From April 2018 all rented properties, both commercial and domestic, will need to achieve a Minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of ‘E’ before they can be let – that’s good news for the refurbishment sector and a great opportunity for contractors.
The new rules will come into force as part of the 2018 Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), otherwise known as the Landlord Directive and will apply to both commercial and domestic rented properties in England and Wales. Scotland will have a slightly different arrangement, however the same principles will apply.
The effects of the changes will have a significant impact on the rental property market; if the directive were to come into force tomorrow it would mean that one in five commercial properties would become legally unlettable. From 2020 the same rules will apply to leases that are being renewed and it will be unlawful to market or let buildings with an EPC of ‘F’ or ‘G’.
For contractors this is a massive opportunity, as landlords still have time in which to act and bring their properties up to scratch. There’s a huge amount of work to do to achieve this, however it’s in everyone’s interests – for landlords, improving the energy performance of these buildings can help secure the income stream from rent and improve the desirability and longevity of the building. For roofers it could provide potential work too.
Providing better levels of insulation is going to be one of the most effective ways of complying with MEES. Replacing single skin or poorly insulated roofs with high performing insulated panels will not only enhance thermal performance and air tightness, it will also provide a long term low-maintenance solution that will be very attractive to landlords.
AN EXPERT PANEL
Insulated panel systems offer a fast track installation solution. You can get them in a range of colours and profiles to suit different applications. You can even use them to support traditional looking slates and tiles. They are also an effective way of dealing with fragile roofs, making properties safer and reducing landlords’ risk of liability. Most important of all, they can provide U-values as low as 0.08 W/m².K when using closed-cell insulated panel material. Closed cell insulation delivers industry leading thermal performance, superior fire protection – including accreditation to FM 4882 for smoke sensitive occupancy, as well as having enhanced environmental credentials.
The thing to remember is that landlords will have no choice other than to bring their properties in line with the regulations; this isn’t a ‘nice to have’ – it’s the law. However, by helping landlords achieve thermally efficient buildings we will create assets of value for both owners and occupiers alike. Using quality products to do that and protecting performance with a guarantee will provide additional security. At the end of the day, a structure with long-term thermal efficiency can maximise tenancy terms due to low energy costs for the lifetime of the building, something that should be very attractive to owners.
The arrival of MEES means that the refurbishment sector is definitely one to watch…which will be music to many a contractor’s ears.