What is an EPC?

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An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a report that details the energy efficiency of a property. It gives a rating between A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) which reflects the property’s overall energy efficiency.

An EPC also contains information about how a property uses its energy and the typical energy costs and detail the estimated heating, lighting and hot water costs as well as the carbon emissions released over a year from the property. It will contain recommendations on how to reduce this usage and any excessive costs.  Some EPCs allow you to compare the energy efficiency ratings of homes across the UK.

It is essential that when you sell or let a property, an EPC is a legal requirement and you must have obtained one prior to the sale or let going through. Estate agents must help to organise an EPC for potential buyers and tenants before marketing a property to sell or rent.

An EPC it is valid for 10 years.

In Scotland, it is legally required to display the EPC somewhere in the property so that potential buyers/tenants can see it. Estate agents and letting agents must also present the EPC when marketing the property.

If a property is sold or let out without a valid EPC, the seller, landlord and the agent risk a fine.

How do I get an EPC?

In order to get an EPC you must find an accredited Domestic Agency assessor to carry one out. The assessor will visit your property at an agreed time and inspect certain key areas and features including loft insulation, heating and hot water boiler, hot water tanks, radiators and windows and so on.

You can find an accredited EPC assessor on the Government website.

In Scotland, most homes will require a Home Report when going to market, part of which is an EPC. Even if the property is exempt from a Home Report, an EPC is still required.

What Happens During An EPC

When you organise an EPC assessment, a qualified and accredited Domestic Energy Assessor will visit your property and carry out a kind of survey, which should take between 20 and 60 minutes. The assessor will make notes of the following:
  • Size of living space
  • Construction of the house
  • Insulation
  • Lighting
  • Heating system/controls
This is the information on which they will base how good or bad your property’s energy efficiency is. They will give your property a rating from A to G, with A being ‘Very Efficient’ and G being ‘Not Very Efficient’. The assessor will need to be able to access every room in the property. They will  count how many light fittings you have and how many low energy light bulbs you use. The assessor will only include fixed fittings in the EPC survey.
The assessor will carry out a cursory inspection of any loft space if possible. This is to see if any and how much insulation is present and where it is located. They will make a note on whether it is laid on the joists or fixed to the rafters. At present, the recommendation is that you have 270mm of loft insulation laid at the joists. Whilst in the loft your assessor will attempt to establish the type of wall which divides your property from next door’s.
A visual inspection of the windows will be made. This is to note if it is single, double, triple glazing or whether it has secondary glazing. If there is double-glazing is present, the assessor will ask if it was installed before or after 2002. They will also ask if you have a FENSA certificate or BFRC data available to view as proof. Occasionally, an assessor will even check the thickness of the gap in the double glazed units. If the property being inspected has a conservatory, they will inspect this and document all details.
One of the biggest tasks when carrying out an EPC is assessing the heating system. For whatever boilers are present in the property and whatever type they may be, it would be a big help if you are able to have the handbook present. The assessor will make notes about the time and heat controls. If there are one or more room thermostats, they will also document this as well as any thermostatic radiator valves fitted throughout the house. A record will also be made of any other form of heating such as a coal fire, log burner, or gas fire.
Other things to note:
  • The assessor may take photographs of certain elements that have been surveyed. They might be taken inside and/or outside the property.
  • Each month a certain number of surveys audited by the accreditation bodies. This is to ensure high standards are maintained.
  • An assessor will  take a number of measurements including the height of rooms and the dimensions of your property.
  • Assessors often sketch a plan of your property including any extensions, alterations, and further measurements.
Do All Buildings Need An EPC?
Some properties don’t require an EPC. These include:
  • Places of worship
  • Temporary buildings: those that will be used for less than two years
  • Stand-alone buildings where the total useful floor space is less than 50 square metres
  • Industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings that use relatively little energy
  • Buildings that are due to be demolished
  • Holiday accommodation that is rented out for less than four months a year or let under a licence to occupy
  • Residential buildings intended to be used less than four months a year
  • Listed buildings – as the work could significantly alter the building’s character
The EPC Register
You might not be aware, but you can look at the EPCs of other properties free of charge by going on the EPC Register. The register allows you to compare your home’s energy performance with that of similar homes near you. You can search by address or an EPC report’s reference number. However, it is possible to opt out of appearing on the EPC register if you don’t want other people viewing your EPC.
Private Rental Property
As from April 2018 landlords have to make sure that the properties they let in England and Wales reach an EPC rating of at least E before allowing a new tenancy to commence or renewing an existing tenants tenancy.

These regulations apply to all private rented non-domestic properties – including properties where there has been no change in the tenancy arrangements – as from April 2023.
How long does it take to get the Certificate?
Once the assessment has been completed, you should receive your certificate soon after payment has been received. There are usually no up-front payments before the survey, but the EPC will only be issued once payment is received.
How much does an EPC Cost?
An EPC will cost somewhere between £60 to £120.00+VAT. There is no fixed cost so you should compare prices from several companies before committing. To get the best priced EPC, you might be better off getting the assessment yourself, directly rather than through an estate agent.

The price of your EPC will also depend on other factors regarding your property, such as the type of property it is and how many rooms it has. Your location may also affect the EPC cost.