SANS 10400-A Quick Guide

energy efficiency changing light bulbs Sigmadoors


As of now, the South African National Building Regulations requires each of the following regulations to be adhered:

  • SANS 10400 XA1

    This regulation stipulates that buildings are to be able to use energy efficiently and be able to reduce the overall greenhouse gas emissions, which is in accordance with the present set of requirements.

  • SANS 10400 XA2

    Under this regulation, it has been said that no more than 50% of the total volume of domestic hot water is to be supplied using electrical resistance heating mechanisms. Case in point, 50% of the heated water, either for domestic purposes or in organizations has to be heated with other sources other than via mechanisms other than electricity.

  • SANS 10400 XA3

    Basically, the compliance of the SANS 10400 XA1 method has to be at all times achieved using any one of these methods. If a building practitioner builds in accordance with SNAS 10400-XA, then such a building is deemed to comply with the National Building Regulation XA1.

So, what is the role of the government in all this? The South African government has to try and make sure that it defends and aid in the implementation of these regulations via the mechanisms and means which are used to control the construction of new buildings.


From the foregoing, it is vital to note that the main target are the buildings which do consume energy as a result of human occupancy. From this, t is paramount that all the new buildings should try as much as possible and comply with the constructions regulations and standards, and so should any sort of extensions to these buildings. However, it is important to note that if a building is not in any way affected with the standards, then any sort of addition to the building has to be set and fitted to comply with the SANS 10400 regulations.

Moreover, renovations which are not the same as extensions have to also comply with the newer SANS 10400 regulations, if these are to be allowed by the local authorities. However, it is crucial to note that buildings like garages which don’t form part of the habitable area don’t have to comply with these regulations ? holding true for the likes of factories and other operational aspects of any business.SANS 10400 aluminium windows and doors aluminium doors for sale sliding doors for sale aluminium doors cape town aluminium window installation standard aluminium window sizes sliding door installation sliding glass doors prices glassdoor front doors door installation aluminium double doors wispeco


Form the actual wording of regulation XA3, SANS 10400 -XA is indeed certified to achieve compliance regulations and requirements. Thus, if you wish to comply with the regulations then you have to start with the XA3document which can easily be obtained from for a small fee. Moreover, for compliance to be possible, then three main conditions have to be certified by an architect. These are:

  • The performance route.

  • The perspective route.

  • The Reference Building Route.

Of the three, the most common compliance route is the perspective route. This is generally available for all persons, meaning that it will be used more often in houses and buildings.

What this rule requires is that a set of rules is followed when it comes to water heating, insulation or any sort of glazing. On the other hand, compliance via the performance route or the reference building route may be achieved by the use of rational design using a competent person. With that, it is therefore paramount to note that hotels are by chance the only residential buildings to which performance routes may be applicable as this may not be used in actual residential homes. So, after this, it is best to understand some of the best and rational designs to comply with.


To be able to answer these question, a number of things have to be taken into account on the norm. These are:


This is basically some sort of a document which has been prepared by the Competent Person – Energy, then submitted along with the plans for some sort of approval. What this document has include:

  • All the credentials of the Competent Person _ Energy.
  • The type of methodology which will be used in the implementation of modeling energy usage.
  • The preferred option when it comes to energy modelling software as well as its suitability in which case the energy modelling software has to be sanctioned by Agreement South Africa.
  • The overall results of the energy modelling process.
  • The overall opinion of the Competent Person – Energy in terms of the building compliance.


Form 1 Form 2 Form 3 SANS 10400 SigmadoorsUsually, the owner of the building is the person considered to be responsible for the compliance with SANS 10400 -XA regulations. However, the owner may decide to appoint another professional to be in his/her place as a foreseer for the overall process. These people may include draughtsman, architects or designers who are well versed with the development of buildings. One of these is finale taken as the appointed person. At this point usually, when the plans are submitted to the council, a decision will have been made as to which route to take in compliance with the SANS 10400 -XA regulations. As such, if a Performance route or the Reference Building Route is chosen, then by default it is about time that the Competent Person – Energy gets chosen.


As seen above, one may either decide to be the Responsible person or may actually employ another person who is well versed in the area to be the competent person. If another person is chosen then this becomes the Competent Person – Energy. So, in a nutshell, the competent person is none other than the person who has the experience, skills and knowledge in some specific area so as to be able to make a determination in terms of the functional SANS 10400 regulations. However, in the specific contents, a Competent Person – Energy will be the skilled expert, either a mechanical engineer or architect who has at one time undertaken the appropriate course pertaining to the SANS 10400 -XA regulations on Energy Usage in Buildings.


When the plans have all been set, then it is the role of the Appointed Person to inform the local authorities as well as the Building Control Officer on the compliance route that has been chosen. This he/she has to do by simply completing a set of four main documents, starting from form one all the way to form four. These are usually the standardized SABS forms which include a checklist that indicates on the client’s choice of compliance route supposed to be submitted to the local authorities. This you may get from So, what are these forms all about?


    This section mainly focuses on the role of the Appointed Person where the person has to be the one to make a declaration focusing on the means by which the SANS 10400 -XA regulations have to be satisfied when following the Energy Efficiency in Buildings. If the Performance Route or the Reference Building Route is followed then the Appointed Person has to in this case supply the name of the Competent Person. After this, the homeowner or establishment owner and the Appointed Person has to sign this form and it has to be submitted to the Building Control Officer at the end accompanied with the plans.


    In this step, the Competent Person – Energy is the one who is going to indicate that he or she has accepted the role for all the energy related duties, simply by signing the second form. It is this section that will include the declarations that he/she has the qualification, knowledge and contextual experience necessary to be able to undertake that work. So, before all these have been approved, then the local authority has to approve the competent person – energy as being the best for the specific job. This can be done by ascertaining that the mentioned candidate or the Approved Person has some form of training or has been listed in the Building Control Website. As having attended the appropriate personal training. You have to however note that this second form is not needed for the Perspective Route model.


    This step will only be acceptable if the Competent Person – Energy is required, for making sure that the person is the best for the task at hand. This form also has the second part which will convey the critical design information concerned with building energy performance. The third section only specifies the areas of responsibility to which the Competent Person – Energy?s expertise is relevant.


    Here, the Competent Person – Energy has to make sure that they complete and sign a Certification of Completion based the 4th Standard form as soon as the building is finished to make sure that the building has been constructed in accordance with the approved Rational Design. It is this person who will also retain the role of seeing all energy aspects of some project through competition. However, you have to note that in this case, if the energy efficiency route is followed, then the energy efficiency in buildings check box option doesn’t have to be ticked.

With that said, it is now best to understand the three options which are there for allowing for energy efficiency via construction.


The route to compliance SANS 10400 SigmadoorsSince this option does not actually require actual appointment of a Competent Person – Energy, then this is the method which most architects are most likely to adopt on the long run. Mostly, the newer architects are the ones who are going to home this method more than the seasonal or experienced architects. With this choice comes three main questions to consider.


    This route is generally available to all the persons. What this entails is none other than make sure that the design and the materials all follow all relevant provisions SANS 10400 -XA and some of the provisions of SANS 204. Why is this very simple? It is the easiest of all the methods since in this case the Competent Person – Energy is not required.


    In this section, the building has to be designed and built in such a way that it is in line with some of the mentioned features in the following paragraph. These requirements should all satisfy the below implications generally.
    – At least 50% of all the hot-water demand has to be met by other means other than the electric resistance heating.
    – Roof or some ceiling installations is actually needed and has to meet minimum requirements based on the climatic zone as well as the roof material.
    – Insulation is needed for all the exposed hot-water pipes.
    – No matter the condition, insulation is actually needed for the non-masonry walls.
    – Should there be a floor insulation, then there is the need for in-slab heating.
    – Some shading devices or other performance glazing skill is needed where the glass area are larger than 15% of the overall floor area.
    – Other building services which use energy or at times control the use of energy have to be provided in accordance with the SANS 204.
    -Moreover, all the orientation requirements in accordance with SANS 204 are non-mandatory, owing to the fact that fenestration design can be able to compensate for sub-optimal orientation.
    Usually, this method of compliance has to be chosen by the Appointed Person on the earlier stages of the project.


    To be able to meet the minimum prerequisites of the prescriptive route, then the architect in this case has to make sure that he/she indicates on the Schedule A form that it is this route which is actually being considered. This is done by ticking the first 7 boxes which are under the XA: Energy Efficiency in Buildings section. Moreover, the architect has to also communicate either each of the following on to the local authorities either on an attached schedule or on the actual plans. These include the likes of:
    – Water heating.
    In this section, you have to simply things such as the capacity, location and the choices of water heating which are available. Moreover, there should be an indication that at least more than 50% of the total water being heated has to be heated with mechanisms other than electrical resistance means.
    – Insulation.

Here, there are four main insulation areas that have to be considered in general. For instance, you have to consider:
i) Roof and ceiling installations – You simply have to specify the insulation type as well as the
total thickness which is needed so as to achieve minimum total R-Value for insulation. This
is usually based on the climatic value as well as the roofing material of choice.
ii) Hot-water pipes – Here, you should specify the minimum R-Value for the insulation on all
the exposed water pipes as stipulated in the pipe diameter requirements. Case in point,
pipes which have an internal diameter of less than about 80mm need an insulation touch
up of a minimum R-value of 1,0. However, all the other types of pipes should have a
diameter with a minimum R-value of 1,5.
iii) Non-masonry external walls – If the building has got non-masonry external walls, then
you have to specify the insulation so as to achieve the actual needed R-value, which is
usually determined by the wall materials and the climatic zone. Usually, zones 1 ad 6
need a total R-value of about 2,2 while zones 2 all the way to 5 need a minimum of 1,9.
iv) Underfloor heating – Usually, if the building has an in-slab heating, then you have to
specify under the slab-insulation with a minimum R-value of 1,0.
– Glazed areas.
in this section, the total glazed area including such as windows have to be taken into account. Moreover, the net floor area and the total glazed area have to be taken as a percentage of the net floor area. With the results:
i) If this is more than 15%, then the fenestration has to be designed to comply with the
SANS 204 based on the graph calculation which may actually need additional
specifications of performance such as glazing or some shading over the glazed glass.
ii) Should it be less than 15%, then no additional requirements will need to be satisfied.

Since this area has actually dwelled more on the R-value, what really defines the R-value of a material? This is none other than the thermal resistance of a material. You may also think of it as the ability of a material to prevent heat from passing via it. This may be obtained by simply dividing the thickness of the material by the actual thermal conductivity. Generally, coming up with a building shell so as to achieve a specific prescribed R-value makes it easier to achieve comfortable indoor temperatures despite external temperature changes. This hence needs less energy or heat for cooling.


Competent Person - energy SANS 10400 SigmadoorsFrom the foregoing, it is paramount to realize that there has been a consistent emphasis on replacing the existent electric water heating option. Each of these will be discussed below in details and hence the most applicable option can easily be drawn.


    South Africa is one of those countries which have abundant sunlight and hence it would be ideal to harness the suns energy. Doing this can actually save up to 25% to 40% on electricity power which is literally wasted on geysers generated electricity. Usually, there are a number of solar water heaters which are available in a number of shapes as well as forms which actually impact on their cost, energy efficiency as well as the aesthetic beauty. Usually, there are three main options, namely:
    These actually take the benefit of hot water behavior of rising above cold water. This usually
    allow natural water circulation without the need for an electric pump and hence cheaper on
    the long haul. With these systems, it is paramount that the tank be placed well above the
    collector plate, most preferably on the roof.
    With these, there is a bit of electricity which is actually needed to allow the circulation of
    However, you have to note that this mechanism does ensure that the tank is not
    exposed to the environment, rather it is concealed under the roof or within the house.  Nonetheless, both of these options may have electricity as a backup in the event that there is no enough sunlight to warm the water to the required temperature for the convention cycle to commence.
    Flat plate.
    This option basically collects the sun’s rays using a weatherproof box which, fitted with a
    glass cover.
    Evacuated tube.
    Usually, the evacuated tube contains a series of parallel glass tubes which it uses. These are
    more designed for the cold climatic conditions, and usually they reach higher water
    temperatures than the flat-plate systems.


    Water can actually be heated by simply extracting heat from the atmosphere via the use of heat pumps. This actually uses about 50% – 70% less electricity than the actual electrical water heater. This basically resembles some sort of an air conditioner unit which is attached to the exterior of a building and basically connected to a geyser on the inside. Usually, since these don not need any sort of roof space or direct sunlight, then these are easier to incorporate in houses as well as tailoring to suit the actual home design.


    Owing to the fact that the wording of the SANS 10400 -XA is not perspective, this leaves the choice of technology which is actually open to invention and innovation. Case in point, there are other mechanisms which may be considered, the likes that recover heat from household items, such as from the fireplace, stove or actually make good use of combustible fuel like sawdust and gas.


Usually, this is some sort of an alternative in the event that the Prescriptive option somehow poses a lot of technical difficulties. In such a case, the team of developers may actually decide to go after compliance using other alternative methods like the Reference Building Route. Most of the times, this option does allow for greater flexibility as well as creativity, which in effect allows the team of professionals to be able to realize energy performance. 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.


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 test 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 combat this role by simply conducting computer modelling or asking for some assistance say from ICT experts on this field.


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?SANS 10400 regulations.


So as to be able to conform with the requirements of the 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 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 Persons.
  • Form 3 – this form has to be completed and signed as well by the owner and the Competent Person.
  • 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.


Suppose you are planning on having your new building or you may wish to have some renovations to an existing establishment, what things should you know about the overall process? If in case you are to come up with a building which actually adheres to all the strict compliances for building industries, what does this actually mean in the fenestration industry?

For one, you have to know that all the fenestration systems, regardless of the framing materials should be thoroughly tested and comply with the SANS 613:2011 certifications. What this basically means is that they have to conform to the required mechanical performance criteria. Such may include deflection, water penetration, structural strength and any sort of air infiltration. Moreover, other factors which are deemed vital are the U-value as well as the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of the fenestration system which is being constructed ? and these should be available to either the consumer or the professional undertaking the work.

As of now, it has been seen that it is also vital set up insulations in roofs and perchance floors. So, the objective in this case and the main goal of energy efficiency standards is to be able to curb the GHG air pollution by simply reducing the operational energy consumption of newly constructed buildings, while at the same time taking care of the overall comfort and amenity.

So, if you are looking to achieve energy efficiency with the best standards, you can visit the link provided above – and download your copy which will describe:

  • SANS 10400 -XA – Energy efficiency in buildings.
  • SANS 204 – Application of energy requirements for buildings with natural environment control.

So, if at one time the need to calculate the energy efficiency of the resultant building arises, it may easily be achieved by using the SANS 10400 Calculator application. This was designed as the overall calculation processes are way time consuming and hence the need to aid designers better the overall energy efficiency without foregoing any valuable aspect of the project.

Energy effiency electrical consumption SigmadoorsUsually, there are two versions of the application since different business have different needs as well as facilities and structures. There is the online version and the offline downloadable version of the same. The downloadable version is best for Desktop computers or laptops while the online version uses a third party storage meaning that it can be accessed from a tablet or phones as long as there is internet connectivity.

How accurate is this application? Clearly, this is one of the best means for calculation the energy efficiency of a building as it has a database full of all the information as well as the tables as per the SANS 10400 -XA and the SANS 204specifications. Moreover, the presence of the Autodesk Revit integration allows the user of the application to be able to import fenestration details from their personal Revit drawings and models, then perform calculations and hence be able to experiment with alternative building materials of choice prior to finishing and furnishing their actual design.

However, it is important to note that while constructing from existing data may help in speeding up the calculations, the application will still be usable for those who are not currently using Revit. This will thus allow the users to be able to enter all the information manually and hence cater for the projects that are already present on printed media or perchance other applications like AutoCAD, ZWCAD or AllyCAD among others. Nonetheless, it is important to note that all the modules from SANS 10400 -XA and SANS 204 energy efficient document are included in both SANSCalc application. Moreover, the reporting system in this case includes the ability to satisfy fenestration calculations, roof and wall insulations as well as peak energy demand which includes the annual energy usage such as lighting as stated in the SANS 10400 -XA and SANS 204 regulations.

So, what is the good thing about this application? Well, for one, the application is user friendly as well as user considerate. What does this mean? Firstly, a user is free to use the free trial version of the set for a maximum period of 15 days. After this, if the application is not appealing in any way, then the user may revert the purchase and get compensated their funds. However, if they like it, they may purchase it and the real beauty of the application will be realized here.

It is able to run on multiple devices which means that you are able to not only install it on your desktop, you can use it whilst en-route on your laptop or mobile phones ? incredible! Nevertheless, this application will help you provide some sort of a follow up on the project by generating reports as opposed to only calculating the energy efficiency for the project. With this, one can draw important information such as the next way forward as well as be able to plan the project’s funds based on the collected information.


The other major thing that should be considered in this step is the performance requirements, based on the different zones within the country, as stated above in ?what should be done to follow the prescriptive route?. These are areas which have different climatic influence and these have been tabulated below:

1 Cold Interior Johannesburg, Bloemfontein
2 Temperate Interior Pretoria, Polokwane
3 Hot Interior Makhado (Louis Trichardt), Nelspruit
4 Temperature Coastal Cape Town, Port Elizabeth
5 Sub-tropical Coastal East London, Durban, Richard Bay
6 Arid Interior Upington, Kimberly.


Using the above table, and the in text description under ?what should be done to follow the prescriptive route?, I tis clear that different areas have different energy performance requirements and hence the reason as to why these have to be considered when selecting the best materials for the project at hand. Irrespective of how efficient a material may appear to be, this is not the case in real sense since it is the context within which it will be used that will indeed reflect on the overall performance of the material ? all the more important to keep this factor in check.


So, from the overall discussion, and considering what the reality is at the moment, it is worth noting that energy efficiency has been more of a choice than a mandatory requirement. However, it is worth noting that dating back to 2011, it was then that energy preservation was not only noted as being a voluntary act, but also deemed to be more of a required regulatory act, in the construction of future establishments. These new regulations are what this entire section has been putting emphasis on: SANS 10400 – XA and SANS 204. However, had a project been started earlier to the introduction of this rule ? which is of course not the case now ? then all that had to be done was simply submit an application to the Local Authority within 6 months of the certification’s publication date – requiring that the application be dealt with, as per the previous regulations that were in play.

Aluminium double glazed windows energy efficiency SigmadoorsSo, what really does energy efficiency focus on? For one, this should not be confused with the “green building” notion which is more concerned with the embodied energy and other renewable materials like timber, but this is more of ?after the building has been erected to completion?. As such, some of the main issues which actually affect energy efficiency once a building has been erected include window sizing, positioning, shading, materials chosen, solar heating natural cooling and day lighting among other factors.

Therefore, it is important to note that it is the design and planning of the mentioned aspects which are actually stipulate by the newly set regulations. Usually, the SANS 10400 -XA serves the role of providing the deemed-to-satisfy – energy requirements need for the compliance with National Building Regulations concerning energy usage while the SANS 204 is more concerned with specifying the actual design requirements so as to achieve the needed levels of energy efficiency on the long run. For instance, an example of a deemed to satisfy energy prerequisite when the fenestration is taken into account is where the total floor area is about 15%.

As such, such a building is actually assumed not to overheat or loose excess heat as a result of fenestration, if all the other energy requirements are all met. However, if the floor area is over 15%, which is in the case for most non-economic types of housing, then in such a case, a reference table depicting the requirement for the various environment conditions has to be used as a reference. Nonetheless, it is important to note that the success or not of achieving energy efficiency is actually the sum of many parts, considering the above given example.

With this, it is important to understand some examples of specification requirements which are to be considered for various types of household parts.


    For the non-masonry, this has to be set at somewhere around a maximum of R-Value of R2,2 in the climatic zones 1 and 6 while this has to be altered and set to an R-Value of 1,9 in the zones 2,3,4 and 5.


    From the foregoing, the insulation of the roof has been determined as one of the single best factors which tend to affect or rather impact on the overall energy efficiency. This makes this area to be one of the most considered when aiming at energy efficiency.
    Usually, the minimum R-Value of roof assembly is set to about R3,7 for zones 1 and 4 with other zones being realistically way lesser. What this means using an example is that for a clay roof for instance, when once one deducts the R value, then another 3.3 of R-value is actually needed by simply adding the insulation. Nevertheless, this amounts to about 150mm of basic cellulose fiber insulation. On the other hand, if roofs with exposed rafters are brought into the picture, then this is going to automatically change the mechanism which will be used to detail the construction of the roof.


    Usually, and from the foregoing, it is very clear that 50% of the total water heating energy should come to sources other than the resistance electricity. This therefore means that aside basic water heating from the likes of geysers which use some relative amount of electricity, this has to be averted all together and hence the reasons as to why better energy efficiency methods have to be given some thought fast.


    At this point, it is very paramount that lighting has to be specified as opposed to the previous case where it was only mentioned that lighting has to be considered. Instead, the lighting aspect has to be given the seriousness which it deserves. This has to in effect take into consideration the likes of light levels, energy demand as well as the consumption of energy.

Basically, at this point, designers have a lot to process. This is because with the newer and emerging regulations, the designers have to cope with the changes whether they like it or not. Nonetheless, it has been noted that for one to be recognized as the competent person then they have to have undergone some previous training and recognized to have done so. This will make sure that the chosen Competent Persons have indeed accomplished and gone through all skill instilling practices such as learning how to calculate the required energy efficiency as well as being able to formulate plans and projects with the urgency it deserves.

Though some of the experts in the field and other newbies have actually proposed some adjustments to the newer policies, this is best left as is. Why is that so? There are very many emerging global issues appertaining to the global energy efficiency campaign. This is why the South African nation should also make sure that it complies with the new rules and regulations so as to better on the global levels.