FR5 Software

FirstRate5® house energy rating software

FirstRate5® is an easy-to-use interactive tool with a graphic user interface that enables designers and thermal performance assessors to generate energy ratings for a home by tracing over floor plans. The software integrates the AccuRate calculation engine to estimate the annual heating and cooling energy and can be used to rate an existing design or as an interactive tool to optimise the design beyond compliance.

Release of FR5 v5.2.3, New User Manual and Website Upgrades

by FR5 | May 04, 2016

We are pleased to announce the following FirstRate5 changes.

  • Release of the new FirstRate5 manual
  • Release of FR5 v5.2.3 (3.13)
  • Updates to the FirstRate5 website

See below for further details.

Release of the new FirstRate5 user manual

After receiving feedback from users, Sustainability Victoria has completely reviewed and redeveloped the FirstRate5 (FR5) manual. The new manual comprehensively covers all aspects of completing an energy rating and has been included as part of the new FR5 software release. We hope that FR5 users find this manual a useful and valuable resource.

To access the manual users will need to install and open FR5 v.5.2.3 (3.13). Once the new version of FR5 is open the new manual can be opened by clicking on ‘User Manual’ under the ‘Help’ menu.

FR5 v5.2.3 (3.13) is now available as a free download from www.fr5.com.au.

Some of the highlights of the new manual include:

  • 214 pages of comprehensive information and step-by-step explanations.
  • The manual is structured around 38 rating tasks rather than software features. This approach will help users better understand the context of the software features.
  • 164 graphics and screenshots to clearly illustrate key aspects of the software.
  • 42 alerts and 62 expert tips to help users avoid common mistakes and get the most out of FirstRate5.
  • The manual has been laid out in a ‘facing pages’ format to assist with ease of use. Instructions are on the left page and related graphics and screenshots are on the right page.

Release of FR5 v5.2.3 (3.13)

FR5 v5.2.3 (3.13) is now available as a free download from www.fr5.com.au. Full release details can be found in the release notes, which can be opened by clicking ‘Release Notes’ under the ‘Help’ menu.

This new version contains a number of new features, enhancements and bug fixes including:

Limits to window horizontal offsets 
It is no longer possible to specify a horizontal offset for a window that will result in the window being entirely outside of a wall. If an invalid horizontal offset is specified the software will automatically correct this and keep part of the window inside the wall.

Update to windows in internal walls
Changes have been implemented so that FirstRate5 will not calculate if windows are inserted in internal walls or walls specified as neighbour, roof space or subfloor space. This change has been implemented to reflect the manner in which underlying calculations are undertaken.

Users should consult the FAQs section of the FirstRate5 website for information about how to insert glass sections in internal walls in FR5 v5.2.3 (3.13).

Update of window libraries
The Australian Fenestration Rating Council (AFRC) custom windows and roof windows libraries have been updated.

Updated wall properties
Eave, wing wall, screen and obstruction properties for the earth retaining wall type and walls that connect to neighbour, roof space and subfloor space have been disabled in the user interface to reflect the manner in which underlying calculations are undertaken.

New button on toolbar
A new 'Find My Plan' button has been added to the toolbar to help users locate and centre the plan they are working on. The 'Find My Plan' button is the fourth button from the top on the toolbar (i.e. magnifying glass with a question mark in the middle).

Improved visibility of walls added in the Zoning tab
Functionality has been added so walls manually added in the Zoning tab that are connected to another zone, will now appear in the appropriate adjoining zone in read-only mode.

Improvements to zooming and undo functionality
The zooming functionality has been improved with regard to 'smoothness' and consistency. While drawing zones or areas users can now undo the last point drawn by pressing Ctrl + Space.

Corner wall representation
In certain situations earlier versions of FR5 would automatically create unintended small sections of external walls (e.g. Brick Veneer or Weatherboard) at the intersection of zones. The software logic has been revised to reduce the number of small sections of external wall created.

Improved mirror functionality
The mirror functionality has been updated so mirroring occurs around the alignment point and only the level displayed is mirrored.

Automatic launch of manual, licence and release notes
Users can now automatically open the FirstRate5 manual, licence and release notes by opening the ‘Help’ menu and clicking on the appropriate item.

Improved diagnostics log
The FR5 diagnostic log has been enhanced to include more information about user's system environment. This will provide more information to the FR5 technical support service should the user agree to provide the log in the case of a technical query.

In addition, the diagnostic log can be exported as a zip folder so it can be easily sent to the FR5 technical support service. To do this users will need to open the ‘Help’ menu and click on ‘Export Log Files’.

Ability to copy FR5 version information
Functionality has been added so that users can easily copy FR5 version information to their clipboards for pasting into emails sent to the technical support service. After clicking on ‘About’ under the ‘Help’ menu, users will see a ‘Copy’ button located below the information box.

FirstRate5 Website Improvements

We are pleased to announce the following website improvements:

New Technical Support submission form
A new email submission form has been added which users should now use to submit FR5 technical support requests. The ‘Technical Support’ button is located on the menu on the left-hand side above ‘FAQs’. Users will need to be logged into to their FR5 account to access the submission form. Using this submission form will ensure that important information is captured (e.g. FR5 and Java versions, username) at the point of first contact, enabling support requests to be resolved as quickly as possible.

Disabling FR5 accounts
Users can now disable their own FR5 accounts if they are no longer an active FirstRate5 user. This can be done by logging into the FR5 website and then clicking through to edit account details. The ‘Disable Account’ option is below the ‘Save’ and ‘Cancel’ buttons.

Please note that disabled accounts are not deleted from the system and can be re-enabled in the future by emailing support@fr5.com.au.

Formatting of additional information field
The formatting of the certificate has been improved so that details entered in the ‘Additional Information’ field in the FR5 project file appear in a properly formatted manner.

Order of dwellings listed on group certificates
The group certificate has been updated so that dwellings are ordered by their unit number.

Transition Arrangements for FR5 v5.2.2 (3.1.3)

Until 4 June 2016 a transition period will be in place. During this period both v5.2.2 (3.1.3) and v5.2.3 (3.1.3) files will automatically calculate on the FirstRate5 website.

After 4 June 2016 v5.2.3 (3.13) files will continue to automatically calculate on the FirstRate5 website, however v5.2.2 (3.13) files will calculate by special request only.
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Note: It is the user’s responsibility to ensure certificates are produced with the appropriate version. If a user chooses to inappropriately use an earlier version of FR5 to produce a certificate, they run the risk that a Building Surveyor will reject the certificate leading to further certificate costs.

Note: Installation of minor releases involving a letter change, eg,  v5.2.2b to v5.2.2c, will by default overwrite the previous version, while major releases involving a number change, eg, v5.2.2 (3.13) to v5.2.3 (3.13), will by default install beside older versions.