Combined Heat & Power, District Heating & Cooling, Demand Side Services, Energy Efficiency

Code of Practice for Heat Networks

Published on 13 July 2015

Heat Networks: Code of Practice for the UK is the first Code of Practice to be published by CIBSE. It has been produced as a joint project between CIBSE and the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE).

Code of Practice for Heat Networks | ADE guidance

The Code seeks to provide clear and measurable outputs which will ensure that a heat network operates effectively and meets client and customer expectations. Setting minimum standards is a key step to provide greater confidence for specifiers and clients and these can also be included in the tendering/contracting process.

If heat networks are to form a significant part of our future low carbon energy infrastructure in the UK then they need to be designed, built and operated to a high quality to deliver customer satisfaction. This Code has been produced to assist in achieving that aim by raising standards right across the supply chain. Setting minimum (and best practice) standards should provide greater confidence for specifiers and developers. This Code can also be included in the tendering/contracting process to specify minimum requirements for a project.

ADE members can contact [email protected] to download the Code. CIBSE members can download the Code here, and non nembers can purchase the Code from £24 here.

Heat Network Code of Practice Training

This is a two day course aimed at providing an understanding of the CoP and how to apply it. Following the course there is the opportunity to take an exam which allows entry to the Heat Networks Consultant register.

This course is intensive and requires a high level of knowledge. Whilst we do not have formal entry requirements for the LCC register we will be asking candidates to self-assess beforehand. Competencies, self-assessment sample questions and reading list will be added here shortly.

Key areas

  • Gain an understanding of the aims and context of the Code and current challenges for heat network design.
  • Gain an understanding of how the Code should be used and the key themes running through the document.
  • Gain an understanding of the key Requirements and Objectives for each Stage of heat network development.
  • Gain an understanding of the application of the Code to different types of heat networks.
  • Achieve certification in the use of the Code following an exam.

Further details on the Heat Networks register and information on 'How to Apply' are available at the CIBSE Energy Centre website.

PLEASE NOTE - certification as a Heat Networks Consultant indicates understanding of the Code of Practice and does not guarantee delivery expertise in all areas covered by the Code.

Self assessment and preparation

The course is intensive and requires a high level of knowledge. Whilst we do not have formal entry requirements for the Heat Networks register we do ask candidates to self-assess beforehand.  To assist you in this self-assessment CIBSE provides the documents below:

For further information on becoming a Heat Networks Consultant please visit CIBSE's energy centre 

Introduction to Heat networks and the Code of Practice - 1 Day

This is a one day course which provides an introduction to heat networks and the CIBSE/ADE Heat Networks Code of Practice for those who are involved in procuring/developing heat networks and those using or specifying the CoP.

Key areas

  • Gain a general understanding of heat networks

  • Gain an understanding of the aims of the Code

  • Gain an understanding of how the Code should be used

  • Gain an overview of some of the key requirements of the Code for contract specification

  • Gain an overview of the benefits of the Code for the consumer

CIBSE, supported by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), has also developed training and registration of heat network professionals to ensure that the skills necessary to implement the Code of Practice are available across the sector. The Code of Practice, supported by these trained professionals should provide a step change in the heat network sector.

Code structure

The Code is written to cover all stages of the development cycle of a project from feasibility through design, construction, commissioning and operation. The core of the Code is structured as follows:

  • The typical sequence of a project by stage from initial brief and feasibility through to operation and maintenance.
  • For each project stage, a number of objectives are set.
  • For each objective a number of minimum requirements are defined to achieve the objectives.

All of these minimum requirements will need to be met if the project is to comply fully with the Code. The Code may be used either for the entire project or for a particular stage but the greatest value will be obtained when it is followed for all stages.

Consultation and feedback

The publication was produced through an extensive consultation process. For further details, including a summary of responses and how they were dealt with, visit To provide feedback on the published document please use this discussion forum.


Part A – How to use this Code
i. Introduction
ii. Scope
iii. Legislation
iv. Applications for heat networks – challenges and opportunities

Part B – The Requirements

1. Preparation and briefing
Objective 1.1 To commission the project in accordance with the Code of Practice
Objective 1.2 To agree contracts that are fair and equitable with customers
Objective 1.3 To define appropriate service levels for the heat supply

2. Feasibility
Objective 2.1 To achieve sufficient accuracy of peak heat demands and annual heat consumptions
Objective 2.2 To identify the most suitable low carbon heat sources and location of an energy centre
Objective 2.3 To determine the location of top-up and standby boilers and use of existing boilers
Objective 2.4 To select suitable operating temperatures
Objective 2.5 To define heat network distribution routes, pipe sizes and costs
Objective 2.6 To determine building connection costs including heat metering
Objective 2.7 To minimise the negative impacts of phasing the development
Objective 2.8 To assess operation and maintenance needs and costs
Objective 2.9 To conduct a consistent economic analysis and options appraisal
Objective 2.10 To analyse risks and carry out a sensitivity analysis
Objective 2.11 To assess environmental impacts and benefits
Objective 2.12 To develop preferred business structures, contract strategy and procurement strategy

3. Design
Objective 3.1 To design for safety in construction, operation and maintenance and to achieve quality of design
Objective 3.2 To achieve sufficient accuracy of peak heat demands and annual heat consumptions
Objective 3.3 To select suitable building interfaces, direct or indirect connections
Objective 3.4 To design or modify suitable space heating and domestic hot water services systems
Objective 3.5 To achieve an energy-efficient heat network
Objective 3.6 To achieve a low cost network – optimisation of routes and pipe sizing for minimum lifecycle cost
Objective 3.7 To achieve a reliable network with a long life and low maintenance requirements
Objective 3.8 To select heat metering, pre-payment and billing systems that are accurate and cost-effective
Objective 3.9 To achieve an efficient heat distribution system within a multi-residential building, and to reduce the risk of overheating
Objective 3.10 To design a cost-effective and efficient central plant
Objective 3.11 To optimise the use of thermal storage
Objective 3.12 To update and refine the economic analysis, risk analysis and sensitivities
Objective 3.13 To assess environmental impacts and benefits

4. Construction and installation
Objective 4.1 To reduce health and safety risks to staff, customers and the general public
Objective 4.2 To achieve a high quality heat network construction to deliver a long asset life
Objective 4.3 To provide a high quality hydraulic interface unit (HIU) and building connection construction to provide good customer service levels
Objective 4.4 To reduce adverse environmental impacts of construction

5. Commissioning
Objective 5.1 To achieve consistently low return temperatures through commissioning building heating systems/controls
Objective 5.2 To provide HIU commissioning and heat network balancing to ensure demands are met at all times
Objective 5.3 To commission the heat metering and meter reading system to deliver accuracy and customer service
Objective 5.4 To commission the central plant to deliver an efficient and reliable service
Objective 5.5 To provide a smooth handover and sufficient information for the operations team

6. Operation and maintenance
Objective 6.1 To reduce health and safety risks to staff, customers and the general public
Objective 6.2 To achieve cost-effective, accurate and reliable heat metering, pre-payment and billing systems
Objective 6.3 To maintain a high level of reliability and a long life for the heat network
Objective 6.4 To deliver cost-effective and efficient maintenance of central plant that maintains a long life for the asset
Objective 6.5 To provide appropriate monitoring and reporting of central plant
Objective 6.6 To maintain the building connections to provide good customer service
Objective 6.7 To minimise environmental impacts of operation and maintenance

7. Customer expectations and obligations
Objective 7.1 To provide reports on energy supply and use and bills that are clear and informative
Objective 7.2 To develop communications with customers that meet customer expectations
Objective 7.3 Obligations to be met by customers

A. Glossary of terms
B. Checklist for commissioning HIUs
C. Guidance on the use of SAP modelling of heat networks
D. Guidance on types of building connections and internal heating systems for dwellings
E. Guidance on achieving an energy-efficient heat network

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