In this paper I will discuss the factors that can
affect human comfort levels within a building.
It is important to consider these factors as part of the design for the
block of flats.
Human comfort can be described as the comfort a
person will feel when inside a building and is concerned with the affect upon
the senses; eyes, ears, brain, nose and the physical. When the body or senses are affected by a
building it can result in reduced human performance and even be harmful to
Thermal comfort can be expressed as the state of mind that expresses
satisfaction with the thermal environment, which naturally means that it is
Thermal comfort is concerned with temperature and
in extremes will lead to persons being too hot or too cold. Persons within a building can adjust and
control the thermal environment by wearing appropriate clothing for the
activity they are undertaking the building, by opening windows, using fans
and/or heaters. Obviously there are
natural, environmental factors to consider such as humidity, the season and
heat as well as personal factors such as clothing. Manual work will also naturally lead to an
increase in body temperature. A
combination of all of these factors can and will influence thermal
comfort. When considering how to attain
the optimum thermal comfort within a building all of these factors must be
In modern construction, thermal comfort can be
regulated by the use of equipment such as HVAC and the use of appropriate
materials such as double glazing and insulation. Therefore, it is essential that these are considered
at the design stage of the project.
However, optimum temperature is subjective as what one person might
perceive as being too warm, another may find too cold. This can lead to issues in reaching the
preferred temperature for each user of a building. Also some people prefer fresh air rather than
artificial ventilation and open windows, which negates the effectiveness of air
Air temperature is concerned with the temperature
of air surrounding the human body. The
human body is designed to comprehend and process the air temperature by sending
messages to the brain for cooling or heating to regulate personal
Radiant temperature is concerned with heat which is
produced by an object or piece of equipment by warming a surface. It creates a greater physical impact upon the
body’s comfort levels.
Air quality is an essential factor to consider in
controlling humidity within a building.
Poor air quality can lead to damp problems and even the formation of mould,
which can be damaging to both human health and the structure of a
building. A well ventilated room allows
fresh air to circulate whilst extracting excess moisture from the air. This can be achieved by using double glazed
windows with trickle vents, the use of extractor fans within bathrooms which do
not have a window, which is common with the construction of flats in the
UK. Windows are a preferable choice for
bathroom, but if space is at a premium bathrooms are often internal and
therefore rely on extractor fans to maintain the air quality and moisture.
Air velocity is related to the speed of the air
moving across the user of a building and can assist with cooling if the air is
cooler than the environmental temperature.
It is important to consider this factor as still or stagnant air due to
artificial heating can cause discomfort, and can lead to viruses or colds
spreading. The use of air conditioning
units has now become more prevalent in construction as they cool air and introduce
the cooler air to within a building.
Humidity is related to the amount of water held in
the air within a building. It is the
ratio of water vapour to air which will increase and decrease in relation to
the air temperature. In older buildings
where air conditioning is not in-situ or where the external weather conditions,
humidity can be increased.
Light Levels and
The light content within a building will have a
direct effect upon the person using the building. Natural light will change throughout the day
and indeed as the seasons change.
Natural light is improved within a building via the use of appropriate
and effective windows. The more windows,
the more light will happen upon the building.
However, as discussed, as natural light changes,
illumination will be achieved by the use of appropriate lumieres. The use of a building will affect the choice
of lumieres, for example offices will require different lighting to that of a
domestic dwelling. Light within a room
will also be affected by the interior design as the use of dark coloured paints
and furniture will absorb the light. The
use of lighter colours and furniture will reflect and refract light around the
Light levels are measured in terms of lux and
specific lux meter will give the readings measured in lux. On a project that I recently worked on we had
reconfigured and refurbished a large office room, which included painting the
walls, new carpets, new ceiling tiles and lighting. The users of the room complained the lighting
was affecting their health with increased complaints of headaches and sick
days. It was found that the combination
of the colour on the walls, the new ceiling tiles and carpets were directly
affecting the lux levels to create an unhealthy working environment. Drawing upon this personal experience I am
able to understand that there are several factors to consider for light levels
Sound levels can have an effect on a person’s
mental health and wellbeing. Increased
sounds can reduce activity levels in a work setting and reduce comfort in a
domestic dwelling. Therefore, the use of
effective materials such as insulation is an effective tool in reducing sound
travel as sound is carried via vibration and the insulation can reduce and
As discussed it is important to consider the above
factors, individually and as a combination in the design stage of a project in
order to create an ambient environment for the user of a building. However, as stated, some of these factors
will be subjective as what is considered ambient for one person, may be
uncomfortable for another, so a suitable, average compromise will need to be
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_comfort Accessed 21st November 2018
http://www.hse.gov.uk/temperature/thermal/factors.htm Accessed 20th November 2018
Discuss how to integrate
building services into the overall building design.
Provide a high level of
research on how to integrate building services into a building.
Discuss the importance on the
interdependence and how it affects the integration of services into the overall
For the proposed block of flats any developer will be looking to achieve
the best profit that they can. This
means that space is at a premium and therefore it is important that building
services are considered at design stage in order to allow optimum use of the
For a block of flats this is an important factor to consider as it needs
to allow for the provision of utilities and services to multiple domestic
dwellings, thereby utilising the space effectively and realising economies of scale
for the purchase of materials.
The individual flats will require energy supply, either gas, electricity
or possibly both. Therefore, it is
imperative that local providers are contacted early to enable you to obtain
information relative to location and proximity of services.
Once this information has been received it will have a direct impact
upon the design of the energy supply, as it will be preferable not to have
large runs of cables which would have a negative impact upon the budget and
In the use of a gas supply it is preferable, where possible to introduce
the gas service pipe on the side which is nearest to the main, so it is
important to factor this into the design.
The service pipe should never pass under the foundations of the
structure as this could be potentially dangerous and life threatening as it
will impede access to the pipe should there be an issue in the future.
Installation of energy supply must be carried out by an appropriately
Each flat within the proposed project will require an adequate supply water,
which should be of drinking quality. An
effective design will ensure that there is not unnecessary consumption of this
precious commodity whilst also reducing and preventing waste. It is important to avoid long runs of
pipework to points which have very little use. Pipework which distributes
drinking or cold water must not be in direct contact with hot water or heating
pipework, which will affect the design.
Pipes will also require room for expansion and contraction.
It is important that regulations are complied with in the design and
construction of the flats. Building
regulations will set out the minimum standard required in order to obtain
compliance. They will be concerned with
(inclusive but not exhaustive):
efficiencyDisabled accessFire safety
Following the tragedy at Grenfell Towers in 2017, there has been a rush
to ensure that cladding on buildings, including blocks of flat meet the
required fire safety compliance standards.
It has also been realised that building regulations and compliance
guidelines change frequently, and can be confusing as to what is deemed to be
safe. It is therefore imperative that an
appropriately qualified Fire Safety Advisor is procured to ensure
Access to Services
Installation of services will need to consider future, safe access for
maintenance or repair, so an easy access route is imperative. Therefore, it is important to consider the
location and weight of any plant within the block of flats.
As all services will require a level of maintenance, it is preferable to
consider the use of equipment and materials which is considered low maintenance
to reduce the lifetime costs and inconvenience of equipment or material
failure. It will also be important to
factor in reliable equipment and services which will also compliment the use of
low maintenance items. Low maintenance
equipment and materials should also offer good energy efficiency in order to
reduce energy consumption.
In order to ensure that the block of flats are appealing to potential
tenants or purchasers, the aesthetics of the finished construction are an
important factor to consider in the detailed design phase. The design should be sympathetic to its
Whilst it is generally preferable in modern construction for services to
be hidden, some refurbishment projects can actually utilise the services to
enhance the project by creating a design feature. For example, exposed ceiling voids to create
a popular, modern warehouse effect and look.
An appropriate design will require effective communication by all
parties included in the design stages.
It is important for all parties, such as the Architect and Mechanical
and Electrical Engineer (M&E), to work closely together. The Architect will produce the concept design
which will enable the M&E to confirm if the design is possible and makes
optimum use of the building services within the building envelope, whilst
maximising usable space.
Meaningful drawings are essential for the design. The final, detailed design will have
incorporated all of the necessary factors such as M&E, required to consider
how the building services required will be integrated. The accurate design will then enable the
contractor to construct as per the detailed design.
In previous years the design and construction of a building were often
carried out as separate operations.
However, with designers and constructors being encouraged to collaborate
more closely in order to realise improved efficiencies has led to recognition
of the interdependence for the various parts of design.
In carrying out this task it is apparent that building services are an
important factor that will influence and affect the final design for the block
of flats. It is necessary to consider
the space required for the services and with effective communication and
meaningful drawings it may indeed become obvious on how to improve and enhance the
design to increase the usable space, as well as providing safe, appropriate
access to services. Therefore, it is
imperative that all aspects of the design are considered as a whole, to ensure
a cohesive design.
Accessed 20th November 2018
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Building_regulations_in_the_United_Kingdom Accessed 20th November 2018
https://www.slideshare.net/BarseraterLax/building-services-2-assignment-55699024 Accessed 21st November 2018
Planning and Monitoring Design Work by EJ Coles and CMH Barritt 2000
The design team is examining different
options in order to improve the thermal performance of the block of flats. Produce a report setting out the principles
of heat gains and losses and give examples of the calculation of U values for
the three different types of wall construction provided.
Provide a report with a suitable
comparison structure, with the use of appropriate technical language to explain
the principles of heat gains and losses and that the U values calculations.
Demonstrate a high level of
understanding of thermal performance.
You must have fully detailed your report on heat gains and losses,
giving a detailed calculation of the U values for the wall types.
In order to improve the thermal performance of the block of flats it is
important to understand the principles of heat gains and losses and understand
how to calculate U values for different types of materials. Different properties and characteristics will
influence the thermal resistance which a material can provide, and is known as
Heating Losses and Gains
It was Sir Isaac Newton who stated that “all matter seeks equilibrium”. Therefore,
we can understand that cold air will seek out warm air and mix together. Heat transfer, also known as conduction is
the transfer of heat through solid objects of a building, like walls, ceilings
and floors. A higher resistance will
offer a reduction of heat loss. The rate
of heat transfer will be affected by the air temperature either side of the
materials and physical properties which the heat is passing through. All buildings will experience heat loss to
the outside and also gain heat from the outside.
An example of heat transfer in the construction of the block of flats
would be evidenced in the divide, the two spaces of a wall. This can apply to internal to external areas
and internal to internal areas. When
considering the build-up of a wall and calculating the heat transfer, this is
known as the heat gains and losses. When considering the materials for the
construction it will have a direct effect upon the selection of equipment used
within the building to produce heat and to cool, as the equipment must be able
to produce heat or cool at a rate that matches the heat loss or gain.
A U value is the calculation of the thermal resistance or heat loss of
all the components which are used to create the structure. It is the overall heat transfer coefficient
which describes the behaviour of a material and how it conducts heat. Building Regulations
have set out the standard U values for the walls of domestic properties at 0.15
for new builds. This is to realise
energy efficiency by preventing waste.
Calculating the U value will allow you to know how much energy is lost
through the fabric of the property. The
U value is the inverse of the total resistance.
You need to first calculate it, considering the internal and external
Thermal conduction is the process in which heat energy is transferred
through a material. Materials are
comprised of molecules and atoms packed together. When heat is applied to an area of the
material it causes the molecules or atoms to move and vibrate which creates
Thermal convection is the process in which heat energy is transferred
using the natural element of air/gas by either a natural cycle of movement of
the forced movement with a machine. The
movement tends to favour a circular motion as hot air will rise, thereby
causing cooler air to take its place, which then rises due to becoming warmer,
while the rising hot air will then cool and drop, and so forth and so on in a continuous
Thermal radiation is the process by which heat is transferred without
the need for direct contact of particles.
The energy is in the form of waves, known as inferred radiation which is
a type of electromagnetic radiation. It
allows the heat to travel in the form of waves, independent of any material
being present, such as with microwave ovens and x-ray machines.
Examples of Calculations of U
Below is an example of standard thermal conductivities, taken from the
Calculate Total Resistance for
the Three Examples Given
See attached spreadsheet, with a tab for each example.
From the calculations it is apparent that Example 2 offers the lowest U
value score compared with the other examples and therefore has the best
From my research for this assignment I am aware of the importance of
consideration for human comfort levels, how to integrate building services and
calculating U values early on in the design stage of a project. When these factors have been considered there
are ways to reduce possible negative effects, and meaningful communication is
imperative to produce an effective and appropriate design. However, as discussed some of the factors
relating to human comfort levels will be subjective, so there needs to be an
approach which can provide a comfortable solution for the majority.
http://www.mrhvac.com/2011/05/02/heat-gain-and-loss-explained/ Accessed 21st November
https://www.cibsejournal.com/cpd/modules/2011-06/ Accessed 21st November
Building Services Engineering 3rd
Edition by David V Chadderton 2000