Better quality Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) are on the way, and according to an update published by the government on the 29th November, the assessors who produce the certificates will be better trained and need to pass a top up training exam to allow their accreditation to continue.
Why should this matter?
Well, despite the high standards originally planned for the industry, many accreditation schemes and consequently some of their assessors were found to be working to different standards. From the outset some were not even qualified and worked as data collectors, having their surveys signed off remotely by assessors who were unlikely to be able to verify the true quality of the work.
Many of the loopholes holes that allowed this have since been closed and new audit requirements keep intermittent checks on assessors. However, this hasn’t been enough to guarantee that the assessors with poor knowledge or little experience of building construction (possibly numbering thousands of assessors) have improved their skills.
The government has identified the areas which pose the greatest problems to EPC standards and have introduced a new mandatory qualification that all assessors will need to pass before April 2012. This will include a better overall knowledge of the principles of building structure, elements and fabric, as well as a better understanding of how the building fabric and its services interact.
What will the new EPC contain?
A clearer layout and advice will be the most noticeable changes. The reader of the EPC will also be pointed in the direction of green deal funding – the government funding mechanism that will provide funds for home efficiency improvements.
Behind the scenes the software model that calculates the EPC is also being improved. This all adds up to a better product, produced by better skilled people. The end result will be good advice about lowering home energy costs on a permanent basis – a subject that is particularly in fashion right now.
The new EPC will be introduced in April 2012.