Energy Assessments – Domestic Properties

Key Points

  • Domestic or Residential Energy Assessments, in the form of a registered Domestic Energy Performance Certificate is required before a property can be advertised for rental, sale, or letting.
  • For new-build dwellings provisional Energy Performance Certificates are provided to prospective purchasers or tenants even if the property has not been built or is incomplete.
  • For residential properties new-build EPCs are required for existing buildings converted from non-domestic use to domestic use or which involve the addition of or creating of a new dwelling into the existing fabric or footprint.
  • Domestic EPCs last for 10 years from the date of issue or until replaced by a later certificate, whichever earlier, and include an integral Recommendation Report.

 

New Build Energy Assessments

These are prepared ‘from plan’ and form part of the initial planning application process to gain planning permission for the development or conversion.

Draft EPCs based on the developer’s intentions are made available to the planning authority, and prospective purchasers or occupants of a property to allow informed decisions to be made by the planning authority, and prospective purchaser or occupant.

On completion of the development or property conversion as decided by the builder or developer, the draft EPC is then formalised into a legal EPC which remains valid for 10 years from the date of issue or until replaced by a later certificate whichever earlier.

 

The role of the Energy Assessor. 

At the Design Stage.  For New Build properties or developments, the energy assessor provides impartial and independent confirmation that what is proposed meets the relevant Building Regulation requirements.  The energy assessor will generally work closely with the architect or developer to get the detail of the proposed systems to be installed correct so the planning application satisfies the Building Regulations, any local planning requirements, and where appropriate any Regional Building Strategy or local Energy Statement requirements.

On completion.  On completion, the energy assessor will confirm with the builder and developer the detail of the work actually undertaken, and through sight of relevant completion certificates, and site visits, will then validate the initial Design Stage assumptions.  The energy assessor will then provide independent and accredited confirmation to the Planning Authority, through the developer, that the development is or is not compliant with Building Regulations and the original planning application.  The EPCs for the development are then finalised.

 

Existing Property Energy Assessments

An energy assessment is undertaken when a property is to be advertised for sale or letting and when:

  1. There is no in-date Energy Performance Certificate in place; or
  2. There have been changes to either the fabric of the structure or the installed systems which would materially affect any existing EPC Rating in place, the reliance on an existing EPC not accurately representing the property at the time it is advertised for sale to letting.

The role of the Energy Assessor.  The energy assessor is required to visit the property, in person, and collect a range of data from which the EPC Rating is determined.   That data is also used by the assessor to review a range of potential improvements which could be made to the property and which, if implemented, could then improve the EPC rating.

What evidence is required if improvements have been made to the property?

Installed conditioning systems.  If improvements have been made to the installed conditioning systems, the energy assessor will be able to determine the detail of those improvements through visual observation, although it would be helpful if any technical manuals and product specifications could be made available.

Glazing.  If improvements to the installed glazing have been made, sight of the technical specification of the installed glazing in the form of a British Fenestration Rating Council Certificate (BFRC) for the ‘whole’ window assembly, or assemblies, will be required, or if a BFRC is unavailable a detailed statement from the installer should be sufficient, providing the installer is still trading to allow the energy assessor to confirm details with them.  Please note, the presentation of the FENSA certificate supported by a glazing organisation sales material is insufficient evidence of glazing characteristics, as FENSA is confirmation of the competency of the installer, not the quality of the product installed.

Improvements to the Building Fabric.  Improvements to the building fabric will need to be supported by signed and dated certificates of completion by the respective builder, and the builder, with details of the specific products used, by type, and characteristics.  Please note, if calculations of u-values are provided evidence those u-values have been determined using BR 443 “Conventions for U-value calculations” (BRE, 2006) will be required, as will either:

  1. Relevant building control approval, which both correctly defines the construction in question and states the calculated U-value; or
  2. The  U-value calculation has been produced or verified by a person with suitable expertise and experience defined as being membership of a recognised U-value calculation competency scheme, or any other process recognised by approved organisations or the Government.