RICS says that the EPC scheme ‘needs improvement’

RICS says that the EPC scheme ‘needs improvement’

11:08 AM, 15th November 2022, About A year 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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Seething Landlord

11:27 AM, 21st November 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Beaver at 21/11/2022 - 08:59
The proposal is for Band C, not D!

The problem is that Government is committed to rapid progress towards net zero emissions, which is the motivation for the proposals. Whether tenants will benefit is neither here nor there, although the notional reduction in heating costs will no doubt form part of the publicity and justification for the changes.

More worrying is that the consultation floated the idea of introducing a further requirement for the environmental impact rating, so the EPC revisions will almost certainly just be the next step on a long and increasingly expensive journey.


12:12 PM, 21st November 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 21/11/2022 - 11:27
My point is really that the EPC system does not work at Band D or at Band C. And rents have been shooting up with a 20% rise in some areas:


That's partly driven by the lack of supply vs. demand in the rental market but in truth all the measures applied against landlords in recent years have been inflationary. Nobody should ever have been surprised that rents are going up dramatically now.

All that's going to happen if the government continues with the proposals to ban the rental of properties below band C is that tenants will have less choice. If they sorted out the EPC so that you could believe in the rating then tenants could have more choice e.g.:

(1) Rent a Band D property but your energy bills may be higher (might not be true actually if you are using solid fuel rather than electricity)

(2) Rent a Band C property but your rent is going to be higher.

If they continue with the current proposals it is inevitable that they will be inflationary because they will either reduce supply or they will drive up rents even further. And all for no reason because the EPC system doesn't work anyway.

Seething Landlord

13:46 PM, 21st November 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Beaver at 21/11/2022 - 12:12
"All that's going to happen if the government continues with the proposals to ban the rental of properties below band C is that tenants will have less choice" could be the understatement of the year.

Apparently 60% of properties are currently Band D or below.


14:12 PM, 21st November 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Seething Landlord at 21/11/2022 - 13:46With the demise of the High Street and subsequent loss of shop doorways it would seem that a Park Bench business would thrive.


14:32 PM, 21st November 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by TheMaluka at 21/11/2022 - 14:12
It will....but there's going to be a lot of competition for those park benches and they are going to become really expensive. But if you speak really nicely to your local government energy inspector and persuade him to assume that they have lots of insulation that he can't see and promise to install a ground source heat pump that won't work when they turn the power off in January they'll probably make band C even if they are a bit damp. 😉

Old Mrs Landlord

22:46 PM, 21st November 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Beaver at 21/11/2022 - 14:32
But there will be media outrage if someone catches a cold from sleeping on a damp park bench! Then the local authority will introduce a licensing scheme with ridiculously onerous conditions and £30,000 fines for each infringement.

Old Mrs Landlord

23:30 PM, 21st November 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Dennis Forrest at 15/11/2022 - 14:46
I understand EPCs do not consider solar gain at all. I live in an old single-glazed solid-stone-walled house which faces south on a south-facing slope. The solar gain from the large windows on the south side has to be experienced to be believed and the thick stone walls act like storage heaters. An EPC assessment would take no account of that or the shelter the hillside gives to the north side which has only three small windows. Built around 1900, with a wind pump to raise the water from the well, a large rainwater storage tank and efficient septic tank drainage it would beat today's new-builds in any realistic assessment of ecological impact but probably score an EPC rating of F or G.


16:56 PM, 22nd November 2022, About A year ago

Reply to the comment left by Old Mrs Landlord at 21/11/2022 - 23:30
I don't think you are alone. If the government goes ahead with the current proposal there will be lots of rental properties in rural areas with solid walls, or walls that shouldn't be filled with CWI (cavity wall insulation) because it will create a problem with damp, or with a roof that needs ventilation to allow the joists to breathe; many of these will become unrentable even if they have ready access to firewood (a renewable). Bulldozing those houses to put up something that depends upon electricity generated by gas (or even coal if we still used it) makes no sense. Not allowing the owners the option to access grants for photovoltaics or wind generation because they aren't going to put in CWI also makes no sense.

When it comes to bills for tenants there will be plenty of properties out there that cannot be easily moved to Band C that still use either coal or smokeless solid fuel of some kind that will also become unrentable even though vs. electricity the solid fuel is relatively cheap for the tenants and provides energy security. When that happens supply will go down even further, demand will go up even further and rents will escalate even more than the 20% we have just seen. That problem will be dumped on the social housing sector and the benefits system.

The properties that cannot easily make Band C may either be sold or upgraded; if they do come back on the rental market after the owners have spent tens of thousands upgrading them it will be at a much higher rent.

Some properties will be sold and will just have CWI fitted to tick the EPC box; they will be sold on leaving the new owner occupiers to deal with the damp problems 5-10 years down the line. And then there will be a row about who is liable for that.

The EPC system isn't an Energy Performance System because it doesn't provide a reliable indicator of the performance of a property; what it is is an ENC system


but in this case the weavers are the companies selling the cavity wall insulation and the officials are the MPs agreeing for some reason that the system looks better than it really is.

Here's a formula for your local EPC inspector:

All properties ==> Band C = Rent Escalation x 2

Reluctant Landlord

9:36 AM, 23rd November 2022, About A year ago

'needs improvement'!!???

Needs to be scrapped. A proper assessment into what it is supposed to be addressing has to be decided first and then and only then a proper plan and system put in place to effectively monitor this - THEN think about improvements!


12:21 PM, 23rd November 2022, About A year ago

Coincidentally one of the building societies just issued a warning on foam insulation damaging properties.


You need reliable advice on how to improve the energy performance of your property. At the moment the EPC system doesn't provide reliable information and landlords, tenants and owner-occupiers are all vulnerable to the cowboys selling the insulation just as the tenants at Grenfell were vulnerable. No cavity walls ever burned anyone to death. Lots of children have probably been saved from asthma through not having damp and mould in their properties because they were adequately ventilated and the properties had an air gap in the walls to stop the damp getting in.

In theory giving tenants a choice of Band A if you want predictable or low energy bills or B and D or E if you need to be more careful with your energy use to avoid high bills would make sense *if* the EPC system worked. At present the certificate and the system need a caveat that says at the moment the EPC certificate you are looking at is highly likely to be b******s, we really have little idea of the energy performance of this property and we are just ticking a box to comply with a meaningless government target that is probably going to be damaging either to you or your home.

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