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BRE approval granted

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 20-Jun-08 01:01:40 PM

Northgate, the Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) accreditation scheme, is the first organisation out of the gate to have its RdSAP software BRE-approved for official use on Northern Ireland homes, it has been announced today (well, it was apparently on 2nd June 2008 but today seems to be the official public announcement, I think!).

From 30th June 2008, all existing homes put up for sale in Northern Ireland will require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), bringing the country into line with England and Wales.

Northern Ireland EPCs vs England & Wales

But there are a few differences between Northern Ireland and the mainland, however:

Unlike England and Wales, a Home Information Pack (HIP) is not required as part of the sales process. The Northern Ireland EPC is a stand-alone document displaying just the one graph: the energy efficiency rating.

EPC timetable for Northern Ireland

Existing homes: 30th Jun 08

New-build: 30th Sept 08

Rental (inc social housing): 30th Dec 08

Estate agents also escape the burden of responsibility too: the requirement to procure an EPC falls directly on either the seller, lessee or builder, as appropriate, making the law much easier to define.

Although DEAs might well rub their hands at the prospect of avoiding estate agents (and their kickbacks!), anecdotal tales suggest they will move to exploit their "first point-of-contact" position with home sellers.

But with the onus falling squarely on home sellers, the market is much freer than the mainland for any canny marketer's willing to deal direct.

Another marked difference to the EPC requirements of England and Wales is that EPCs are valid for ten years!

Tricky enforcement

With estate agents out of the legal equation, enforcement could be a tricky problem: The Dept of Finance and Personnel for Northern Ireland (DFP) currently holds the role of enforcement although it is expected it will defer that responsibility to District Councils.

Estate agents are clearly easier to police but disparate home sellers spread over several miles won't be. I can see this becoming a problem (or a high pressure sales opportunity!).

Working in Northern Ireland

Both the CLG and DFP have informed Northgate that DEAs from the mainland can work in Northern Ireland providing a tiny additional module is completed first. The module details the minor differences between the two systems, which are little more than you've just read.

If you're a Northgate-accredited DEA, you can read and download the module from their website.

Congratualtions to Northgate.

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