Help your vendors and landlords prepare for an EPC
An energy performance certificate (EPC) will provide prospective buyers and tenants of a building with accurate information about the energy performance of the building as well as practical advice on how to make improvements.
An EPC provides an energy efficiency rating (related to running costs) for a building based on the performance potential of the building itself (the fabric) and its services (such as heating, insulation ventilation and fuels used). Not all buildings are used in the same way, so the energy rating uses ‘standard occupancy’ assumptions which may be different from the way the building is used.
An EPC includes recommendations on improving the rating alongside an indication of the payback period. There is no statutory requirement to carry out any of the recommended energy efficiency measures stated. Read the full guide.
When is an EPC required and what buildings are exempt?
Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are needed whenever a property is built, sold (they are valid for up to 10 years) or let. You may want a new EPC even if the building has a current valid one. Eg. if you’ve made improvements such as adding cavity wall insulation, loft insulation or a new boiler – this can cause a significant change in the rating.
Buildings that do not need an EPC include:
- Places of worship.
- Temporary buildings that will be used for less than 2 years.
- Stand-alone buildings with total useful floor space of less than 50 square metres.
- Industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings that do not use a lot of energy.
- Some buildings that are due to be demolished.
- Holiday accommodation that’s rented out for less than 4 months a year or is let under a license to occupy.
- Listed buildings – you should get advice from your local authority conservation officer if the work would alter the building’s character. An exemption must be sought via the PRS Exemptions Register as listed building will not be automatically exempt.
- Residential buildings intended to be used less than 4 months a year.
What to expect from the visit
The energy survey needed to produce an EPC is performed by an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) who examines key items such as:
- loft insulation
- wall insulation
- floor insulation
- heating system and controls
- hot water tank
- windows for double glazing
Please make sure all of these areas are accessible at the time of assessment. Please note that assessors are unable to assess loft spaces in vacant properties due to health and safety reasons. Should access be required, it will need to be organised in advance of the visit.
Dependant on the property size, the EPC will take between 15 and 40 minutes.
The assessor inputs the observations into a software program which performs the calculation of energy efficiency. The program gives a single number for the rating of energy efficiency, and a recommended value of the potential for improvement.
A table of estimated energy bills per annum (and the potential for improvement) is also presented. The figures are generated solely by the software from government specified sums, the figure cannot be overridden by the assessor.
PREPARING IN ADVANCE OF THE VISIT
The assessment is entirely non-invasive and our assessors can only record evidence that they can see. In the absence of physical or documented evidence, the software will make assumptions on the insulation for various elements of the property, based on age and construction type.
As well as ensuring the assessor can examine the key areas, please locate documentation for any property alterations prior to the visit. They will be looking for documents relating to:
- Extensions/loft conversions (planning documents or building control certificates)
- Window replacements (FENSA certificates)
- Solar panel installation documents (MCS)
- Evidence of additional areas of insulation to the walls/floor/roof
The assessor can confirm if the evidence provided is sufficient to be included within the report. Personal photos showing insulation will often not be considered adequate – a letter of confirmation is required from the installer (with the company name, contact details and property address) detailing the thickness of the insulation.
It is the owner of the property’s responsibility to supply these documents. In the absence of this information the software will assume insulation from the age the property was originally built. Although EPC’s can be amended up to 12 months post initial visit if new documentation comes to light, a small re-lodgement fee will be applicable as per our terms and conditions.
Information for Landlords
MINIMUM ENERGY EFFICIENT STANDARDS (MEES) FOR LANDLORDS
Since 2016, Minimum energy efficiency standards have been required for the private rented sector in England and Wales. Landlords can no longer let properties that have an EPC rating below E unless they have a valid exemption in place. These include:
- High cost exemption – where the cheapest improvement cost would exceed £3500
- 7 year payback exemption – where the improvement does not meet the 7 year payback test
- All improvements made exemption – where all improvements have been made the property remains substandard
- Wall insulation exemption – where improvements might have a negative impact on the fabric or structure of the property
- Consent exemption – where third party approval is required and may not be given
- Devaluation exemption – where installation of specific energy efficient measures would reduce the value of the property
- New Landlord exemption – temporary exemption for 6 months