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 FirstRate5 v5.2.7 (3.13)

by FR5 | Nov 01, 2017

Release of FR5 v5.2.7 (3.13)

FirstRate5 v5.2.7 (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:

Introduction of a Split Area tool
A new ‘Split Area’ tool has been developed to allow users to split areas by drawing a split line across existing areas and executing the ‘Split Area’ function. Users can view an introductory video explaining how to use the Split Area tool.

Improvement to the display on high resolution screens
Changes have been made to enhance the display for computers using high resolution screens (e.g. 4k or UHD displays).

Suspended Slab
In previous version of FR5, users only had one choice of suspended slab available for floors and roof/ceilings. Users now have a choice of 11 predefined thicknesses ranging from 100mm to 400mm for both floors and roof/ceilings. The appropriate thickness is specified under ‘Floor type detail’ on the Properties panel and Zoning tab.

Calculated Eaves
In FR5 all eaves must be entered parallel to a wall. If a user enters an eave that is not parallel to a wall, the software in the background will create a parallel eave with the projection set to the greatest depth and use this in the final calculation.   

In previous versions of FR5 the calculated eave was not displayed and the users only saw the original eave they entered. Changes have been made to FR5 to allow the user to choose to visually display on the Plan tab any eaves that FR5 has automatically calculated. Users will need to select the ‘Calculated’ tab on the Properties pane within the Plan tab and tick the box for Eaves to enable calculated eaves to be displayed.

Internal Temperature Graph
The new ‘Export All’ button on the internal temperature graph will allow the user to export all of the temperature data regardless of the time period/zone that has been selected.

Initial Java memory allocation
The initial Java memory allocation for FR5 has been increased. This change has been implemented to avoid occasional memory errors for large files on some computers. On opening, FR5 will now assign 400MB or 20% of available free memory (whichever is higher).

Door height and head height
The way in which FR5 handles the heights and head heights of doors and windows has been improved as follows: 

  • A window’s head height will no longer automatically update when its height is changed
  • When users have the ‘Copy Previous Construction’ function enabled, a newly inserted window will only pick up values from the previously inserted window, and a newly inserted door will only pick up values from the previously inserted door
  • When users have the ‘Copy Previous Construction’ function enabled, a newly inserted door will no longer use the previously inserted door’s height as its head height

Under roof insulation
Under roof insulation details are now included in the Provisional Diagnostic Information report.

Screens / Eaves
Screens or eaves which are not attached to any walls will be displayed with a dashed line to assist users identify orphaned eaves and screens.

Plan tab
Users can now set a fixed width for the right hand side panel on the plan tab. The maximum size allowed is 75% of the screen size. This width will be retained until it is manually changed or the software is reinstalled.

Automatic healing of split walls
The issue of a split wall automatically healing, even if different wall colours for each section were specified, has been fixed.

Automatic healing of acute angles
The issue of very acute angles automatically healing has been fixed.

Auto healing angle
The auto healing angle has been reduced from 11.48 to 5.12 degrees.

Internal wall displayed on Universal Certificate
Previously the area contained in the Universal Certificate was double the area contained in the Provisional Diagnostic Information report. The area displayed on the Universal Certificate will show the correct area.

Updated FR5 User Manual
The FR5 User Manual has been updated to incorporate the new items included in FirstRate5 v5.2.7 (3.13).

Other items
A number of other smaller items have also been included:

  • Enhanced the calculation functionality to allow a file to re-calculate after an error has been fixed
  • Enhanced the copy/paste functionality in the Project Tab
  • Enhanced the screen functionality to ensure that a maximum of three screens is attached to each wall
  • Fixed the issue of openable roof windows being incorrectly categorised


Windows 10 Scaling

Users that have Windows 10 version 1703 or greater installed on their computers have the ability to enable Windows 10 scaling for FirstRate5.  Applying this scaling may result in FirstRate5 displaying better on high resolution screens.

Click here for instructions on enabling Windows 10 scaling for FirstRate5.
                    

Java 9

Oracle, the developer of Java, has recently released a major new version of Java, called Java 9. Users may install this latest version if prompted or required, however, a working version of Java 8 will need to be retained in order to operate FirstRate5.    

At this stage existing versions of FirstRate5 will not work with Java 9. SV plans to include support for Java 9 in future versions of FR5, however, existing versions of FR5 will not be modified to support Java 9.                      
                       

Transition Arrangements for FR5 v5.2.6 (3.1.3)

Until 30 November 2017 a transition period will be in place. During this period both v5.2.6 (3.1.3) and v5.2.7 (3.1.3) files will automatically calculate on the FirstRate5 website.

After 30 November 2017 v5.2.7 (3.13) files will continue to automatically calculate on the FirstRate5 website, however v5.2.6 (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.