Home EPC Certificates Domestic EPCs

Domestic EPCs

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for existing properties have been required since 1st August 2007 when 'Sold' (via Home Information Pack HIPs) and 1st October 2008 when 'Let'.  During this time we have seen many companies training people, each with no prior experience, to perform these surveys and as a consequence we have been increasingly requested to re-do surveys due to poor quality of work from these companies. This will only escalate as prices are continuously reduced by these very same companies. It is important to realise that these surveys are designed to help you decide what energy efficiency measures are best for your property. We suspect that people will only take note of EPCs once the Government starts to use them as part of a taxation system (in the forms of council tax, stamp duty etc) or to make it illegal to rent properties which fall below a certain band in efficiency under the future Energy Act (in effect from 2018).  This has already started in the form of Feed-in-Tariffs (FITs) for PV panels where a minimum ‘D’ rating is required before you can claim the tariff.  

Reduced Standard Assessment Procedure (RdSAP) is used for calculating EPCs on existing buildings.  Please make sure you do not ask for this type of survey for properties built or converted from 6 April 2008 onwards since these require full Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) calculations which does not require a survey as they are produced from architectural drawings.

What is an EPC?

An EPC is an asset rating and tells you how energy efficient a building is and its impact on the environment.  Properties are rated on a scale of A-G where an A rating is the most energy efficient.  The England & Wales average for an existing dwelling is D60.   Homes which are rated more highly should have lower impact through their Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions.  The Certificate will also include recommendations on methods by which you can improve your home's energy efficiency, which can save you money and help the environment.

Which type of EPC do I need?

A domestic EPC is required for each self-contained dwelling – a dwelling for a single household with exclusive use of a private bathroom and kitchen, with a separate entrance.  Newly completed dwellings require a full SAP EPC.  Existing dwellings require an RdSAP EPC.  Any building (or part of a building) that does not meet the definition of a 'self-contained' dwelling will require a Commercial (or non-domestic) EPC.

EPC Assessment

When do I need an EPC?

EPCs are legally required for any building that is to be put on the market for sale or for rental purposes irrespective of whether you are selling/renting privately or using an Estate Agent.  It is also a requirement for any newly built properties to have an EPC upon completion of the build.  It is currently the responsibility of the building owner to ensure that an EPC is available to prospective purchasers and tenants.

How long is an EPC valid for?

An EPC is valid for up to 10 years.  Any new EPC supersedes an older one.

Why does the EPC show loft insulation as “assumed”?
If for whatever reason, your loft insulation cannot be seen, then the assessor enters “unknown” or “no access”, into the software which creates the EPC.  The software then uses the insulation level that was required by the building regulations when the property was built.  So if your house was built before 1920, the software will assume zero insulation.  If you know there is more than that, then you must either expose all the insulation during the visit or provide written documentation confirming its presence.

My loft is part boarded and there is insulation underneath the boards. There is also 300mm of insulation visible in the rest of the loft. Why does the EPC state that there is only 150mm of insulation?
The rules require the assessor to assume there is no insulation under the boards (unless you expose the entire area).  If 1/2 of the loft has 300mm of visible insulation, the assessor averages everything and inserts 150mm (or the "pre set" amounts available of the software).  


I converted my loft to a bedroom recently as a DIY project and there is a lot of insulation in the ceiling and behind the walls, but the EPC states there is no insulation.

The assessor cannot take a verbal assurance. 
As it is a DIY conversion it cannot be assumed the Building Control Inspector was informed. Also, simply fitting insulation to a previously un-insulated conversion implies there is no means of obtaining relevant official written evidence. In this case the rules require that the assessor enters the build date of the house as being the date you the loft was converted. So if the house is Victorian the software assumes no insulation.

The assessor did not go into my loft, why not?

If a hatch is too high (over 3 metres), is positioned over a stairwell, in the centre of the ceiling, in such a position that the ladder would have to be leant against furniture, etc. a surveyor will very probably decline to inspect the loft insulation. Remember, an assessor’s personal safety, and his/her obligation not to damage your property, is far more important than discovering how much loft insulation the loft contains.

Cavity Wall

My 1960s house has cavity walls but the EPC shows they have no insulation. The assessor looks for any holes in the mortar beds of the external brickwork (filled with a plug of mortar). If there are none, the assessor enters the phrase “as built” into the software’s wall insulation section. The software knows that 1960s cavities were not insulated, so it assumes no insulation is present. Cavity insulation is one of the areas that assessors cannot take the owner’s word for. The assessor needs documentary evidence. You need to either employ a surveyor with an endoscope, who can look into the walls and produce professional documentary evidence that they are filled or show evidence by a Building Regulations “sign off certificate” or show documentary evidence of the cavity fill guarantee.

Why doesn’t the EPC mention underfloor heating on the ground floor with radiators upstairs?

If the two systems are running off the same boiler, then they have to be heated to a higher temperature for the radiators. The underfloor system then mixes this with cold water to reduce the temperature, so there is in fact no real efficiency.If there were two boilers, one for each system, the EPC would have been able to include the underfloor system.

Is an EPC required under a long term regulated tenancy where a tenant dies and a partner, member of their family or other individual is able to succeed to the tenancy under the Rent Act 1977?

Under such circumstances an EPC is not required.

Is it possible to amend and update an EPC without the need to commission a new assessment? A new EPC may be wanted for example if a replacement boiler is fitted?

An EPC cannot be amended or updated. If you want to capture the benefits of any energy efficiency measure that has been installed, a new EPC will need to be commissioned, for which a new survey will be required. However, if the work has been funded through the Green Deal, a new assessment is not required, provided that suitable evidence that the work has been done is available.

Documentary Evidence

Assessors have been prosecuted by purchasers who discovered that information included in the EPC was incorrect. Documentary evidence must therefore be such that if presented in court, it proves categorically, why the assessor entered the information. 

Very often a Building Regulations “sign off certificate” is sufficient, provided that it is specific to the relevant information. The address on the certificate must match that on the EPC. A letter from the contractor who undertook any type of work will suffice. This must be on the contractor’s headed notepaper, with the date the work was carried out, the property address and a detailed description of the work involved. This must then be signed with the contractor’s position in the company noted. Photos can also be submitted as evidence, provided they are referenced. For example, photos of internal wall insulation fitted by the homeowner is perfectly acceptable provided every newly insulated wall has been photographed and can be identified using a reference point. A single photo of one wall having insulation fitted is not enough evidence to state that every exterior wall in the house has been insulated.

Assessors cannot and will not make assumptions, on areas which cannot be seen or proved, for two reasons: one, when “audited” the assessor would lose their licence, two, the assessor could be taken to court by the new owner in the event that the assessor’s assumptions had proved to be incorrect.

Commercial New Build (SBEM)
Commercial Extensions or Conversions
Domestic New Build (SAP)
Domestic Extensions or Conversions

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