Grant Shapps to change Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) delivery?

Energy Performance Certificates are required before marketing can commence for both rental and sales of properties within the UK. Anyone who has recently sold their house would have had an EPC carried out as part of the Home Information Pack.

EPC graphThe EPC graph summary has become synonymous with the quick and easy attribution of energy efficiency of a domestic property with a similar graph format being used to represent energy efficiency of domestic appliances.

The full EPC certificate provides additional information; including details of the properties’ carbon emissions and likely fuel costs alongside possible energy efficient home improvements and their associated positive impact on both energy efficiency and environmental rating

Grants Shapps’s attitude towards HIPs is clear in one respect; he does not like them, though continues to avoid spelling out the Conservatives alternative (which does make the assumption they have one) and how they plan to manage the associated problems we highlighted in our recent article Conservative Home Information Pack policy to stall property market? and the response Grant Shapps gave us to – Conservatives to consult on Home Information Packs (HIPs).

Supporters of energy efficiency are pleased that Grant Shapps has no option  to scrap EPCs as they are EU Legislation via the Energy Performance of Building Directive (EPBD) though he can alter the way the legislation is implemented in the UK.

The rates of compliance with EPC legislation in respect of marketed properties for sale has been largely successful and attributed to HIP legislation. Brian Scannell managing director of National Energy Services recently stated during analysis of EPC numbers,

“Thanks to HIPs we know that there is a very high level of compliance in the housing marketed sales sector. So the number of marketed sales EPC registered is going to be very good indication of the total number of homes listed for sale during the year.”

However, concern amongst various industry professionals is that the Conservatives plan on resigning and down grading the EPC to the end of the sales and marketing process. If the EPC was moved as is feared, this would potentially remove the information which could be utilised to help make an informed decision on a properties energy efficiency and anticipated fuel bills. This area is becoming increasingly important to consumers as predictions of fuel and energy prices  continue to rise.

Energy Performance Certificates were discussed during a recent NHBC Election Lecture with Grant Shapps MP and can be seen at about 39 mins 30 secs into the lecture.

Jenny Holland, Head of the Parliamentary Team at the Association for the Conservation of Energy, put Grant Shapps on the spot about his previously stated intention to downgrade EPCs, only requiring them to be produced by the end of the sales process, rather than being a legal requirement at the time a home is placed on the market.

Speaking after the event, Jenny said that she remained unsatisfied by the Shadow Housing Minister’s response:

“I invited Mr Shapps to agree with me that in order to build awareness of energy efficiency and climate change issues among the general public we must make sure they have as much information as possible to enable them to make informed choices about the homes they buy on the basis of their energy performance and the fuel bills they can anticipate paying.

I told him that, in my view, his intention to downgrade EPCs would have the very opposite effect. Unfortunately his answer did nothing to convince me that he has seen the light – and I fear that an incoming Tory Government will carry on with their damaging plans to shunt EPCs to the very end of the sales process, thereby denying homebuyers the chance to make informed choices about the homes they buy.

I continue to press the Tory front bench on this issue at every available opportunity – and I would urge everyone else to do likewise.”

It is interesting and duly noted, that prominent property related orgainsations we have recently highlighted are keen to increase and improve regulation and raise standards.  These intentions do seem to be in conflict with a degree of present Conservative party policy. The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) for example is campaigning for increased regulation; and the NHBC Lecture showcased its ‘tagline’ –  ‘Raising standards to protect home owners’.

There does seem to be some agreement amongst professionals that regulation and providing information upfront at the point of interest (i.e. first day of marketing) within the property industry as with many other industries; does improve consumer protection and informed decision making. However, the Conservative policies on HIPs and EPCs do seem to go against this belief, but with so little detail it does remain unclear on certain aspects.


The food industry saying, ‘Yes, we will provide nutritonal information regarding food, but only once you have bought it, or even better once you have eaten it.’

The car industry saying, ‘Of course we will tell you what tax band the vehicle is in and the MPG you can anticipate, but we need you to committ to buying first.’

The local school saying, ‘Yes, there was an OfSted report recently carried out on our school, but before you can read it we need you to enrol your child in our school.’

An appliance retailer saying, ‘Yes, we have the energy rating of this fridge. We will give you details once you have paid at the till.’

We have invited Grants Shapp’s office to respond to the points raised throughout the article and specifically clarify when EPCs would be required if they did win the election. Of course we will update you as and when we recieve it.

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