Alternative to 'incomplete' ORCalc being developed by the Scottish firm.

Integrated Environmental Solutions (IES) has developed a free alternative to the Government’s ORCalc Display Energy Certifiacte (DEC) software. The Glaswegian firm is planning on a late-August launch.

The company said the software allowed users to produce DECs and the attached advisory reports as well as facilitate lodgements.


Benefits over ORCalc listed by the company include: no restriction on the number of building zones (benchmark categories); user-friendly input Web based access; personal user area to store and manage DEC submissions; and ability to save and move between the different sections of the submission

“It’s being done as a web interface,” said an IES spokesperson. “It will have different tabs for different sections. You can complete some sections and it will show you the ones that you have still to work on.”

She added that training and certification in the software would be added in due course.

The Government’s software has been criticised by some for its poor navigation. For example, if assessors make a mistake in ORCalc, they have to start all over again and there is no back button. Users must check for updates to baseline building measurements before each use.

Robert Corbyn, associate at RLF property and construction consultants, said he thought that the Government’s version of the software was incomplete.

“I’m not aware of a Government version of the software that is fully functional. It’s still in beta stage,” he said. “Industry will welcome anything that is a bit more user-friendly, easier and quicker to use and therefore more economical.”

RICS is developing another, free front end for the software, Lifespan SBEM, in association with Property Tectonics.

“All approved SBEM providers will begin providing their own free versions as a way to convert people into paying customers for the EPC software.” Corbyn predicted. “It’s quite a simple energy tool.”

All public buildings over 1,000 sq m will need to show a DEC by October 1, although dispensation is given for those who have started the process but failed to find an assessor in time.