What is an EPC?

An EPC / Energy Performance Certificate attaches an energy efficient rating to a property ranging from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).

An EPC document includes information on the properties typical energy usage / running costs.

It also provides recommendations for improving a property’s environmental impact which has a direct effect on lowering heating / electricity costs.

Sometimes even small energy measures can make a fairly significant difference to the yearly energy spend in a household.  That is why it is extremely useful to appoint a Qualified Energy Assessor to undertake a survey of your property and provide you with advice on how to make improvements. Spending a little now can make a huge difference as years go by.  Even if you are not about to sell or rent your property it would be recommended that you have an EPC carried out.

Energy Performance Certificates are also extremely useful for checking what energy efficient measures have already been made to a property (if any at all) prior to you purchasing or renting.  You may compare EPCs with similar properties on the market.  The EPC provides a good indication of any modifications / adaptations that either have already been made or could be made along with their likely installation costs in order to make the home more energy efficient.

How long are EPCs valid for?

EPCs are generally valid for 10 years however it should be noted that if any major building works have been carried out to your property which may have changed the buildings fabric or floor area – then a new EPC should be arranged / carried out straightaway.

Similarly, if you have had any energy efficient enhancements carried out on your property then a new EPC should be ordered to reflect the properties energy efficiency rating / environmental impact as it stands.

Energy efficient measures / modifications to your property may include;

  • Cavity wall insulation,
  • Energy Efficient Lighting Throughout
  • New Gas / Oil Combi Boiler
  • Change of Central Heating from Solid Fuel to Oil or from Oil to Gas
  • Upgrade of Heating Controls such as TRVs, Room Thermostats and Programmers
  • Solar (PV – Photovoltaic) Panels
  • Solar Water Heating
  • Hot Water Tank – Increase in Jacket Insulation and installation of a thermostat
  • Roof Space Insulation
  • Wind Turbine

Why are EPCs required?

Energy Performance Certificates arose on the back of an EU initiative – the 2002 Energy Performance of Buildings Directive which came into force in Northern Ireland in 2008.

When are EPCs required?

EPCs may be required for a number of reasons however mainly when…

1. Selling your home

Whether that be privately to a friend or relative or through an Estate Agent then you must be equipped with an EPC.  In fact you must have an EPC prior to marketing commencing and the rating should be shown on marketing particulars.

2. Renting / Letting your property

Again, despite whether the property is rented privately to a friend or relative or whether the lease is being handled by an Estate Agency then an EPC is necessary by law. In fact you must have an EPC prior to marketing commencing and the rating should be shown on marketing particulars.

What are the penalties for not having an Energy Performance Certificate?

An Energy Performance Certificate must have already been carried out prior to marketing commencing. If a property is listed online on the likes of property pal, property news or another such marketing portal then the property must have an EPC prior to going live.

It is against the law for a property to be offered ‘For Sale’ or ‘To Let’ and not to have an EPC.

Fairly substantial penalties can be enforced by local government councils on estate agents and vendors / landlords offering property without EPC documentation in Northern Ireland.

Local government councils overseeing such fines include Belfast City Council and Castlereagh & Lisburn Borough Councils.

More information can be found via http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/buildingcontrol-environment/buildingcontrol/energyperformancecert.aspx

How can I locate my EPC online?

Northern Ireland EPC documentation is stored on the government registrar and can be viewed by members of the public or companies at any time of the day.  Visit https://www.epbniregister.com/

Is NI-EPC an Accredited / Qualified Energy Assessor?

NI-EPC is accredited by Stroma with Membership number STR0032865

Visit www.stroma.com

Please also visit the government’s domestic energy assessor register if required and search using the accreditation number above to confirm… https://www.epbniregister.com/searchAssessor.html

How can I increase the energy efficiency of my property?

Through improving the energy efficiency of your home, it has a direct effect on lowering you’re outgoings / bills and reducing your property’s carbon footprint.  Ways to improve…

  • Insulate your roof space
  • Install a new heating system
  • Upgrade heating controls
  • New Double / Triple Glazing
  • Solar (PV – Photovoltaic) Panels
  • Solar Water Heating
  • Cavity Wall Insulation
  • Energy Efficient Lighting
  • Wind Turbine

What is the process for undertaking an Energy Performance Certificate in Northern Ireland (NI)?

  1. As soon as you get in contact with us we will be able to arrange to carry out the EPC assessment at a time which is convenient for you.
  2. Surveys take around 30 minutes however some may take longer depending upon size and complexity of the property.
  3. At the time of inspection it is very normal for the surveyor to take photographs, sketch floor plans, make detailed notes and measure the property either manually or electronically.
  4. Gaining access to every room in the property is essential including cupboards, bathrooms and roof rooms. It is also important to record wall / floor construction and details of any retro fit insulation.
  5. The surveyor will ask to undertake a head and shoulders assessment of the roof space insulation.
  6. Assessing the windows next is required whereby the age, type and glazing gap is recorded.
  7. The surveyor will next ask to see any main or secondary heating systems.
  8. Upon returning to their office the surveyor will input all of their findings into the government approved RDSAP+ software in order to generate and lodge your EPC documentation to the register.
  9. Usually EPCs are forwarded to clients in under 24 hours by email.
  10. EPCs may be audited therefore it is essential for surveyors to take accurate measurements to avoid any discrepancies or inaccuracies arising at a later date. A number of questions may therefore be asked but please don’ be alarmed – it’s all part of the surveying process!

What to look out for when obtaining an Energy Performance Certificate?

Please be aware of EPC services being offered from the UK Mainland – the only way your property can be surveyed properly and accurately is by obtaining an EPC surveyor in the close proximity to Lisburn or Belfast.

If it’s too cheap it’s probably not the full service / package being offered to you.

Ensure your EPC surveyor holds a qualification! You don’t want to spend your hard earned money and find that the person you had around your property wasn’t qualified to be there from the offset.

It is very important that the person you appoint to undertake your EPC is knowledgeable, has undertaken many, many assessments on a variety of residential property types to date and goes above and beyond.

EPCs are becoming more and more widely recognised by prospective purchasers / tenants who are able to assess the energy efficiency and likely outgoings of a property directly from this document.

That’s why it is so important to instruct a company who care, who are professionals and who provide accurate surveys. After all by obtaining an accurate, energy efficient rating you may command a greater level of interest in your property and maybe even a higher level of income or an increased sales price. And I assume you’d like to achieve as much money as possible from you sale / rental….?!

NI-EPC has undertaken hundreds and hundreds of EPC assessments across Northern Ireland particularly in Lisburn and Belfast & the surrounding areas.

Rely on us to provide you with a well mannered, smooth, professional service.

EPC documentation can also be emailed directly onto your Property Agent or Solicitor taking the hassle totally away from you. Time is precious as they say!

What are the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)?

For more information regarding Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) feel free to contact us.

Useful Links

  • https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/articles/energy-performance-buildings-northern-ireland
  • https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/energy-performance-certificates
  • http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/buildingcontrol-environment/buildingcontrol/energyperformancecert.aspx

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