appear warm to the infrared thermal camera.

With drones now extensively used to take the thermal pictures, thus eliminating most if not all health and safety risks for the surveyor as well as improving the accuracy of the surveying results, there is little not to like about infrared.

IRT may help you save hundreds of thousands of pounds by turning what you had assumed would be a complete “strip and re-new” into a partial strip and overlay. Conversely however the opposite may be true.

The point being: you will get the truth and if you are interested in delivering value to your clients and managing a sustainable portfolio, that’s an invaluable weapon in your armoury.

Core samples have their place of course. We will always advise you hand your infrared survey reports to your roofing company who may then core and confirm the infrared survey findings. More importantly the core sampling will allow them to establish what the roof is actually made of so that they can propose the appropriate solution for your roof refurbishment.

Do you own or manage buildings with flat roofs? We would like to know what surveying method you favour and why. Drop us a line, give us a call, let's talk all things flat roof surveying.

Increasing Community Engagement with Technology

Increasing Community Engagement with Technology

Achieving 42% engagement

Utilising data, imaging and online technology

 

IRT, in conjunction with two councils, carried out a large scale community engagement project. In total 10,000 properties were included across parts of Aberdeen, the whole of Newport-on-Tay and Wormit. Each property was thermally imaged, processed utilising IRTs Envision software and uploaded to DREam. Each house was assigned a unique access code and the owners alerted.

The visual impact of the thermal image lets homeowners understand their homes performance. Whilst envision lets them learn the impact and savings.

Map showing EPC and engagement level

40% engagement achieved

 

Of the 10,000 properties assessed over 4000 households logged in to see their property as a thermal image. Once on the site, users could also see their current estimated EPC rating and a range of retrofit measures suitable for their prperty along with the associated savings.

In addition to this users could update their current property information which may have become out of date. 

Options included : Wall insulation, lofint insulation levels, glazing information, boiler types, energy efficient lighting and draught proofing measures.

What next?

The DREam site logs all activity on the platform and maps the data automatically on to google maps where additional information can be overlayed (Areas of deprivation etc.). This allows the admin user to quickly assess all of the data and see who has engaged and what they did on the site.

This data then allows the admin user to visually see which areas are most likely to respond to energy efficiency programmes. Which will save the most from specific measures and who has already upgraded and more receptive to energy efficient products.

If you would like to carry out a community engagement project within your area please contact us at info@irtdream.co.uk

 

 

10 Cities mapped for E,F & G Ratings

10 Cities mapped for E,F & G Ratings

Dynamic Retrofit Energy Asset Management

Instant Mapping with EPC grades

DREam has mapped 100,000 properties in some of the largest cities across the UK. With DREams unique cloud based algorithms we have ranked, rated, mapped and calculated over 100,000 of the UKs E,F and G rated properties in 10 cities in England and Wales.

Utilising Googles mapping and street tools, DREam has plotted the location of all poorly performing properties and calculated refurbishment options for them all. In addition to this a targetted refurbishment plan can be created allowing users to set a goal and then learn how to achieve it.

Targets and goals can include achieving a specific EPC rating, SAP score (useful for EESSH), Energy/cost reduction % or meet regulations and compliance.

 

Cities mapped and ready

The mapping page isn't just a pretty picture, users can easily interact with the data by selecting regions using the polygon tool and get instant information on locations. Data can include EPC, SAP scores, Carbon tonnage potential or deprivation information.

Filters also allow the user to find the exact type of property. These can include EPC rating, Wall Construction, Loft insulation, potential carbon savings plus many many more. i.e. you can easily find E,F & G rated properties of solid wall construction requiring a loft top up.

Once regions are selected, users can easily create groups of interesting projects and save these for later viewing, target setting, reporting or sharing.

Every property has its own unique page and calculations available for instant inspection whether at a desktop or mobile on site.

 

Live now

 

  • Bath
  • Birmingham
  • Cardiff
  • Carlisle
  • Hackney
  • Leeds
  • Leicester
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle
  • Nottingham
  • Oxfordshire
  • Preston
  • Southend on Sea
Property Mapping

Property Mapping

Dynamic Retrofit Energy Asset Management

Instant Mapping with EPC grades

Whenever properties are uploaded, DREam maps the information directly into google maps by colour coding the streets the same as each EPC rating. This allows users to quickly see the extent of their stock and identify regions of interest. Because we use the Google map engine users can quickly switch to Street view to see the actual property and check the location and access. IRT have also created a range of overlays which include areas of deprivation, benefit likelyhood and gas pipeline network. Each overlay can be switched on and off as required allowing informed decisions to be made quickly.

 

Not just a pretty picture

The mapping page isn't just a pretty picture, users can easily interact with the data by selecting regions using the polygon tool and get instant information on locations. Data can include EPC, SAP scores, Carbon tonnage potential or deprivation information.

Filters also allow the user to find the exact type of property. These can include EPC rating, Wall Construction, Loft insulation, potential carbon savings plus many many more. i.e. you can easily find E,F & G rated properties of solid wall construction requiring a loft top up.

Once regions are selected, users can easily create groups of interesting projects and save these for later viewing, target setting, reporting or sharing.

IRT associate members of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)

IRT associate members of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)

IRT join the SFHA

50,000 SFHA homes already surveyed and available

 

IRT are pleased to announce their associate membership with the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA). As part of our membership we are offering all members a free trial of our flagship property software DREam (Dynamic Retrofit Energy asset management) for 1 month.

 

FREE Trial for SFHA members

DREam now has over 300,000 properties online with users benefiting from instant SAP calculations, mapping, target creation and reporting. 

IRT have created a free account for all SFHA members with properties and thermal images (where available) . All accounts are live and ready now.

Contact info@irtdream.co.uk for your free username and password.

Cloud Based Engine
Automated Calculations
Interactive Mapping
DREam launch

DREam launch

IRT launch DREam with Housing Minister

Official launch of "game-changing" software platform

IRT launched their new flagship software platform DREam yesterday. The launch was attended by Scottish housing minister Kevin Stewart who supported the DREam project and described it as "A fantastic piece of kit". Other attendees included Centrica, Ignite, SSE, Scottish Power, SFHA, Sustainable Homes, Ryden, Scottish Enterprise and a host of Councils, Housing Associations and contractors.  

 

Stewart Little and Kevin Stewart MSP launch IRT DREam

FREE Trial for SFHA members

DREam now has over 300,000 properties online with users benefiting from instant SAP calculations, mapping, target creation and reporting. 

Stewart Little, CEO said: “It (DReam) is designed to simplify the market, that’s the basic definition. It is totally impartial as it is not based on rubbish by a firm trying to sell a product. We wanted to differentiate the company and also do something ethical which helps people. It’s awful that we’re in the position where people can’t turn on their heating. I’ve actually met people people who have had to make the choice between either eating or staying warm.”

IRT have created a free account for all SFHA members with properties and thermal images (where available) . All accounts are live and ready now.

Contact info@irtdream.co.uk for your free username and password.

FREE trial available
300k properties online
Interactive Mapping