Daylight / Sunlight Studies & Rights of Light Assessment within AutoCAD
MBS Waldram Tools v4.0 is an application which runs within an AutoCAD environment designed to process calculations which cover two areas; daylight and sunlight analysis and right of light. These two areas cover a niche market provided by planners, architects and developers. However both areas have one thing in common - the 3D CAD Model.
The software allows analysis of the above areas by running calculations from a 3D CAD Model based on scenarios the planner, architect or developer provides e.g. what would the impact be if my building was "X" metres high?
The development of this software element has been fuelled partially by the increasingly strict planning guidelines. Recommendations for light levels in new buildings and surrounding properties are provided by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) within a document called "Site Layout Planning for Daylight and Sunlight - A Guide to Good Practice', 2011 by P J Littlefair. As many local authorities have adopted this guide, then these recommendations provide a foundation upon which planning permission is granted, or refused, in the UK.
The definition according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) of a ‘Right to Light’ is: "A right to light may be acquired by 'anyone who has had uninterrupted use of something over someone else's land for 20 years without consent, openly and without threat, and without interruption of more than a year.' If a new development reduces the level of light to a window over 20 years old below a certain minimum, the window's owner is entitled to legal remedy, unless the right has been waived by express agreement. Depending on the extent of the injury, this can range from the award of compensation, through cutting back the development, to court injunction to stop the development altogether."
It should be noted that developments with planning permission can still be opposed on the grounds of rights of light, presenting additional risk for developers, with courts generally upholding the rights of residential owners more than commercial developers. It is therefore imperative that rights to light studies are undertaken on all new builds which could impact significantly enough to cause an infringement on surrounding properties. The crucial question to ask is as a developer would you not want to know if the proposed development caused a problem at design stage as opposed to halfway through the construction process?