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.’