Big Devon March

The Big Devon March is a month-long challenge to see which Devon workplace can achieve the most steps, organised by Active Devon. Charlotte, Office Manager at AES Sustainability Consultants, put together a team to encourage her fellow colleagues to move more during a working day.

“I am aware the amount of time people spend sitting down has been linked to poor health and long-term medical conditions but I am as guilty as my fellow colleagues and regularly sit at my desk too long during the working day, so I thought some healthy competition would make us all more aware of the damage we are doing to ourselves by not moving regularly.” Charlotte LW

Studies have linked excessive sitting with being overweight and obese, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and early death. We cannot ignore that research, we must act now to protect our health for the future.

100 Step Challenge


Our team consisted of 26 employees, we noticed a difference from day one; parking down the road instead of the car park to get in some extra steps, walking over to talk to colleagues instead of emailing and group walks together at lunch time.




“I wasn’t sure this would really change my routine much, given I was pretty active beforehand, but once I got going it did actually make me want to do more and be more active.” Fraser B


“It made me rethink. By using an activity tracker and seeing the difference in steps on days when I have actively trained vs. days with little activity. Therefore after the challenge I am trying to introduce more casual activities like walking to the shops to keep a fairly consistent step record throughout the week.” Maggie S


“I just wanted to beat Jono” Fraser B

Lunchtime Walk

We came 34th (out of 101). We are really proud of our team for their consistent effort throughout the month and really backing this challenge. We hope the outcome of this is that we are more mindful during the working day and choose to move more and sit less.

Position Member Total Steps 
1 Fraser B 534,442
2 Jono 525,460
3 Ed 459,990
4 Alex 400,157
5 Alice 398,146
6 Charlotte D 345,389
7 Ella 343,104
8 Ross 329,098
9 Mitch 305,873
10 Maggie 270,666
11 Max 260,649
12 Laura 240,538
13 Anna 222,028
14 Charlotte LW 213,948
15 Row 206,733
16 Lindsey 201,233
17 Sarah 200,218
18 Andrew 197,661
19 Mel 185,505
20 Aaron 159,643
21 Kat 156,498
22 Fraser H 147,414
23 Kieran 138,355
24 Lisa 88,117
25 Yasmin 52,105
26 Ben 9,300
Total 6,592,270

Fingle Bridge Branscombe to Beer


Articles on the subject:



London Plan Update

The latest draft of the New London Plan was published in August 2018, and once it has been through examination in public it is expected to be adopted towards the end of 2019 or early 2020.

The draft plan contains a number of policy changes relating to sustainable construction and carbon emissions reduction, which are likely to have a material impact on energy strategies for new development. In advance of adoption, updated guidance on the calculation of carbon emissions for new developments from January 2019 has also been published, so some of the changes will impact all new applications from the start of this year.

We have reviewed the policy and supporting documents and produced a summary of the key impacts and things that our clients should be aware of – for further details please contact our office to discuss how we can help.

Reducing the performance gap with BREEAM

  The BREEAM UK New Construction 2018, was released earlier this year. The updated scheme has a number of changes including methods and guidance to address the ever-widening energy performance gap between buildings design versus in use.

Recent data has shown that the gap between the predicted and actual energy performance of new building is significant, with actual performance often between 2 to 10 times higher than that determined by compliance calculations calculated at design. The performance gap has to be closed rapidly, if we are to meet our carbon emission targets.

  BREEAM UK NC 2018 has introduced Predicted Operational Energy Consumption (POEC) modelling and analysis which will help highlight where buildings are not performing as expected, allowing the designs to be appropriately adapted to improve efficiency as far as reasonably possible.

Up to 6 credits are directly associated with the POEC modelling. AES Sustainability Consultants can help you achieve these credits, but more importantly will highlight solutions for energy efficiency, helping to close the performance gap meaning a reduction in ongoing running costs.

  AES has over 12 years’ experience in addressing energy performance and have developed a cost-conscious approach to addressing the performance gap using POEC modelling.

If you would like more information on this please feel free to contact Claire Stone our in-house energy expert.

BREEAM Knowledge Sharing Ambassador

Yasmin Spain, one of our Sustainability Consultants, whom sits within the BREEAM team, has been invited to be a BREEAM Knowledge Sharing Ambassador.

BREEAM Knowledge Sharing Ambassador

“BREEAM Knowledge Sharing Ambassadors are a group of Sustainable Construction Professionals representing key and diverse stakeholder groups involved with BREEAM and related construction sustainability tools. The group meet, collaborate on, create and promote knowledge sharing of key information needed in the industry to accelerate the uptake of sustainability in the built environment.”

Our Armistice Stories 

Our Armistice Stories 

As 2018 marked 100 years since the end of the First World War, AES choose to commemorate the centenary of the First World War by inviting our staff to share their families’ stories… 

Private E. Daubney of Wiltshire Regiment
Private E. Daubney (Middle)


“My Great Grandfather, Private E. Daubney of Wiltshire Regiment lied about his date of birth in order to become a solider in 1916 (as he was not yet 17). His mother wrote to the India War Office applying for him to be sent home. In the meantime, Private E. Daubney was shot in battle during the Mesopotamia Campaign (British and Indian troops fought against the Ottoman Turks in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) between 1914 and 1918), he survived and was sent to a hospital in India. He later died in his 80’s in Sidmouth, Devon.” Alex Brooks, Director 




John James Tarrant
John James Tarrant (Right)



“John James Tarrant was conscripted into the army before being killed in the “Battle of the Menin Road Ridge” in the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917.  He left a widow and two children John (my Great Grandad) and Albert who were both under the age of 5.” Yasmin Spain, BREEAM Consultant 






“My grandfather, Maurice Hopkins, fought in France in 1916, he was born in 1900. As he was small, being only 16, he was often posted in a forward advancing trench and from his position would feedback information on enemy movements. From his post he reported a large caterpillared vehicle identified later as an early tank.

He was also the first member of his battalion to be mustard gassed and although he lived into his 80’s, he attributed this to the fact the never grew any body hair including never having to shave! He was captured and served time in in a prisoner of war camp, during a failed escape he was shot in the leg and was returned to the camp where he resided to the end of the war. During that time he gave his great-coat to another prisoner of war planning an escape and as a reward was given an ebony cane with a silver top by an officer. My uncle still has this. To the day he died he claimed a bullet was still lodged in his knee.

He told none of his stories of gallantry until he was on his death bed and chastised anyone who did as glorifying war. Only a very few members of my family know his full service record and I believe he will rest in peace knowing the details will die with them.” Fraser Hall, DALTEC Director 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank those members of staff who shared their story and their precious pictures. 

Newland Homes

LABC Regional Winner

Congratulations Newland Homes 

AES are proud to have worked with Newland Homes on their Cotswold Edge development in Mickleton, which has been named as the Best Development in the West of England at the prestigious LABC Building Excellence Awards 2018.

“Cotswold Edge is an excellent example of the care and attention that we put into all of our developments.  To have won the title of Best Development is testament to the expertise and dedication of all the Newland Homes teams involved in the design, planning and sales of these homes.” 

“We pride ourselves on building great homes and communities.  The properties at Mickleton feature Cotswold stone and slate where possible to blend in with the local vernacular and a mix of traditional homes and bungalows in response to local demand.  We’ve also supported the local community through our time building on the site, including sponsoring events as well as providing funding and support to extend the cemetery and village hall.” Jeremy Drew, Director at Newland Homes

Adapt or Die

We are looking at a changed world and we must adapt to it

Climate change, global warming, extreme weather events or whatever else one refers to it as, is not going away! 

 ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.’ Charles Darwin

Adapting building design to accommodate the changed world is an increasingly important aspect of new build projects. It’s no longer just about reducing emissions alone, designs must look to adapt to the changing climate.

BREEAM UK New Construction (NC) 2018 has developed a set of criteria which successfully allows designers to focus on solutions for adaption. There are up to 15 credits directly or indirectly associated with adapting to climate change which could help benefit your building ensuring that it can be used effectively far into the future.

Get in touch with Maxine Goodey, our in-house specialist, to discuss how we can help you achieve the BREEAM credits in a cost-effective manner whilst adding to the quality of the building design at the same time.


Proposed amendments to the Energy Rating of Dwellings assessment procedure


Energy efficiency regulations are continuing to evolve, with the latest version of the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) having been published in July 2018, following a consultation process launched in November 2016. The SAP10 document incorporates a number of changes to the procedure and background figures, intended to more accurately reflect the energy consumption of dwellings and adapt the methodology to a changing environment and wider energy system.

AES Sustainability Consultants has reviewed and analysed the proposed document in order to get a clear picture of the potential impact on the housebuilding industry. The documents below provide an overview and impact assessment based on what we currently know. It is anticipated that a consultation on revisions to Part L of the Building Regulations will be launched in Spring 2019 and the amended methodology would be adopted following the conclusion of this process.

If you have any questions about the impact of these changes on your business in the future,

please contact us to discuss and we’ll be pleased to help.


Impact Assessment – Criterion 3 SAP 2016

SAP10 – AES Commentary – 03-10-18

What is the point of BREEAM?

BREEAM… Do you even know what it stands for?

BREEAM Green planet

As a BREEAM Assessor sometimes the most common answer I hear to the above question is ‘client wants it’ or ‘to satisfying that planning condition’. I have written this note as a beginners guide and reminder to professionals of why the construction industry needs BREEAM.

It is well known that the construction industry has huge environmental impacts on our planet. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP, 2012) state that the current global built environment is responsible for:

  • 30% of greenhouse gas emissions
  • 3 billion tonnes of raw materials per annum
  • 20% of global water usage
  • 30-40% of global energy consumption

The Environment Agency (2007) report that 50% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK are caused by the energy used in constructing, occupying and operating buildings.

BREEAM seeks to reduce these impacts by encouraging developers and businesses to make positive changes.

What is BREEAM?

BREEAM stands for the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method.  It is a certification scheme to categorise, assess and rate buildings based on a standardised set of criteria.  BREEAM is operated by the BRE who are an independent trust and so are separate from the government and firms.  This allows the BRE to be both objective and credible.

What is the point of BREEAM?

Here are the six main aims of BREEAM:

Deliver Sustainable Solutions

BREEAM aims to push developments to go beyond the minimum standards and regulations

Provide a holistic framework

There are a wide range of sustainability issues that need to be considered through the life cycle stages of the development process.  BREEAM provides a weighting to different sustainability issues which are then combined to make a single score.  Therefore if you maximise the score you automatically maintain the balance.

Based on sound science

The BREEAM framework is based on scientific research with industry wide consultations.

Measure what is important

Sustainable developments consists of economic, social and environmental issues, it is easy to measure the economic impacts by looking at a purchase receipt.  BREEAM aims to make the environmental and social impacts just as easy to measure.

Support a process of change

BREEAM aims to recognise and reward developments that have gone beyond simple regulations.  BREEAM therefore provides a framework for the government to set direction and incorporate requirements in to planning legislation.

Deliverer of value for buildings and their occupants

BREEAM can deliver value through reduced running costs through less energy, water and waste consumption during both the construction and operational phase.  In addition a building that works for its occupants as BREEAM includes aspects of stakeholder participation, air quality, thermal comfort, good acoustics, safe and security issues to name but a few


If you have any questions or enquiries around BREEAM Assessments please do not hesitate to contact us.

Redrow River Dart Challenge

AES Consultants ready for their walk for Redrow

Redrow Homes – River Dart Charity Challenge 2018

On Friday 14th September, four consultants from AES attended the Redrow Homes River Dart Charity Challenge Day to raise money for two local charities; Rowcroft Hospice and cancer charity FORCE.

Jonathan, Ross, Laura and Yasmin volunteered to undertake the 12km hiking phase of the challenge.  The hike started in the town of Totnes, meandering along the River Dart until finishing in the beautiful village of Dittisham.  Whilst there were some tough hill climbs they were also rewarded by many stunning views of the Devon countryside.

12km walk from Totnes to Dittisham for Redrow

Thankfully the British weather was kind and despite a few blisters they all had a fantastic day raising money for two great causes. 50 people took part in this relay event, incorporating 4 different modes; cycling, running, walking and dragon boating. So far over £5,000 has been raised with more being collect through sponsorship. We would like to thank the staff at Redrow Homes for organising such a fantastic charity challenge and for inviting us to take part.

For more information on these fantastic charities please see below and follow the links Rowcroft Hospice and Force

Rowcroft Hospice

Every year Rowcroft Hospice provide care to over 2,000 patients living with life-limiting illnesses in South Devon, completely free-of-charge.  Rowcroft’s specialist and dedicated services include a 12-bedded Inpatient Unit (IPU), community services, a 24/7 Hospice at Home service to care for people at home in the last two weeks of life, and outpatient services.  The total cost of running our services is £8m per annum, with a 29% contribution from the NHS and so more than 70% of their services are therefore funded by donations.


FORCE (Friends of the Oncology and Radiotherapy Centre, Exeter) provides a vital role in providing local cancer services.  FORCE has contributed more than £10 million to improving the quality of treatment and care available in Exeter for cancer patients and their loved ones.  FORCE have funded £2 million worth of state-of-the-art equipment and anyone treated for cancer locally is likely to have benefited from hardware purchased by FORCE.