BERS Pro (Thermal Comfort) Update - New Fees and Big Changes since May 1st

The NatHERS Administrator has granted the accreditation of BERS Pro v4.3, since 1 May 2016 (following the tireless work from Energy Inspection). The previous accreditation for BERS Pro 4.2 expired on 30 April 2016.

BERS Pro, like FirstRate5 and AccuRate, is one of the few recognised NatHERS tools, under the NCC (for residential thermal comfort assessments).The NatHERS website has more details regarding the accreditation of this updated software:

http://nathers.gov.au/news-and-events/news/accreditation-of-bers-pro-v4301-313-final-end-date-of-short-term-accreditation

BERS Pro v4.3 also have a “fee-per-certificate” of $22 (incl. GST) since 1st May 2016. This is in line with the fees for FirstRate5 and AccuRate, as part of the Universal Certificate Program. Previously there was no “fee-per-certificate” (although assessors did pay a fee for their “annual software licence”).

The new $22 fee inevitably be passed onto developers and owners, especially for medium or high density projects, where the fees will quickly add up. The fee itself, as discussed in the Questions and Answers below, is the result of the additional fees to be collected by the CSIRO, for each certificate generated.

There are numerous changes with BERS Pro v4.3, especially in relation to the treatment of windows, window specifications and the permitted deviation from the specifications. In particular, the permitted variation from the simulated SHGCs will now be either 5% or 10%, depending on window type (awning, slider, fixed, etc). Until now, the permitted variation has been 10% for all window types.

Previous BERS project files can be converted to the BERS Pro v4.3 format.  These will then work with BERS Pro v4.3.0.1 (3.13).

 

 

 

 

 

Why is there a new “fee-per-certificate” model?

Starting from BERS Pro v4.3 of the software, there is a change to the way that the Chenath engine is licensed. A fee is collected by CSIRO per certificate generated. The intention of this fee is to ensure the costs of the software are more fairly shared amongst assessors, and indirectly, their clients. These fees contribute to engine development and to improve the viability of the software.

Do assessors need to pay each time they generate a certificate?

Every certified dwelling (including apartments) is faced with the fee of $20 + GST. If assessors  need to make changes to an existing project after they have generated the initial certificate, this will be counted as an amendment and there will not be an additional charge (if the re-certification is within 12 months of the initial certificate).

Will BERS Pro 4.3 be backwards compatible?

BERS Pro v4.3 will be backwards compatible, in that assessors will be able to load their old BERS Pro v4.2  files (for project re-assessments). However, assessors will need to convert the windows to be compatible with the current windows libraries.

BERS Pro v4.3 also used the opportunity to simplify or remove some of the existing “work-arounds”.  Specifically these relate to:

  • Update of construction types to reflect current construction methods and simplify modelling of bulk insulation;
  • Splitting external wall construction horizontally not vertically to model walls with mixed constructions;
  • New technique that allows users to split floors within a zone;
  • Party wall constructions for units and duplex projects;
  • Automatic ceiling penetration calculator to correctly model ceiling insulation;
  • Simple calculations for eaves and wing wall shading with minimal user input;
  • Inclusion of both default and custom window libraries without the need to download and maintain multiple manufacturer custom window libraries.