The Better Regulation Commission calls government plans for domestic energy rating unnecessary gold plating. Building's sustainability expert disagrees

The news that the Better Regulation Commission is having a pop at the introduction of energy performance certificates is nothing to cheer about. It has criticised the Department of Communities and Local Government for requiring an energy performance certificate prior to a house being put on the market, and each time it is sold.

Calling this ‘gold-plating’, the BRC says the European directive behind the certificates only requires them to be renewed every ten years, and that the certificate could be produced at any time prior to sale.

Is this the lion-like roar of a body charged with reducing unnecessary, industry strangling red tape across government or the squeak of a mouse? Well consider the following. The average length of time people stay in a home before moving has dramatically increased from ten years in the 1980s to 18 years now, no doubt in part due to the vast increase in the cost of moving thanks to the government's hikes in stamp duty. So calling for an energy performance certificate each time a house is sold is anything but unreasonable.

What about the charge that EPC’s are being required too early in the house buying process? Well the whole point of EPCs is to help people decide whether a house is an attractive proposition so the energy performance of a home needs to be up there when the estate agents details become available.

This should act as an incentive for home owners to improve the energy efficiency of the home. After all people repaint their homes to make them more attractive so why shouldn’t they fit low energy light bulbs and draught proofing? The idea of a Better Regulation Commission is fine in principle, but it needs to get stuck into some real red tape rather than fiddling around at the edges.