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Lib Dems are sniffing again!

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 18-Jun-08 04:26:36 PM

Yes, Lembit Opik received yet another written answer from the Housing Minister, Caroline Flint yesterday.

Mr Opik, Shadow Housing Minister for the Lib Dems, asked for the average SAP and EPC ratings on new homes, broken down by landlord type (presumably meaning Local Authority, Registered Social Landlords).

The Housing Minister, in reply, answered:

The range of SAP rating for new Part L 2006 compliant homes (minimum standards), is between 69 and 82, and new homes constructed using public funds are expected to have a SAP rating ranging between 75 and 86.

These ranges fall between EPC bands B and C.

The average energy performance certificate rating for new homes is band B.

Home Information Packs: 17 Jun 2008: Written answers (

New EPC question prompts 'data harvesting' fears

Caroline also revealed something else which, I think, may go some way to allay the concerns raised in a recent thread on the Home Inspector Forum (HIF) entitled: NHER Data Harvesting?

In short, the thread is querying the reasons behind NHER's new prompt on entering new EPCs onto the system. It asks whether the EPC data was recorded for social rented, private rented or on a domestic dwelling (HIP).

The thread has sparked theories suggesting that NHER may be mining this data to discover new geographical markets in which it could both lower Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) fees and make their own HIP offering more competitive.

I personally don't believe any accreditation scheme would risk meddling with this particular interface for such a purpose. And being mindful of the podcast with Tom Parker of Quest, I'm not even sure if such an adhoc adaptation would be allowed without approval.

But anyway, that was a long way to arrive at the Housing Minister's last sentence which may explain the background to the above:

The next version release of the Domestic EPC Register will enable the tenure of new homes to be identified.

NHER clarification

Added: I've just been informed by an NHER staff member that, because they are the largest accreditation scheme, they employ people dedicated to the task "of reporting to CLG over and above [data provided by] the other schemes." 

With regards to speculation over the use of data, it was explained there were no plans to do anything in particular with the information gleamed, and it was categorically refuted that it would be used for any commercial advantage by NHER.

"We simply don't operate in such an underhand way."

It was also explained how the data (which I'm assuming refers to the new data being asked for (above) and mentioned on the HIF) helps with categorising EPCs for internal back-end audits and compliance.

Which were my initial thoughts too - Bonus points to me, then!

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Posts: 1
Data harvesting has always gone on
Reply #1 on : Wed June 18, 2008, 19:45:18
From the very start we have had CLG providing statistical evidence about the average rating of homes, average rating of London homes and now the average rating of new homes.

What is also well-known by those of us following these things with a magnifying glass is that the Energy Savings Trust, when funding is provided from Central Government, are going to phone homeowners with low EPC scores from Nov/Dec onwards and encourage the take up of schemes to include cheap/free boilers, low-cost insulation measures and so on.

So how do you think the Energy Savings Trust are going to phone the sellers then? I don't recall see a sellers name or phone number on the EPC report. I do recall that some accreditation schemes insist on this data for 'quality monitoring' purposes but it will be interesting to see how EST acquire sellers contact details- you can be assured that estate agents certainly will not hand this data over!
Posts: 1
Re: Lib Dems are sniffing again!
Reply #2 on : Wed June 18, 2008, 19:55:07
Welcome home ;)

It's a good question, Neil - I've wondered the same. Maybe this 'next version release of the Domestic EPC Register' is part of that plan.

And let us not forget the recent Govt announcement to make moves to allow energy company's access to its data so they can identify pensioners and the poor!

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