Posted by: housingdabble | June 4, 2009

Do trading standards have the teeth to police EPCs?

 I have an 11month old son who has recently revealed his first two teeth and is now ready to sink them in to everything he can – whether that is a banana, the settee or indeed his older sisters fingers (ouch!). One thing can be sure, we have waited 11 months for him to produce them and now he is keen to use them for any purpose.

So 11 months down the line for Commercial EPC’s and DEC’s, have Trading Standards grown any teeth yet, or are we still experiencing a load of dribble?

Trading standard are the body responsible for policing all aspects of the EPBD (Energy Performance of Buildings Directive) and this means imposing the penalties outlined in the regulations on firms that have failed to comply. To date there is very little evidence that Estate Agents, Landlords or local Government should have any fears of being penalised and this is proving to be a major problem to those qualified to meet the regulations.

To give put some some numbers to give a picture of the impact this lack of policing is having, it is estimated that around 42,000 DECs would need producing and the deadline has already been passed for them to be done. To date 25,480 DEC’s have been lodged on the landmark system, leaving a shortfall of just around 16,500 DEC’s yet to be done. It wouldn’t take a rocket scientist at the CLG to identify which of their buildings haven’t complied. Conservative market estimates for commercial EPC’s are around 130,000 (taking in to account depressed market) and as of the end of July 84,517 have been lodged with landmark.

The problem the lack of policing is obvious. Many landlords are ignoring the legislation in favor of holding on to their cash and taking the risk of not being caught. Those that do eventually have an EPC are generally doing so at the request of the solicitor in order to be able to exchange. With DEC’s and Air Conditioning Inspections (also way short for 250kw + systems) there is no point at which they are being pushed to comply.

Our regular conversations with the CLG on this matter bring the same stock response – we are told that Trading Standards are a reactive body rather than a pro-active body (surprised?) and therefore it is likely that only by building owners being ‘shopped’ they might be penalized.

So if we want any chance of progress here and want to see those breaking the law brought to task in the hope it will trigger further compliance, it would seem at least for the short term we are stuck with having to continue spoon feeding mashed up banana to both Trading Standards and the CLG. burp…


  1. In my opinion the biggest problem that we have is that the very people that are employed to root out non compliance are employed within local authorities. These are amongst some of the biggest landlords and property owners in the UK. Huge numbers of them have complied with the legislation but it remains that many are still lagging behind.

    How do you get a local authority or the government to begin policing this legislation if they are only going to go an find themselves in breach of it on a massive scale? Its a real problem and its no wonder that the private sector is reluctant to pay out at all for these valuable documents if the public sector who should be leading by example is failing.

    What council is going to let the dog off the leash if it is only going to turn around and bite it self?

    • Agree with your comments Peter – Perfect scenario would be for government to produce a list of all DEC’s that still haven’t been done, but can’t see it happening.

      nher have just released a very interesting piece of research regarding the lack of policing and I have to agree with them that if the responsible person was the selling or letting agent as in the domestic market, then more commercial EPC’s would be getting done. They show a non compliance rate of 81% which is staggering

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