Certificates for the new area threshold are valid for 10 years in England and Wales, certificates in Northern Ireland for buildings with a floor area between 500m2 – 999m2 will be valid for 1 year like all other buildings which require DECs.
When the floor area threshold was reduced to 500m2, the opportunity to increase the value of DECs and Recommendation Reports was missed, by allowing smaller sites to have certificates based on 1 year’s consumption to be valid for 10 years. Whilst Northern Ireland has set the trend, the UK and Wales continue to lag behind.
A DEC and their associated Recommendation Reports can be incredibly beneficial tools if used properly, however in my opinion their value has been watered down over the past couple of years, due to a number of factors:
In 2015 when the floor area threshold drops to 250m2, will the UK change their mind and reduce the validity period? Will they include private companies (who account for a large proportion of UK energy use) as most energy surveyors hoped in 2013?
What we need in the UK is more Energy Managers who recognise and can enforce the benefits of DECs and Recommendation Reports, who renew their DECs annually regardless of floor area. If a few start to do this, and then maybe others will follow and have the information needed to push and improve efficiency, making their achievements clear to the British general public.
At TEAM we believe that we are in an ideal place to help building occupiers with the production of DECs and Recommendation Reports. Our team of accredited Energy Assessors have produced more than 9000 certificates for buildings throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland for councils, emergency services, leisure centres, offices and more.