Sterling to offer Domestic Accreditation

December 6th, 2012

Sterling Accreditation is proud and delighted to announce a new working partnership with Property Tectonics to deliver Domestic EPCs for England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. We share the same quality driven service, the same commitment to support and a desire to give the best service to our customers.
Following the decision by RICS to withdrawal from the Accreditation sector, Sterling Accreditation and Property Tectonics have developed a seamless transition for RICS members to switch to Sterling Accreditation.
Initially this service will be based on the popular LifespanRdSAP software; our future plans include opening this up to third party electronic data entry software devices.
 
Further information on this new development and details on how to Join Sterling will follow shortly

DCLG Clarification on AC Penalties

December 6th, 2012

Air conditioning inspections
It has been brought to the Department’s attention that there has been misleading information circulating about the penalties associated with the statutory duties, in relation to air conditioning inspections, contained in the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 (EPB Regulations). The EPB Regulations require that air conditioning systems with an effective rated output of more than 12kW must be inspected at regular intervals not exceeding 5 years.

This letter seeks to provide clarification about the level of fines which can be imposed for non compliance; those persons who would be liable to pay penalty charges; the number of days in which the operator of the system would have to comply with the requirement to produce a copy of the inspection report when requested by an authorised officer of an enforcement authority.

Penalty amount for non compliance
The fine which can be imposed for non compliance with the requirements of the regulations concerning air conditioning inspections, specified at Regulation 43(1)(d) of the EPB Regulations, is £300. This amount has not changed since the EPB Regulations were first implemented in 2007 and there are no current plans to increase the amount.

Responsibilities for ensuring inspections are carried out.
The relevant person responsible for meeting any requirements in the EPB Regulations in relation to an air conditioning system is the person who has control of the operation of the system. The person who controls the operation of the system is the person who controls the technical functioning of the system, not someone who can just alter the temperature. Tenants of a building, where a central air conditioning system is under the control of the building owner or manager, would not be liable for a penalty charge for any breach of the duties.

Providing a copy of the air conditioning reports for inspection
An authorised officer of an enforcement authority may require the person who has control of the operation of the air conditioning system to produce a copy of the most recent report for inspection within seven days. That person, however, is not required to comply with such a requirement if they have a reasonable excuse for not complying with the requirement.
It is important to recognise that legal action should be seen as the option of last resort. As a consequence, much of the enforcement activity should be aimed at prompting those responsible into taking the necessary steps to comply with the regulations, rather than immediately issuing penalty notices in every instance.

Scotland Protocol Approved

September 5th, 2012

Sterling Accreditation is pleased to announce that we have now been approved by the Scottish Government as a protocol organisation.
With the introduction of a central register for EPC lodgement on 1st October 2012, Sterling will be ready to accredit Assessors and offer full lodgement services to the new registers. For further details on how to become accredited to work in Scotland, please contact us.

OrCalc Software Update

August 14th, 2012

All users of ORCalc are required to install the new version of ORCalc, v3.6.2, which shall be made available in the authorised user area of the Non Domestic Register websites in E&W and NI.  This version includes the previously released Welsh language patch; consequently, users are not required to patch v3.6.2 separately, as is the case with v3.6.1.  Other than uninstalling v3.6.1 beforehand, there should be no further action. 

For the small number of DEC assessors using ORCalc and familiar with the “web browser connection mode”; this has changed and is described in detail in an updated version of the user guide that will be made available for download alongside the ORCalc v3.6.2 software.

The software and information to allow ORCalc users and OR software vendors to transition will become available as detailed above on Thursday 2nd August 2012.

We recommend that Accreditation Schemes advise their DEC Assessors to switch to v3.6.2 of ORCalc as soon as possible.

Please note that both the current and new systems will be operational from Thursday 2nd August 2012 until Friday 7th September 2012.  Shortly after 7th September 2012, verification connections using the current version of ORCalc v3.6.1 will be disabled and the necessary steps taken to decommission the current verification service.  Both ORCalc v3.6.1 and v3.6.2 will be available in the authorised user area of the Non Domestic Register websites from 2nd August 2012 until 7th September 2012.  Shortly after 7th September 2012, ORCalc v3.6.1 and its associated Welsh patch and documentation will be removed from the Non Domestic Register websites.

Sterling e-volve – AC Report Writing Software

March 14th, 2012

Sterling e-volve is fully accredited and approved by the DCLG, it is LIVE and Ready to use by Sterling Registered Members and best of all it is FREE. Our Desktop based application includes a number of time saving features that could dramatically reduce your report writing time, assessors already lodging reports have confirmed a 25% time saving efficiency over other report writing tools. Being a desktop application you have the peace of mind knowing that the data you input is safe and secure, reports are automatically saved to your desktop and can be created without the need for an internet connection.
For more information contact us on 023 9244 9601 or email info@sterlingaccreditation.com

2012 Consultation on Building Regulations

February 2nd, 2012

The Building Regulations Minister Andrew Stunell announced today the launch of the 2012 consultation on changes to the Building Regulations.
The consultation builds upon ideas and suggestions provided by our external partners as part of a review which began in 2010, to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and ensure that Building Regulations remain proportionate and fit-for-purpose.
The consultation outlines changes from deregulatory proposals, to provisions to further improve the energy efficiency and safety aspects of the technical Building Regulations. In addition to this it also explores a number of changes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the building control system.
The consultation is presented in four sections:
• Section one: outline of the 2012 consultation approach and proposals to change various technical aspects of the regulations.
• Section two: proposals to increase the energy efficiency of buildings
• Section three: proposals in relation to electrical safety in homes
• Section four: proposals to the building control system
The consultation will remain open until 27 April 2012, although responses on aspects that link to the Green Deal proposals in Section two are requested by 27 March 2012.
Full details are available on the CLG website

Sterling would like to welcome both Peter Rowley and Richard Eves to our ever expanding team

November 29th, 2011

• Peter has joined the Sterling Technical Support team, bringing with him a wealth of technical experience from previous roles as a trainer, quality auditor and technical consultant for commercial energy assessments. His key role will be to provide energy assessors with technical support and advice.
• Richard has joined the Sterling Sales and Marketing team drawing on his considerable experience from previous sales and marketing roles within the sustainability and environmental industry.  His key role will be to develop new accounts on a UK basis and manage key relationships.

Comment from Simon Barnes
“Our aim is to continuously improve the services we provide to our members.  Peter and Richard will bring added value to the existing team with their wealth of experience, highlighting Sterling’s commitment to their members.  We wish both Richard and Peter all the best in their new roles “

The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections)(England and Wales)(Amendment) Regulations 2011

October 18th, 2011

The following document and direct web link provide details of the changes that are coming to force on 6th April 2012.
http://www.sterlingaccreditation.com/docs/uksi_20112452_en.pdf

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2011/2452/contents/made

Copy of the PDF issued to all Sterling Accredited Members

All Commercial Buildings Should have DECs

April 11th, 2011

The UK Green Building Council has issued a report calling for the mandatory display of an A to G rating for the energy efficiency of all non-residential buildings as early as 2012, in a move which could see an upsurge of growth in the energy assessment industry.

The organisation said the measure, to drive efficiency, cut costs and encourage refurbishment, should be introduced as part of the Energy Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.

‘Display Energy Certificates provide both an ‘at-a-glance indicator’ and detailed technical information on the energy performance of buildings’, said UK-GBC, which was set up by the last government in 2007 to provide direction for sustainability and carbon reduction in the building sector.

Recommendations in the report, launched at an event on 29 March with the Communities and Local Government Minister Andrew Stunell MP, include detailed proposals to implement a practical roll-out, and are the result of an in depth consultation with a cross-section of UK-GBC members. 

Key recommendations include:

  • Display Energy Certificates (DECs) should become mandatory for all non-domestic building occupiers, with a phased roll out starting in 2012.
  • Landlords should also be required to display certificates showing the energy efficiency of the services they provide.  Landlords must pass data to occupiers; this should be based on the Landlord’s Energy Statement (LES) which has been developed by the private sector.
  • DECs should be used to produce a range of publicly accessible league tables based on occupiers, landlords, sectors, buildings types and uses. This could replace the current Carbon Reduction Commitment league table for those organisations in the buildings sector.

Full article – Energy Assessor Magazine

http://energyassessormagazine.com/DECsforallbuildingsby2012.aspx

Tough new rules on commercial EPC compliance

February 7th, 2011

Tough new rules on commercial EPC compliance are to be introduced within three months and could lead to a bonanza of work for assessors.

Following lobbying on behalf of Energy Assessor Magazine, the government has said that new EPB regulations, to be introduced in April, will give commercial property agents the same responsibility for enforcing EPC compliance that domestic estate agents have always had.

The move could lead to a major improvement in the workload of commercial assessors, since most business properties currently being marketed do not have EPCs, and many are sold or let without a certificate, with owners opting to ‘take a chance’ in view of the lax enforcement regime.

The new regulations have been promised by Department of Communities and Local Government junior minister Andrew Stunell (left), a former architect, who has responsibility for building regulations.

The minister has not revealed exactly when the new regulations will take effect, and there could be a lapse of some months before they do.

In an approach to government last year, Editor Terry Wardle put forward evidence that commercial EPC compliance is at levels that the minister admitted are ‘poor’, and that Trading Standards – the responsible enforcement authority – are refusing to do anything about it.

The minister said the regulations will also include a reduction in the time that building owners are allowed to obtain an EPC, if marketing of a commercial property commences without one, and clarification of the rules governing the provision of the EPC to potential buyers.

The minister pointed that only domestic property agents have a duty to satisfy themselves that an EPC has been commissioned before marketing commences.

Referring to our proposal that commercial property agents should have the same duty, the minister said: ‘ I am pleased to say that we intend to make this change as part of a package of changes to the EPB Regulations that we aim to bring into force in April 2011.

‘These changes are designed to improve compliance and make the detection of non-compliance easier for enforcement authorities’.

EAM Editor Terry Wardle said: ‘All commercial assessors are going to welcome this news.  The last government actually refused to take this action, so it is good to see the Coalition doing it.

‘I am fortunate to work with some very good commercial agents, who clearly do their best to ensure that their clients do get EPCs, but this should make it easier for all agents to ensure compliance.

‘And very importantly, it should allow commercial assessors to get some much-needed security, and have the opportunity to plan for the future by looking at additional qualifications and skills, to improve services to their clients.  And that has to be good for the industry and the country.’

Source: http://energyassessormagazine.com/