EPC clearly wrong so can Assessor be made to change it once issued?

by Readers Question

14:29 PM, 15th October 2020
About 6 days ago

EPC clearly wrong so can Assessor be made to change it once issued?

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EPC clearly wrong so can Assessor be made to change it once issued?

Just had an EPC done on a flat. Last EPC rating was a D now its an F – so essentially now unrentable!

The Assessor for the latest report has deemed it 2 mtsq bigger than the last report yet there has been no structural change and also listed it as a Ground floor flat when the last report stated it was a top floor flat. (A qwerky building I grant you as it’s built on a slope with the existing half being above the underneath flat, and the (newer) other half of the flat being built further up the slope on the ground itself.

The floor was N/A in the first report as there is a flat below (correct) and no further recommendations, yet the latest report states Floor is suspended, no insulation (assumed) yet suggests insulation as a recommendation. Clearly, the flooring is not the same throughout the flat yet the latest assessor has used the total floor space to assess this.

The first report showed Timber frame, as built, insulated (assumed)
Cavity wall, as built, insulated (assumed), yet the most recent assessor stated Timber frame, as built, partial insulation (assumed) Cavity wall, as built, no insulation (assumed) and therefore gave it a poor rating.

Is it possible to argue your case to the Assessor and have them amend and re-issue the certificate in light of this clear confusion? I have plans of the building to show the flooring situation. Surely they have to go on what the previous assessment says and any updates you have done to the property as a baseline??

I have tried to call the latest assessor to discuss after already emailing him previously to ask for clarity, but he’s not come back to me. Do I go to his company direct now?

Many Thanks

Reluctant Landlord


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Comments

WP

14:39 PM, 16th October 2020
About 5 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Cognito at 16/10/2020 - 14:02
£55

gachilleos

17:30 PM, 16th October 2020
About 5 days ago

Hi Reluctant Landlord,

I am an energy assessor and wanted to explain some of the process which might help highlight any issues that have arisen.

Firstly the EPC assessment is done on the day, therefore if the assessment can only include what happens on the day itself. For example, if you had an old boiler on the day of the assessment but have it booked in to be changed the next day for a more efficient one, it's the one on the day of the assessment that would be included.

The old EPC shouldn't be used for the assessment itself as the previous assessor could have made a mistake but can be used as a sort of guideline to highlight certain aspects such as there being loft insulation.

We as assessors are only permitted to include "actual" evidence whether it is photographic or documented data such as a building control cert/receipts of payment, letter from building company etc. If we do not have the evidence we are not permitted to take the landlords word for it and have to put the worst case scenario down. Often this would be done by entering as built options, for example, if we cannot see bore holes for cavity wall insulation, we enter cavity wall, insulation as built. Our software will "assume" based on the age of the property if insulation would or wouldn't be present.

Personally, I would have asked question prior to the visit to identify certain aspects of the property such as if there is access to a loft, have walls been insulated or has an extension been done etc. The assessor should have checked the planning portal to establish if there is evidence for the extension and as the property is claimed to be extended in 1995 (if different to the existing part) should have been entered as an "extension" where the flooring options would have been different as would the CWI assumption.

If you believe the assessment has been conducted incorrectly, you need to raise this issue with the assessor/company that lodged the current EPC not the previous assessor (as the new one overwrites the previous one). Depending on the evidence that you can provide to them, they might not relodge the EPC as it was the assessment done on the day.

Personally, if I made the mistake, I would amend it at no cost to the client. If they didn't ask you any questions prior the assessment or conducted an online search to add the evidence, then they haven't conducted a prior assessment. If they are unwilling to reply to you or won't amend their mistake, you have the right to complain to their accreditation which should be noted on the EPC.

The accreditation would request an audit on the assessor to see the evidence collected on the day of the assessment and if the audit fails, they would be instructed to amended it otherwise face being temporarily suspended.

Hope this helps. If you need any further clarification, I'm more than happy to help.

Kind regards,

George

Gunga Din

18:37 PM, 16th October 2020
About 5 days ago

I am very cynical about the EPC assessment regime.
I agree there are some rogue assessors out there like in any field/industry, but the problem is there's little opportunity for recourse. I reported one to his licensing authority (Stroma?) a few years back and they were powerless to take any action and initially resisted my request that the report be removed from the online EPC register.
I have the impression they're a self-serving cartel like NHBC.
The bank had commissioned the assessment in connection with a remortgage. I'll give the assessor due credit for looking at the building on google street map, but much of the detail made it clear he hadn't been in the building, and thought it was a single dwelling, when in fact its three flats in a three storey Victorian terrace house.
Had he looked at EPCregister online he would have seen the three separate reports.
Not having been told it was done, I didn't know about the report's existence until a year later. By then the assessor's phone number on the report was not operational, I couldn't trace him (details available on request - they were in the public domain), and the bank denied having commissioned the report!

gachilleos

19:14 PM, 16th October 2020
About 5 days ago

Reply to the comment left by Gunga Din at 16/10/2020 - 18:37
Hi Gunga,

I'm sorry to hear of your bad experience. I fully understand your concerns and have often raised these issues with the accreditations and government departments that oversee them.

Generally with a property as you described, as the property was converted into 3 flats, there should be individual EPCs for each flat. Personally, once an EPC is conducted and completed, I would always let the client know and ask if they have any queries regarding the EPC.

If the assessor only did a "drive-by" assessment and not inspected the property within then it is invalid but unless proven it is difficult to have removed. If you search on the EPC register, there is an option to search for the assessor. If you know their details (page 4 of the EPC), then you can see if they are still accredited to conduct EPCs. If you cannot find them, they have either been removed or stopped conducting EPCs.

Generally, if the assessor can be shown to not conduct the assessment correctly, and the accreditation does not act, you can seek the ombudsmen who oversee it all and deal with complaints. Unfortunately, you would need to Google it as I can't remember them when I called a few years ago to seek advise against a complaint I had with an accreditation.

I, myself, have been looking into ways to may the EPC better as it is based on the average household rather than the individuals present in the property. Currently, if an occupancy assessment is conducted or a retrofit assessment they would provide a better outcome although the retrofit assessment doesn't issue the EPC.

Hope this helps?

Kind regards,

George

Jireh Homes

19:45 PM, 16th October 2020
About 5 days ago

Reply to the comment left by WP at 16/10/2020 - 14:39
Cost of £55.00 is very cheap for an EPC, bearing in mind the lodgement fee is circa £10 and if the DEA sub-contracting to a service company the individual DEA will be making very little return for their investment in training and CPD.

Jireh Homes

19:50 PM, 16th October 2020
About 5 days ago

Reply to the comment left by WP at 16/10/2020 - 13:53
HI WP - the company you engaged is incorrect in advising contact the original assessor. Whilst the original assessment may be incorrect that is not your current issue, in that you are seeking clarification of the assumptions used in the current assessment. Any good DEA would be willing to share this.

ECO Grant Central Heating

21:36 PM, 16th October 2020
About 5 days ago

Reply to the comment left by WP at 16/10/2020 - 13:53
As I understand it, EPC's cannot be amended unless it's within 14 days of the date of the EPC. You can request a new EPC to be done but once the 14 period has passed then it cannot be changed or removed from the register. I am open to being corrected on this but it is what I have been told. I advise on the ECO First Time Central Heating Grant Scheme and find there are many many EPCs that have been done incorrectly which unfortunately has meant tenants have not been able to qualify for the ECO Grant for incorrect information on the property namely that the property has already got gas central heating. Even when there has is no gas supply to the property in some instances. These rogue EPCs cannot be removed as far as I have been able to ascertain.

Jo Westlake

21:51 PM, 16th October 2020
About 5 days ago

EPCs are a complete nightmare. It's pot luck with what result any assessor will come up with.
I bought a complete renovation project a few months ago with a recent EPC of F25. I got my regular EPC assessor in to advise on how best to improve the EPC. He started by carrying out a new EPC and found it was actually G14. Acting on his advice I've managed to increase it to D55.

Another property clearly had a pattern of drill holes where cavity wall insulation had been installed but that assessor assumed no insulation!

On another day I had 3 EPCs done on the same day in similar properties with identical heating controls. She rated 2 as good and one as poor for the identical kit.

Another house has large areas of flat roof which had been replaced between the original EPC and the most recent one. The assessor had to assume no insulation as the Building Control certificate didn't specify how many mm had been used (only that it complied) and the photos the roofer took only showed his hand next to the Celotex not a tape measure.

Recommended measures are often impossible in Conservation areas or leasehold properties.

Craig B

10:59 AM, 17th October 2020
About 4 days ago

If the whole dwelling is classed as a room in roof, which it sounds like given your description
of the slope, this is how it must be recorded according to the methodology.
It must be recorded as the lowest habitable floor of the building, timber frame, height 2.2m.
Unfortunately, it sounds to me like it was the previous one that was wrong

Craig B

11:08 AM, 17th October 2020
About 4 days ago

Reply to the comment left by WP at 16/10/2020 - 13:53
Whole dwelling within a roof
When the property is a single storey located entirely in the roof,
it cannot be entered as a roof room. Enter it as:
n Lowest occupied level
n Timber frame construction of appropriate age band
n Room height 2.2m
n Include area and perimeter measurements as per a normal
storey
n Enter roof as pitched roof
n Any masonry external walls as alternative walls
If there are two storeys within a roof, enter the lower storey as
above and the upper storey as room in roof.

It sounds to me like it's correct. I've just copied that from the methodology the DEA has to adhere to.

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