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SANS 10400 – The Reference Building Route

SANS 10400 - XA Energy Efficiency in BuildingsSANS 10400  -XA – COMPLIANCE THROUGH REFERENCE BUILDING ROUTE.

Usually, this is an alternative in the event that the SANS 10400 – XA Prescriptive option somehow poses a lot of technical difficulties. In such a case, the architect or developer may actually decide to use the energy modelling route (the Reference Building Route). Most of the times, this option does allow for greater flexibility as well as creativity, which in effect allows the architect or energy consultant (Competent Person – Energy) to be able to model and realize the annual energy performance of the building. The outcome of this practice may at times be one and the same as what would have been realized if the Prescriptive option had been chosen, but most of the times it is way better.


With this option, there are a lot of things to consider. For instance, the overall outcome of the process has to be in line with the client’s visions and needs. Thereafter, the energy performance of this design approach is then calculated and used as a base case which can be used later on to act as a base case for comparison with the improved energy efficient design.

This usually does not stop at this point. The design may then be modified thereafter with some sort of go ahead from the professional team. Then again, the annual energy efficiency is then calculated and this is compared with the base case – performance of the Reference Building. So, should the modified version of the design show any sort of improvement in terms of energy usage when compared with the base case, then it actually complies with the required regulations.

architect, architectural design, house designs, home designs, sans 10400 - xa, reference building route, energy efficiency, hot water pipes, insulation, house plans, archid architects, house plans, Tuscan home design, architecture design, design style, house plans south africa, modern architectureFACTORS INFLUENCING THE REFERENCE BUILDING ROUTE OPTION.

Naturally, this model if influenced by four main factors which are:

  • The type of project which is under consideration. Usually, this approach of project initialization is best for the multi-unit residential development buildings.
  • The actual scale of the project.
  • What kind of skill set the professional development team has.
  • The client’s preferences and willingness to actually pay for the energy modelling process.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that if the Competent Person – Energy is actually working with a team which has all the actual design skills then the design option have to be checked for any sort of compliance during the early stages so as to ensure that cost effective designs are realized.


Usually, when this route is considered, then a Competent Person – Energy has to also be in the picture. Should the selected candidate, be it the architect or some skilled designer, then this person may be able to carry out this role by simply conducting computer modelling of the rational design.


So as to be able to conform with the requirements of the SANS 10400-XA Reference Building Route, then the architect has to make sure that the below documents are all submitted to the local authorities.

  • An actually filled in Form 1 which will indicate that the reference building route to compliance is the one which is actually being pursued. This is done by ticking the last box in the XA: Energy Efficiency in Buildings. This has to then be signed with the owner of the project and the Appointed Person – if any.
  • The second form – Form 2 – has to be filled and signed by the Competent Person – Energy.
  • Form 3 – this form has to be completed and signed as well by the owner and the Competent Person – energy.
  • There should be a rational design document which is actually prepared by the competent person and then has to be appended to Form 3.
  • There should finally be a schedule of the energy modelling calculations which are prepared by the Competent Person – Energy.

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