RICS says that the EPC scheme ‘needs improvement’

RICS says that the EPC scheme ‘needs improvement’

11:08 AM, 15th November 2022, About 2 years ago 20

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With residential landlords facing the prospect of meeting an EPC rating of C by 2025 for their rental properties, comes news from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) that EPCs are no longer fit for purpose and ‘need improvement’.

In a report, the organisation says that a shakeup is necessary if the UK wants to deal with reducing carbon in buildings.

RICS also highlights there are several ‘critical gaps’ in the country’s carbon policy that need to be addressed if the government wants to meet its net-zero goals by 2050.

They also say that the current metrics for building performance do not translate easily into the building’s total carbon output.

RICS says that these gaps mean there’s a challenge in tracking a building’s carbon output and discovering whether retrofits are achieving their stated reductions.

Also, the data of the embodied carbon output of the building is ‘too sparse’

Government needs to improve the EPC scheme

In its report, Decarbonising UK Real Estate, RICS says the government needs to improve the EPC scheme to make it fit for the different purposes that it serves.

The report goes on: ‘Significant improvements can be made to the way EPCs are calculated, presented and used’.

RICS is also calling for a national programme to fund retrofit projects – as laid down by the Construction Leadership Council in the National Retrofit Strategy.

The organisation says there is a lot to recommend in improving housing stock in the face of rising energy bills which will lower bills, boost values and indoor conditions and create employment.

‘Crucial changes need to be made’

Fabrizio Varriale, the place and space analyst at RICS, said: “Crucial changes need to be made in the way that carbon output is tracked in the UK’s built environment.

“By implementing the policy recommendations set out in this report, the UK Government will maximise the impact that sustainability policies in the built environment sector will bring to achieving its net-zero goals by 2050.”

He added: “This is an opportunity to radically shake up the sector and place it at the forefront of the UK’s carbon reduction initiatives by advancing a scientifically focused and data-driven sector that swiftly reacts and implements the changes needed to meet carbon output goals.”

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Helen Smitj

11:53 AM, 15th November 2022, About 2 years ago

EPC’s were never fit for purpose from their introduction. Totally dependent on the surveyor and the validation team. The programme doesn’t account for all variables in a property in the first instance. One property I have has underfloor insulation because the surveyor couldn’t see it, it wasn’t accounted for and was then put as recommended upgrade!

Chris H

13:39 PM, 15th November 2022, About 2 years ago

I have 3 flats all on the same estate, that are very well insulated, built as a copy of the Salford experiment, yet the epc simply applies the minimum standards of building regs for the year built, the system is a joke!

Seething Landlord

13:48 PM, 15th November 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Helen Smitj at 15/11/2022 - 11:53
You are not alone, we have exactly the same situation with one of our properties. Indicative cost £4000 - £6000, typical savings £51 per year and 2 extra points on the EPC rating!! Whoopee, a payback period of 100 years or so, except that it is the tenants who would benefit. It's all hypothetical anyway as there is already under floor insulation in place. The trouble is that you can't see it because, guess what, it's under the floor.

Who in their right mind would dream up this nonsense?


13:54 PM, 15th November 2022, About 2 years ago

I have a concrete roof to a block of flats externally insulated under the felt. I have copious photographs of the roof construction in all stages, taken some fifteen years ago. The entire set of photographs was rejected because it was more than three months old.

East Midlands Energy Efficiency

14:00 PM, 15th November 2022, About 2 years ago

There is plenty of room for improvement in the EPC system but most comments here highlight the fact it is only a visual inspect.

For example, if under floor insulation has been installed properly there should almost certainly be appropriate documentation. If there is documentation then it is the landlords responsibility to supply this to the assessor who should then include in appropriately in the EPC. From experience, most of the time when these measures are claimed there is no evidence to support then, often because Building Control were never properly involved. Indeed, I have never had an issue including "hidden" improvements when the relevant "As built" drawings or specifications and Building Control sign off have been supplied.

Seething Landlord

14:14 PM, 15th November 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by East Midlands Energy Efficiency at 15/11/2022 - 14:00
"it is only a visual inspect" - yes and that is the problem. It might have been sufficient when its only purpose was to give tenants a broad-brush comparison between different properties but not since it has had such significance in deciding whether a property is fit for the rental market.

Are you seriously suggesting that as the current owner of an estate house built by a developer in 1992 with under-floor insulation and purchased by me in 2008, I should be able to produce documentation to prove its existence? What planet are you on?

Helen Smitj

14:37 PM, 15th November 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by East Midlands Energy Efficiency at 15/11/2022 - 14:00
What do you mean by ‘properly’?
Are you implying that only registered companies do works properly? And that competent people don’t do works properly? I have receipts for the materials used and photographs throughout each stage of the work. Surveyor didn’t want to know as they were a few years old. Also I had a property internally insulated through a grant scheme and when the epc surveyor arrived 5 weeks after completion he was reluctant to consider the walls which didn’t have a plug/light socket on which could be removed to evidence the insulated plasterboard used.

Dennis Forrest

14:46 PM, 15th November 2022, About 2 years ago

Solar gain is completely ignored. I have a modern 2 bedroom flat. The only external wall has 3 windows plus glazed French doors. This wall faces due South and my tenants are pleased as to how low the electric heating costs are and many times in the winter if the sun is shining they can turn the heating off. A recent EPC was 'B' as expected but out of interest I asked him if the identical flat behind facing due North would get the same rating - the answer was yes even though the heating bills could be double the south facing flat??
Another example was a recent EPC at our own house. Again 'B' rating but a recommendation to fit solar panels to further lower the EPC. Not much space on the front roof and in any case the dormer type windows could cause shadows over the panels at certain times of the day and affect their efficiency. The rear roof might have been a possibility but it faces north-west and the only time it gets any sun is around 4.00 pm on a summer's day.


15:40 PM, 15th November 2022, About 2 years ago

We can only hope that some of these stumbling blocks are addressed, but don't hold your breath.

If an assessor refuses to take you evidence into consideration, you can either appeal the rating or simply instruct another inspection, in the hope that you will get the call centre approach and the next assessor will be more attuned to your expectations.

iHowz welcome RICS timely report and the issues it highlights.

You can see the last letter from iHowz pushing for the publication of the new standards here


8:59 AM, 21st November 2022, About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 15/11/2022 - 13:48
l agree that the EPC system is nonsense but I believe that most tenants will not benefit from the proposal to make it mandatory for all properties to be at Band D by 2025.

This is partly because the EPC system is a tick-box exercise that doesn't address the real performance of each property. But it's also because if you want to retro fit measures that will genuinely make a significant difference to a property you are often looking at tens of thousands of pounds worth of cost and this cost is capital expenditure; you cannot offset the cost against your rents and you have to finance it. This increases both your cost and your risk as a landlord and will probably result in you having to end tenancies to make the improvements. The effect of this is that you are going to increase your rents so the tenants will not benefit; if genuine improvements are made they will just trade higher rents for lower energy bills (although the energy bills will only be lower if they are capable of using the new technology effectively).

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