Firms concerned about plans to charge software manufacturers up to £16,000 to validate green building software

Construction firms have voiced fears they could be hit by a “stealth tax” on core software used to measure the green performance of buildings.

The Department for Communities and Local Government [DCLG] last month unveiled plans to charge software manufacturers up to £16,000 to validate green building software, a service the government previously offered for free.

The manufacturers claim they were not consulted about the charges and were notified just 12 days before their intended implementation date.

The software affected includes all programs used to calculate building energy performance under the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

This includes software used to calculate building performance for Part L, Energy Performance Certificates and Display Energy Certificates.

But software manufacturer Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) told Building DCLG officials had admitted in a meeting with the firm last week that the department was planning to postpone implementation of the charges for at least six months in response to opposition from the industry.

IES said it would have no choice but to pass on some of the costs of the charges if they came into force. The firm said the charges would have cost the firm £260,000 last year if they had been in effect.

One construction consultant said the proposed “stealth tax” could damage the the low carbon economy and “drive practices such as ours […] out of business”.