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EPCs For New Build & Existing Dwellings Explained

Here at Easy EPC, we are sometimes asked to explain what the difference is between an energy performance certificate (EPC) that is issued for an existing house and one issued for a new domestic building, often referred to as an on construction EPC. So is there any real difference and does it matter? The short answer to both these questions is that in many ways, the two types of EPC are basically the same thing in terms of what they set out to do, and yes it does matter – an EPC or new build EPC is required by law. It’s worth adding here that an EPC for an existing domestic property will be cheaper to purchase than one that requires SAP calculations.

The type of EPC that has to be carried out is determined by the status of the domestic building. For a new building or one created through a conversion such as an extension being built, you may also hear the term SAP EPC being used. This is simply a reference to the type of software and SAP methodology that is used to produce an accurate picture of the energy costs and energy efficiency of the new building.

New buildings need a ‘pass’ mark

Architects, developers, and builders will be familiar with standard assessment procedure (SAP) ratings, as they’ve been required under building regulations since 1995. The energy performance of the new building is expressed by a number between 1 – 100 and the higher the number, the lower the energy costs and C02 emissions, i.e. a rating of 100 means energy cost is zero. SAP calculations take into account the materials used in the construction of the new build, any renewable technology installed, as well as the heating system and lighting. Under current regulations, new builds have to earn a ‘pass’ for SAP calculations. Building control will not be able to sign off the building without a pass mark, which could obviously impact on plans to sell or let the property in future.

SAP EPCs are issued by energy assessors who will use drawings and plans of the building and also detailed information of the construction, including the heating and ventilation, to provide an energy performance certificate for the building. In fact, the energy assessor can be a useful ally to the designer or architect by helping them achieve the optimum energy profile for the building.

EPCs for existing domestic building

Before you can market your existing home for sale or rent it out, you are required to have an up to date EPC. It’s possible to market the property without a certificate but only if you or the selling agent have ordered an EPC to be carried out. Up until 2010, the energy performance certificate would have been included in the home information pack (HIP) but although the packs have been discarded since then, EPCs are still required.

A domestic energy assessor will calculate your property’s EPC using reduced data standard assessment procedure (Reduced Data SAP) to provide an energy efficiency rating. As before, this is calculated on the fabric of the building, how the interior and water is heated, any renewable technologies installed, and the type of lighting used. Assessments are carried out on site and typically take around half an hour for a standard three-bed home.