The 2008 rollout might be dogged by lack of assessors and capricious software, leading to a freeze of a large part of the UK investment market

Experts have raised major concerns over the rollout of Energy Performance Certificates this year. They are ‘time-consuming and complicated,’ the route to implementing them is ‘paved with potholes and unknowns’ and there will be ‘a lot of losers across the industry,’ according to a trio of green experts writing for Building’s sustainability channel.

The UK must introduce Energy Certification by 1st January, 2009 to comply with the European Buildings Directive or face a fine.

Landlords or property owners are to provide an EPC to any prospective buyer or tenant when they construct, sell or lease a commercial building. All buildings over 10,000m sq must have a certificate by 6th April and those over 2,500m sq by July. From 1st October all buildings over 1,000m sq must have an EPC.

Writing on the Building site yesterday, surveyor Roger Watts, director of Trident Building Consultancy, draws attention to the bungled creation of the EPCs under several government departments, ‘none of whom would take responsibility.’

Watts also believes that the Building Research Establishment (BRE) has overcomplicated the methodology, which should be closer to the Display Energy Certificates (DECs) required for public buildings. He also suggests that the troubled history of Home Information Packs (HIPS) may encourage surveyors to stay away in droves from the necessary training.

“The real challenge will come when investment yields are affected by the quality of the certificates and [they are] found wanting,” says Watts. “If surveyors and their insurers feel that they are exposed to unnecessary risk, then they may just not want to play ball.”

The surveyor’s perspective will be joined by an engineer’s, David Altabev, and a property consultant’s, Jon Lovell, over the next week in Building's Sustainability channel. Lovell will descibe the implemntation as a "massive opportunity missed to introduce an effective amrket mechanism to tackle the carbon emissions of buildings", while Altabev will raise concern over enforcement which he claims will be "patchy and contested considering the messy proces and lack of available assessors".