If you’re buying, selling or renting a property then you will need to make sure you have all the correct and up-to-date documents, including an Energy Performance Certificate.
What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?
By law, most properties need an
Energy Performance Certificate
Energy Performance Certificates were introduced by the English and Welsh Governments in August 2007 as part of the Home Improvement Packs home owners were expected to complete on the sale or purchase of a new property. Few people realise that buildings are responsible for around half of the UK’s carbon emissions – that’s almost twice as much as cars and aeroplanes combined – and EPC’s are designed as a way of reducing that daunting figure in compliance with the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which was introduced at the beginning of 2003. The way a building is designed and constructed with regards to heating, ventilation and insulation can dramatically affect its energy efficiency, and EPC’s examine those aspects of the building to formulate a property rating between A and G (A being the most energy-efficient). The home owner, tenant or potential buyer can use this information to see how much the property is worth and will cost to run.
When will I need an EPC?
Since May 21 st 2010 it is a legal requirement for property owners to have purchased an EPC if they are planning on buying, selling or even renting out or sub-letting a property. Under the Housing Act 2004. the property is only exempt from this requirement if it is:
- A non-residential building (i.e. a place of worship, isolated garage or petrol station).
- A mixed dwelling (such as a shop or agricultural structure).
- A building that has been registered as unsafe or is due to be demolished at a later date.
How do I get an EPC?
The required energy survey will usually be conducted by a highly qualified professional, either a Home Inspector (HI) or a Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA). The latter is usually considered to be a little more thorough and reliable on inspection, but they can sometimes be a bit more expensive too. Both, however, are fully trained and prepared to carry out the survey at a satisfactory level that complies with all the legal
requirements. On arrival at your home they will usually examine:
- The extent and quality of your loft insulation.
- The condition and efficiency of your boiler and hot water tank.
- The age and condition of the property’s radiators.
- All doors, windows, conservatories and/or cat-flaps and all similar entry points to the home and how effective they are at closing properly and therefore how well they insulate the property.
A couple of weeks after the surveyor has completed the Standard Assessment Procedure you should then receive your Energy Performance Certificate either by collection or post; the gathered information will have been input into a specific software program that will then calculate the energy efficiency of your home based on the already mentioned A-G scale. An ‘A’ rating suggests that your home is extremely energy efficient – and therefore likely to result in lower fuel bills, while a ‘G’ rating implies the opposite – the building has poor energy efficiency and so fuel costs are going to be higher. Most EPC’s will also come with a list of cost-effective suggested improvements for the property – it is then up to you whether or not you proceed with any of their recommendations, although it is often worthwhile to do so if you are trying to sell your home.
How much will does an EPC cost?
The cost of hiring an inspector to carry out the survey and the subsequent receipt of your Energy Performance Certificate will vary between homes. Many companies and organisation charge a flat rate of £60 for the average sized, four-bedroom, semi-detached home, but this can go either rise or fall depending on where you shop and how large your home is. If you browse online, for example, you are likely to find significantly cheaper quotes from companies offering to carry out the survey – usually as low as around £30 – but be warned: this is not the most reliable and secure route to take, and before hiring you shouldmake sure you have all the legalities comprehensively checked by a solicitor. If, on the other hand, you have a particular large home, such as a farmhouse or country manor, then the price will be significantly higher – somewhere close to £100 to £120.
Get free quotes for an energy performance certificate here