Daylight & Sunlight

We consult with our clients on the most imaginative and effective use of natural light to maximise any development’s value and quality.

Southbank Place, London

Understanding the levels of Daylight and Sunlight is key to delivering the higher density required in urban areas, whilst limiting the impact on the surrounding area. The effects of Daylight and Sunlight on a new development, including neighbouring properties, determine the amount of massing achievable.

Daylight and Sunlight also have implications across the use of natural light in and around the development. We translate planning guidance into design advice in order to gain the best possible outcome.

GIA has developed services and analysis that have quickly become the industry standard, from initial feasibility and design evolution, advising throughout the planning process, until determination.

As one of the most experienced teams across the UK, we provide everything needed to minimise risk, helping to secure a positive outcome. Our solutions are communicated clearly, graphically and are always bespoke to individual projects.

Our advice starts from site layout. Our team of designers and architects understand the masterplanner’s requirements. We have helped on numerous regeneration schemes by providing insight on height, bulk and urban grain in relation to daylight and site density.

GIA utilises bespoke algorithms to deliver efficient massing envelopes, providing maximum volume whilst minimising daylight and sunlight impacts upon neighbouring properties.

Daylight and Sunlight have an effect on occupants’ productivity, comfort and wellbeing; optimising natural light leads to energy savings. We deliver efficient layouts and building façades that achieve good daylighting indoors, whilst adhering to the design aesthetic and energy performance of the building.

The Building Research Establishment (BRE) Guidelines ‘Site Layout Planning for Daylight and Sunlight – A Guide to Good Practice 2011’ provides advice on: site layout planning to achieve good sunlighting and daylighting within buildings and in the open spaces between them. The BRE Guidelines are intended for use by building designers, developers, consultants and Local Planning Authorities. The advice presented in the BRE Guidelines is not mandatory and should not be used as an instrument of planning policy.

Our pioneering research establishes the urban grain reference and the amenity framework, building the case for density and setting alternative area-specific daylight and sunlight. Having helped the GLA write its policy on daylight and sunlight, we feel best placed to provide the necessary advice on optimising density and daylight in an urban environment.

Local authorities consider this a pivotal part of the planning process. We can help you undertake all the relevant assessments, assisting you during public consultations and planning hearings, whilst offering proactive advice to optimise the daylight amenity throughout the design process.

GIA has developed sun exposure maps which go beyond compliance with BRE guidance, allowing designers to shape the landscape according to how much or how little sunlight is necessary for the project. Our bespoke assessment tool can colour the shadows cast by individual buildings. This illustrates the location of shadows at different times of the day and year to show where developments may affect gardens or open spaces in the surrounding area.

GIA has a dedicated in-house EIA Environmental Lead who ensures an ES is scoped, resourced and delivered on-time. We provide all technical services to guarantee the success of an ES chapter, including Overshadowing, Solar Glare and Light Pollution.

We have developed advanced tools to quantify and visualise light emissions and are able to offer advice on how to minimise light pollution without detriment to the lighting task.

Solar reflections reduce visibility and may increase the risk of accidents. We have established the industry standard in Solar Glare assessments, showing reflections visible throughout the year and quantifying their intensity to establish whether they could cause glare.

Solar reflections reduce visibility and may increase the risk of accidents when signals can’t be seen. Having helped Network Rail deliver an appropriate technical assessment procedure, GIA produces animations showing the sun’s reflections caused by a development from the driver’s point of view and offers mitigating strategies to minimise risk.

Focussing sun rays in small areas can create heat, causing damage to roads, cars and passers-by. GIA has developed innovative tools and bespoke software to control and mitigate this occurrence.

The impact of trees and vegetation is routine in planning checks. GIA produces three-dimensional computer models of all tree types, with consideration for the natural changes of the season.

Daylight and sunlight conditions vary across the world. GIA uses climate-based data to simulate accurate weather conditions globally, predicting the effects on a design proposal.

Wellbeing and sustainable developments are key to quality and value. We offer both technical analyses and consultancy, targeted at obtaining the highest number of credits for both standards.

GIA has an excellent track record at planning appeal, including the landmark Whitechapel Estate approval. We use insightful contextual research methods and new technology to support evidence in the role as expert witness.

GIA works in an advisory capacity with The Greater London Authority, Transport for London and Network Rail.

By means of greyscale renders, Radiance Studies illustrate how the human eye may experience and perceive light within a room and how the brain/eye responds to light. Images are created using the Radiance Human Visual Response (HVR) algorithm, the aim of which is to produce output that correlates with a person’s subjective impression of a scene.

“GIA effortlessly collaborate with us and our consultant teams to improve the amenity within our developments adding real value both financially and in terms of the wellbeing of future occupants. They are a pleasure to work with and an invaluable part of our teams”.

Attzaz Rashid Head of Design, BARRATT LONDON

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