FAQs


EPC rating

 

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GENERAL

 

Why I need an EPC?

 

EPCs are mandatory when a property is going to be sold or rented.

 

You can be fined if you start marketing your property without an EPC.

 

An Energy Performance Certificate contains information about a property´s energy use, alongside recommendations to reduce energy use.

 

EPCs were introduced with the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive 2007. Let´s remember the European Union was born out from an alliance to produce coal and steel, and later atomic energy.

 

In 1988 under Denmark Presidency, possibilities for demand-sided European energy policies were studied, with a focus on conservation. Later, after Kyoto Protocol in 1997 the target was the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions to alleviate climate change, and in this context EPCs were introduced to encourage landlords and sellers to increase the energy efficiency of dwellings.

 

This Directive aimed to tackle carbon dioxide emissions generated by buildings. It has 2 main components: the enhacement of building regulations for new built and certification of buildings.

 

Certification of buildings could improve the energy efficiency on the existing housing stock in 2 ways. Sellers and landlords would be encouraged to improve the energy performance of their properties to achieve a better market conditions. On the other side, tenants and buyers are given the opportunity of compare properties in terms of running costs, and can have an idea of potential improvements and its impact.

 

What is an EPC?

 

An EPC contains information about a property´s energy use and typical costs and recommendations about how to reduce energy use. It classifies the Energy Efficiency of a dwelling in comparison with similar dwellings, assigning labels from A (most efficient) to G (inefficient), similar to the labels displayed in white goods.

 

An EPC is valid for 10 years and is valid either for sales or rent.

 

How an EPC is done?

 

An EPC is created by an accredited and qualified assessor according to a methodology called RdSAP for domestic properties or SBEM for commercial properties.

 

The methodology takes into account the size of the property, the insulation of the envelope (walls, roof, floor and openings) and the heating system and controls to evaluate the performance of the property in terms of energy efficiency.

 

The assessor needs to take a physical survey of the building to gather the information. For quality assurance, the assessor needs to take photographs or documentary evidence related to the fabrics and services.

 

The energy rating is adjusted for the floor area, so it is independent of size for a given type of building. The rating is calculated on the basis of standard occupancy, because individual usage patterns can vary widely, and the EPC should be valid independtly of the occupier.

 

 

An accreditation body provides an umbrella for the work of individual assessors. They provide help and advice for the assessors, they check that assessors are qualified, insured and CRB checked and carry out audits in a regular basis to assure the accuracy of the assessments.

 

What is the penalty for not providing an EPC?

Domestic

A fixed penalty charge of £200 may be issued for failure to comply in the following circumstances:

 

  • on sale or rent the seller or landlord failed to make a valid EPC available free of charge to the prospective buyer or tenant at the earliest opportunity or to the person who ultimately becomes the buyer or tenant

 

  • on marketing the seller or landlord did not commission an EPC before the building was put on the market or the person acting on their behalf (i.e. estate or letting agent) did not ensure that an EPC was commissioned for the building

 

  • the seller or landlord or a person acting on their behalf did not secure an EPC using all reasonable efforts within seven days of the building being put on the market. An EPC must be obtained 21 days after the initial seven day period

 

  • the seller or landlord or a person acting on their behalf did not include the energy performance indicator in any advertisement of the sale or rental in commercial media.

Non domestic

The penalty for failing to make an EPC available to any prospective buyer or tenant when selling or renting a non-dwelling is fixed at 12.5 per cent of the rateable value of the building, with a default penalty of £750 where the formula cannot be applied. The range of penalties are  set with a minimum of £500 and a maximum of £5000.

 

Is there any exemption?

 

An EPC is not required in next cases. If this applies to you, try to get documentary evidence of it.

 

  • Listed buildings on the English Heritage where compliance with certain minimum energy efficiency requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance.

 

  • Temporary buildings with a planned time of use of two years or less

 

  • Residential buildings which are intended to be used less than four months of the year or where the owner or landlord could reasonably expect the energy consumption of the building to be less than 25% of all year round use.

 

  • Stand-alone buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 50m² (i.e. buildings entirely detached from any other building).

 

  • Buildings used as places of worship and for religious activites.

 

  • Buildings suitable for demolition, when the site is suitable for redevelopment and all relevant planning permissions and consents in relation to the demolition and the redevelopment exist.

 

  • Furnished holiday let as defined by HMRC when the occupant is not responsible for the energy costs.

 

How long an EPC is valid for?

 

An EPC is valid for 10 years or until a newer EPC is produced.

 

Do I need a minimum rating to sell or rent my property?

 

At the moment, there is not any minimum requirement regarding EPC rating to sell or rent a property.

 

According to the Private Rented Sector Energy Efficiency Regulations, from 2018 a property cannot be rented with a rating F or G.

 

You can ask us recommendations to improve the rating of your property to comply with the regulations with the lower upfront costs.

 

When I should make my EPC available?

 

The EPC should be made available as early as possible and, in particular, when a prospective buyer or tenants request information in writing or views the property in question. In addition, the seller or landlord must ensure that an Energy Performance Certificate has been given to the person who ultimately becomes the buyer or tenant free of charge.

 

An EPC should be commissioned before a building is put on the market. Since then, you have 7 days to obtain the report. A further 21 days is allowed if the EPC cannot be obtained in 7 days and all reasonable efforts have been made.

 

All advertisement in the commercial media must clearly show the energy rating of the property.

 

Besides, it is mandatory to attach the first page of the EPC to the written property particulars.

 

What is the effect of the EPC in the value of my property?

 

Without any doubt, the most important aspects in the valuation of your property are the location, size and general condition.

 

The importance of the energy rating varies between people.

 

So far, 2 reports have shown the effect on the EPC rating in the price of the properties.

 

“Energy performance certificates in buildings and their impact on transaction prices and rents in selected EU countries” evaluated the effects in different countries. For the UK, 75% of buyers and tenants give some importance to the EPC, but just 3% had used the EPC to negotiate the price.

 

“An investigation of the effect of EPC ratings on house prices” on behalf of DECC, concluded that for the UK a difference from letter G to E can increase the price 6%, and from letter D to B 7%.

 

In London there was not any difference from properties from letter D to letter B, but there was an 11% variation from letter G to letter E.

 

As EPCs can be freely downloaded from www.epcregister.com you cannot be certain if a potential buyer or tenant has paid attention to it.

 

Are the figures shown in the EPC real?

 

Sometimes the running costs described in the EPC could not match the real cost of your gas bills. Next, I will try to summarise the reasons.

 

British government using a methodology called Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) and Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) to evaluate the energy efficiency of buildings.

 

These methodologies use theoretical values for the efficiency of the heating system and thermal transmittance of building envelope (walls, roof and floor). In the case of the heating systems the efficiency has been tested in a lab, but the thermal transmittance of envelope elements can differ due to different brick materials, mortar and air tightness, to name just a few factors.

 

Besides, SAP and SBEM assume standard occupancy patterns. Different rooms are supposed to be heated at set temperatures for a specific time. As an EPC is valid for 10 years, this provision was adopted to guarantee easiness of comparison between different dwellings.

 

Another point to consider is the detail of the climatic data used to generate the assessment. SAP and SBEM take into account 21 areas in the UK and assumes average values for each to evaluate external temperature, wind speed and solar radiation. In some cases, this assumption can differ from reality.

 

To produce an EPC for existing dwellings, not all information required for a SAP assessment can be gathered. For this reason, existing dwellings are assessed using RdSAP (Reduced Standard Assessment Procedure). This procedure takes still more assumptions.

 

In my experience, simple properties with central heating systems powered by a boiler are reasonably well modeled, but properties with other heating system (i. e. electric underfloor heating) or a complex shape with different construction materials could not be all that accurate.

 

Although the accuracy of the assessments could be improved, if we take into account the volume of properties to be assessed (more than 13 millions since 2007) and we want a methodology which can be done in a fast a coherent way between assessor, RdSAP methodology is good. Still, the running costs and the impact of installing different measures should be studied further if you wish to improve your property through energy efficiency measures.

 

I already have an EPC. Do I need a new one?

 

An EPC is valid for 10 years or until a newer is produced, and it can be used without limits during this period.

Still, if you have recently replaced the boiler, installed insulation or you have made an extension or loft conversion, I would recommend you to have a new EPC including these features to achieve a better market position.

 

Can I see a sample EPC?

 

You can see a sample EPC in this link.

 

Is this EPC valid to install renewable energy?

 

EPCs are used by the Bristish Government to evaluate the energy performance of dwellings for different purposes. Although the most common application is for sale and renting, an EPC is the same document independently of the final application, and it can be used without limits for 10 years.  

 

If you wish to claim payment for renewable electricity you generate from photovoltaic panels, wind turbine, hydroelectricity, anaerobic digester or micro combined heat and power you need an EPC done.

 

This is especially important in the case of solar panels, as you can receive higher payments if you have a rating D or better.

 

If you wisht to claim payment for the heat you generate using renewable energy from biomass boilers, ground and air to water heat pumps and solar thermal panels, you need a Green Deal Advice Report. I am also qualified as Green Deal Advisor, so if you are interested, let me know and I can provide more information.

 

Where can I find independent information?

 

  • The Energy Saving Trust is the leading charity in saving energy. You can check here what they say about EPCs

 

  • You can contact for free the Energy Saving Advice Service by clicking here.

 

  • The Department for Communties and Local Government is the responsible for the regime of EPCs. You can find all the guidance here.

 

  • Especially useful is this guide from DCLG, where you can find the most relevant information.

 

  • You can check the FAQs from another impartial website here.

 

  • If you are a landlord, you can find more relevant information at LandlordZONE.

 

If you have any specific question and you are unable to find the answer, why not contact us to see if I can help?

 

OUR SERVICES

 

How is the process since I contact you until I receive my EPC?

 

 

You can check how we work in this link.

 

Book your EPC now

 

How long it takes to have my EPC?

 

Once you contact us, we can arrange the appointment usually in 1 or 2 days.

 

For a domestic property the visit takes from 40 to 60 minutes depending on the size and complexity of the shape and heating system. I can deliver the certificate and take the payment at the end of the visit.

 

For commercial properties the visit takes from 30 minutes to 3 hours in a big property (60000 sq ft). Then I usually generate the EPC in 24 hours.

 

How good is for me to have a domestic EPC on the spot?

 

  • You have your EPC inmediately after the visit, so you can start marketing your property right away.

 

  • You do not need to worry about when the EPC will be released.

 

  • You can check the draft EPC before making it official.

 

 

  • You have more available time for other things.

 

  • You do not need to make an upfront payment or paying later online with the hassle of introducing all the number of your card or make a bank transfer.

 

Should I do anything to get my EPC?

 

Although anything can be solved in some way it may be less time consuming and you could have a better rating if you have a look at this recommendations:

 

  • I would need to know the exact address of the property at least 5 hours before the assessment if you want to receive the EPC on the spot. Sometimes the address needs to be amended in Landmark, and it takes some time. This is especially relevant if  your property is something like “Ground Floor Flat”, “Flat A” or has been converted recently.

 

  • I need access to all the rooms and spaces in the property, the heating system and, if applicable, the loft and hot water cylinder to check the insulation. If I cannot access them during the survey, it will be assumed there is not insulation, and you could have a worse rating than you deserve.

 

  • If you have installed flat roof insulation or internal wall insulation and it is not possible to see it, please, bring documentary evidence to the assessment or let me know, so I can give you a template to be filled by your builder to include it in the assessment.

 

  • If there is any special access to the property (i. e. if the property is accessible through an alleyway) it would be good to know. Do not worry about parking, because I travel by bicycle.

 

If all the EPCs are the same why should not I go for the cheapest?

 

In theory, all assessors should produce the EPC following the same procedure and the result should be exactly the same.

 

In practice, you may find next problems, with different level of importance:

 

Issue Possible problem Our approach
 Method of payment  You may be asked to pay upfront without any guarantee, or you could be bothered by paying by cheque or make a bank transfer. You have at your disposal a great range of payment options: you can pay by card, cash, cheque, BACS and invoice, always after you have received your EPC, (or a draft EPC if you wish to be invoiced)
Accuracy of the report  You may receive an inaccurate EPC with a worse rating than your property actually deserves. An assessor could lodge the final EPC excluding relevant features if not evidence if present during the visit.  Not only I am careful to produce the EPC according to the conventions and explain them, but I will always check the EPC with you before making it official. If, i. e., you have installed internal wall insulation but you have not evidence during the visit, I will give you a template for your builder so you can include it in the EPC.
Delivery of certificate  After the visit, you do not know when you will receive your EPC. Sometimes it could take days.

 You will receive the EPC during the visit.

If you prefer or you cannot be present, I will send you a draft report when I finish the survey, and you will receive the EPC as soon as I have received the payment.

To be able to do this, it is extremely important I have the exact address of the property to be assessed at least 5 hours before the assessment. The reason is that some properties may not be included in the Landmark Register and I would need to amend it.

Rough companies  Although it is not common, some companies have been accused of harrasment and claim additional charges. If you are in the mood for a horror story, you can check it here and here.

 Bear in mind that the liability for the production of an EPC relies fully on the assessor who produced it.

All assessors must be certified with a certification body which offers quality assurance and escalation of complaints, with power to suspend individual assessors. Companies are not monitored by a certification body, just its individuals members.

You can find the details of my accreditations in the official www.epcregister.com and then “Find energy assessor” and typing Miguel Garcia.

Compliance with legal requirements Although uncommon, some companies may provide a false EPC, You can check an example here.

You can find my details at www.epcregister.com and www.ndepcregister.com, looking for Miguel Garcia.

These are the Energy Performance Certificate Register, run by Landmark on behalf the Department for Communities and Local Government, so you will have no doubt about authenticity..

 

What areas do you cover?

 

I operate around West London. The map below shows the area I usually cover.

Areas covered

If your property is not in the shadowed area, still let me know, and I can give you an idea of my availability in a case by case basis.

 

What other customer say about you?

 

Fantastic. Thanks Miguel. Hope to work with you again in the near future and will recommend you to anyone that I know.
-Gillian, Kensington-

 

Many thanks indeed for an excellent, very quick issue of the EPC and floor plans. I am very, very impressed and will pass your details onto any friends who may need your service.
-Jill, Acton-