Is it really that difficult to pass legislation?

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As a profession we have a vested interest in environmental matters, whether or not ‘green buildings’ are capable of attracting higher values is up for debate (see my colleague Tim Garratt’s recent research). But, one thing we can do is ensure purchasers and tenants of commercial property at least have an idea of how energy-efficient their buildings are. Enter the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), one of our industries most maligned pieces of paper!

How green is your building?

The residential market has been more EPC savvy than the commercial world for a while, the law has required all residential agents details to have the EPC graph displayed (and consequently the public have come accustomed to it). The Government however in their infinite wisdom decided that the commercial property market wasn’t ready for this level of enforcement (despite it being far smaller than the residential market) and consequently the requirements for EPC’s on Commercial property were ‘wishy washy’ at best, and easy to ignore at worst.

The upshot of this was that EPC’s are not generally prepared before marketing (which they should be) and tend to be prepared just as the property is in lawyers hands – once the deal has been agreed. Consequently the property decision has been taken without any view to the energy efficiency of the building – no wonder green buildings currently show no premium value over ‘ordinary’ buildings!

However, finally last year the Government announced their proposals to bring the Commercial Property world in line with the Residential market – through their proposals for the amendments to the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 – otherwise known as the EPD regulations.

But, (and there is always a ‘but’), the regulations were supposed to come into force in June 2011, but they were delayed until October 2011 – and now we are being told that they will be delayed until April 2012! We were only told this on Friday by the CLG, so most agents are already in the process of preparing for the changes, so why the delay of almost 12 months in total?

No one really knows, according to the CLG the proposals are still the same as they were at the start. What is clear is that the current situation will prevail until Easter 2012 at which point there will probably be a mad rush to comply by agents who no doubt currently feel ‘relieved’ that they don’t have to get their EPC’s quite yet!

I am still hoping that my work load on EPC’s (I am an assessor) will increase over the next 6 months as people get ready for the change (assuming it is not delayed again), but I am not holding my breath!

So thanks CLG for again being a great help on this!