Grant Shapps responds to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) policy

After a recent article ‘Grant Shapps to change Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) delivery?‘ where we discussed the changes Grant Shapps and the Conservatives have suggested that they may implement within the EPC regulations, we can publish the response we have received.

In a letter from Grant Shapps’s office …

Hope you are well, thanks for giving us the opportunity to respond to the article published on your website.

As you know, Conservatives opposed the introduction of have Home Information Packs and have consistently maintained that in government we would abolish HIPs.

The packs are costing the housing market more than £300 million a year and Grant has pledged to give the industry a shot in the arm by making HIPs history.

I know you’re also aware of the Party’s commitment towards Energy Performance Certificates. Grant believes that EPCs are, however, being under-utilised bound up as they are in the pointless bureaucracy of the HIP regime. In a speech to the Building Research Establishment in November, Grant outlined the Party’s plans for EPCs in a post-HIPs market. You can read the speech here.

By using our innovative Green Deal as a vehicle, Grant believes that EPCs will become a more important part of the homebuying process whilst also increasing the likelihood of a householder commissioning a report outside of the buying and selling process. Conservatives have said that an EPC should be commissioned before a property comes to the market but crucially the completed energy assessment should include details of the simple changes that could be made to the home through the Green Deal.

Grant and his colleagues are ready to tackle the 27 per cent of this country’s emissions which come from domestic properties. We know that EPCs and Domestic Energy Assessors will play an integral part of ensuring success in this regard.

Thanks again for getting in touch and for providing us with an opportunity to respond.

Best regards

As is becoming seemingly more frequent and not just with the Conservatives; the response given warrants clarification and further associated questions which still remain unanswered.

Below are questions which we know many seek answers to (we have re-referenced and re-quoted from the initial statement above)

Conservatives have said that an EPC should be commissioned before a property comes to the market but crucially the completed energy assessment should include details of the simple changes that could be made to the home through the Green Deal.

Q 1 Are you saying that as long as an EPC has been ordered a property can be marketed and therefore potential buyers/tenants may not be able to use the EPC as part of an informed decision making process as the EPC may not be in place?

Q 2 It is recognised that HIPs have helped raise and ensure EPC compliance in the domestic market; especially when you compare the non compliance rates of standalone commercial EPCs.

Quidos Commercial EPC non-compliance report
NHER Commercial EPC compliance investigation

If you plan on relaxing EPC requirements in domestic properties and scrapping HIPs how are you going to ensure domestic EPC compliance remains high?

Q 3 Is it fair to say that Conservatives seem to be aiming to lower standards in the home buying and selling process; when most industry professionals are looking to increase standards and regulation. By lowering standards are you hoping to stimulate more activity in the market?

As you know, Conservatives opposed the introduction of have Home Information Packs and have consistently maintained that in government we would abolish HIPs. The packs are costing the housing market more than £300 million a year and Grant has pledged to give the industry a shot in the arm by making HIPs history.

Q3 Have you decided upon who will be involved in the consultation regarding home information packs which you previously mentioned and what do you hope to achieve with a consultation if you have already decided that HIPs will be scrapped?

Q4. Are you going to replace Home Information Packs with anything else or will we revert to the old system pre-HIPs?

Grant Shapps’s office have indicated they will respond as soon as is possible.

Hopefully, the response will detail and answer the above questions and provide the information for those interested in energy efficiency and EPCs so an informed decision can be made at the nearing general election. Whether EPCs will form part of an informed decision making process in the Conservatives’ prospective home buying and selling process still seems far from clear.


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7 Responses to “Grant Shapps responds to Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) policy”

  1. Lowering standards will stimulate the market but it is a dangerous ploy to take. No one will ever describe it as such as it has a bad perception, but ‘relaxation’ of regulation or removing beaurocracy has more pleasant conotations. Hoever, they are the same 🙂

    Unfortunately, if he gets rid of the regulations it will be the man in the street who will suffer as consumer protection will be over ridden by the desire to help the rich to get on more. Information is key, getting rid of it or finding a loop hole such as the information had been ordered …. is plain wrong. Shame on the Conservatives

  2. Am afraid i must agree. The domestic EPC market has its problems but compliance is generally good. The commercial market is improving, apparently !! but i do not see it at present. Trading standards say they are intelligence led so they do nothing without a tip off.

    If Shapps removes HIPs and keeps EPCs but only need to be ordered you will see widespread non compliance accross the board mark my words.

    Then you have 2 options, turn a blind eye and do very little or start to extensively police it. Policing is great but at what cost to tax payers? So we go from a system which brings income for the government to one that is costing us millions, great another well thought through idea.

  3. EPCs are pretty basic from what i have recently seen but do seem to give some interesting information which am sure some wouldnt be able to deduce themselves. If your going to do it, is there any point if you cant see them until after youve bought?

  4. Quote….energy assessment should include details of the simple changes that could be made to the home through the Green Deal…Unquote.

    The “Green Deal”…would that the same as “Warm Fronts” boiler scrappage scheme?

    Pay about £1000 over the tops for one of “their” recommended firms?

    Lining pockets all over the place.

    I wonder how many MP’s have vested intrests here?

    And when they get found out…”Sorry m’lud..I thought I was following the rules. I will report myself..immediatly to “someone” to show how honest & sorry I am????!!!

    Sorry…got to go as the truck has arrived to clean out my moat around my castle. If I was an MP I could have got the tax payer to pay for it!

  5. Paul – Thus far, Tesco and Marks & Spencers have both been signed up as partners to the Green Deal. ( Guardian Comment on The Green Deal – http://bit.ly/55kMG1 )

    Shapps’ appears to be pitching EPC’s as a catalyst for environmental progress, rather than as a regulatory replacement for HIP’s. I’d like to know how he intends to abolish HIP’s without undermining consumer confidence.

  6. @NewhomesUK it is clear most of the conservatives are now aiming for soundbites rather than explanations. There is little thought being put into statements of which some are quite insulting.

    Reducing NI when the country is on its knees is ludicrous, unfortunately some willl fall for it. Even more cynically you can tell who they think will fall for it based upon where they make the announcements 🙂

    Yet again, Grant Shapps has said he will scrap HIPs (or was that his parrott). How about telling us what you will do instead, possibly consultation after consultation wasting money without any positive steps after 5yrs in government. Unless of course he felt it was perfect before.

  7. Having just ordered a HIPS (and was amazed at the alacrity of the response, indicating there aren’t many going through right now) and bemoaning the good old days when one could market a house without any up front costs, I’d very much like to know, if the Conservatives do away with HIPS (which in theory would be good)what exactly will they replace them with and what will the cost be? The cost is what most people object to. Few people who are buying a house right now don’t give a damn about reading the HIPS and estate agents we’ve talked to all agree on this, saying that out of all their current sales about 1% of buyers ask to see the HIPS package. Frankly, if you find a house you like in the right spot, at the right price, you go for it. Many’s the disadvantage we’ve overlooked when buying if the house is right for us. Sure, we’d all like eneergy efficient boilers, etc etc. but if you need a house near a school or your job and you like you’ll replace the boiler, etc. yourself at some stage.
    You can bet expensive consultations will take place if HIPs are scrapped and ‘consultants’ will spring up over night, comprising of then redundant specially trained HIPS men.

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