Six-month breathing space granted amid concern over shortage of assessors

The government has granted a six-month period of grace before the introduction of energy performance certificates for buildings put on the market before 6 April.

Previously, this was the date on which all non-housing over 10,000m2 would have needed a certificate, or EPC, when put up for sale or rent.

Under the new arrangement, building owners will not need to get an EPC for buildings that have been marketed before the start date until October, unless they are sold or rented before then.

The grace period will also apply to buildings over 2,500m2 when they join the scheme on 1 July.

The property industry has cautiously welcomed the news as it was concerned there would be too few assessors to carry out the surveys. Patrick Brown, the British Property Federation’s policy officer, said: “It addresses some of the concerns about the number of assessors coming through the pipeline.”

It addresses some of the concerns about the number of assessors

Patrick Brown, BPF

However, he added that it could put more pressure on assessors later in the year.

Jon Emery, the development director of Hammerson, said the news would not prompt him to get property on the market before April. He said: “There are bigger issues affecting these decisions, like the credit crunch. We are more concerned about whether now is a good time to buy or sell.”

Assessment bodies denied there were not enough assessors to meet the April deadline. John Field, a director of Power Efficiency, which offers a certification service, said the main issue was the lack of the final version of the SBEM program to carry out the surveys.

The communities department said the move was to “smooth” implementation of EPCs.