Government offer ‘guidance’ on EPCs
On 11th December 2017 the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) issued an update to their document ‘A Guide to Energy Performance Certificates for the Construction, Sale and Let of Non Dwellings - Improving the Energy Efficiency of our Buildings’.
The original version of the guidance was first published in December 2012. Elmhurst has reviewed the updated document to identify the changes and the following three paragraphs are the only new ‘guidance’ offered:
“Buildings protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit are exempt from the requirements to have an energy performance certificate insofar as compliance with minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance.
To comply with minimum energy performance requirements, many of the recommendations in an EPC report e.g. double glazing, new doors and windows, external wall insulation, and external boiler flues would likely result in unacceptable alterations in the majority of historic buildings. These can include buildings protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit (e.g. listed buildings or buildings within a conservation area). In these cases an EPC would not be required.
Building owners will need to take a view as to whether this will be the case for their buildings. If there is any doubt as to whether works would unacceptably alter the character or appearance of a building, building owners may wish to seek the advice of their local authority’s conservation officer.”
Elmhurst previously highlighted that the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) has drawn more attention onto whether listed building need to have an EPC. We are therefore disappointed that this new ‘guidance’ does not provide any further clarification regarding Listed Buildings and the requirement to obtain an EPC. Under the circumstances, Elmhurst continues to stand by its sensible and pragmatic advice regarding listed buildings.
Building owners will be unaware of the full extent of potential energy efficiency recommendations without first having an EPC and Elmhurst therefore recommends that an EPC is obtained in each instance. Once the recommendations are known the property owner should then liaise with the local authority’s conservation officer to determine whether any of the measures would unacceptably alter the characteristics or appearance of the property (and would therefore not be permitted). However, there are many recommendations which may not alter the appearance property (e.g. installation of loft insulation, replacement of an existing boiler etc) and, as such, would reduce the fuel bills and make these properties warmer and cheaper to run. A copy of Elmhurst’s Guidance on Listed buildings can be obtained here .
Stuart Fairlie, Technical Director of Elmhurst, said “We welcome any guidance that aids peoples’ understanding of the vital role that EPCs and energy assessors have to play in highlighting the energy efficiency of our homes and businesses up and down the country. The Clean Growth Plan recently published by Government puts the EPC at the heart of policy and energy efficiency thinking; the more we understand the EPC and, importantly, use it correctly to make sound, informed decisions the better for us all.”
Link to Elmhurst Guidance on Listed Buildings: http://www.elmhurstenergy.co.uk/listed-buildings-guidance-to-property-owners