land and law epc

EPCs and New Builds, A Complicated Can of Worms

If you’ve had anything to do with house-hunting recently, you’ll likely be familiar with energy performance certificates (better known as EPCs). If you’re unsure, they’re the brightly coloured charts that usually come up once you’ve finished flicking through all the interior photos on Rightmove.

Some people might be very interested in the energy efficiency rating of potential homes… others probably couldn’t care less. Either way, if you’re selling or renting a property, you’ll be legally required to have an EPC in place.

Once an EPC has been issued, it lasts for ten years. If the property is sold or let again during this period, you won’t need a new EPC (unless, of course, you want to show off any improvements you’ve made to the rating).

What do you need to know about EPCs?

The main things to understand about EPCs are:

  1. That you will need one
  2. That they show how energy efficient a property is and give relevant suggestions for improving the efficiency rating

Generally speaking, you probably won’t need to know a great deal more than that unlessyou’re selling or letting a new build property.

In this context, ‘new build property’ means both actual newly built buildings and those that have been completed since 1stMay 2007 (in Scotland), the 1stApril 2008 (in England and Wales) or the 30thSeptember 2008 (in Northern Ireland). It also encompasses older buildings that have been converted into residential dwellings during this period.

What’s different about EPCs for new builds?

Prepare yourself: we’re about the throw some more acronyms at you. The term ‘EPC’ is often used an umbrella term that encompasses two different types of energy performance certificates and methodology, RdSAP and SAP.

RdSAP certificates are for buildings that are currently used as residential homes. This is the category that most EPC certificates fall into. However, if the property being assessed falls into the ‘new build’ category, an SAP EPC must be issued.

SAP methodology would start during the construction or conversion process, when an ‘on construction’ EPC would be issued. On completion of the build, this information would be used to issue an SAP EPC certificate.

An SAP EPC would still need to be issued even ifno ‘on construction’ EPC had been issued. The only exceptions to SAP EPCs for properties in the new build category would be if:

  1. The SAP data set used for building regulation compliance was no longer available
  2. The building had been altered in such a way that the SAP data set was no longer applicable

In these cases, assuming compelling supporting evidence was provided, the property would be assessed for an RdSAP EPC.

What’s the takeaway here?

Confused? We’re not surprised. Though at first glance the EPC process might seem quite simple, in some cases there might be a whole incomprehensible can of worms just waiting to be discovered.

The good news is that if you’re planning on selling or letting out your property, there’s absolutely no need for you to become an expert on this stuff. What you doneed to do is make sure you hire someone who is.

This is particularly vital if the property in question falls into the ‘new build’ category. Make sure you do your research and find an EPC provider who’s qualified to do on-build SAP EPCs.

Need help untangling your EPCs, RDSAPs and SAPs? Please get in touch if you have any questions or concerns about this and we’ll do our best to help.

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