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Fees rise after delays hit energy certificates

The delay to the full introduction of display energy certificates (DECs) has forced one of the major accreditation bodies to increase its prices by two thirds, and three others to review their charges.

Last week the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers, one of 12 bodies approved to accredit DEC assessors, wrote to all its assessors to say the cost of lodging a DEC was increasing from £30 to £50.

CIBSE, which claims to have accredited two thirds of assessors, says the move is due to the expected drop in demand after the Department for Communities and Local Government relaxed arrangements surrounding the October 1 deadline, due to pressure from hospital trusts in particular.

Public authorities had initially been told to produce DECs for all buildings over 1,000 metres square by the beginning of October. But at the end of July they were told that for the first year if they had multiple properties on one site they could lodge a single DEC to cover them all.

Some public authorities have struggled with DECs and will now have a year to make sure they put the monitoring systems in place to ensure individual certificates can be produced by October 2009.

Jacqueline Balian, CIBSE director of information, said: “Overall this could have the impact of reducing the number of DECs being lodged by three quarters.”

She added: “The way the cost was originally worked out by CIBSE was to spread the pricing to keep the charge as low as possible. As the numbers have declined we have had to put the price up.

“The assessors are not very happy, but we are still trying to keep the cost down. One of the things we have done is to reassess the cost for people who lodge a large number of certificates in one go.”

Fellow accreditation body BRE said: “This is likely to halve the number of DECs needed this year. As a result, we are reviewing our fees for site based lodgements. But it may encourage some organisations to produce DECs for multiple buildings. So while the lodgements will be fewer than was expected, there may now be more than would have been the case in a worst-case scenario.”

Smaller accreditation rival Quidos ruled out increasing lodgement prices from £28.25. Sebastian Van Dort, accreditation manager, said: “We are not set to increase it soon and are waiting to see what the market does.

“We have seen demand dwindle slightly but there are still not enough assessors out there to do the work needed.”

Paul Martin, managing director of Team Energy and chairman of the monitoring and metering group at the Energy Services and Technology Association, said he felt the demand for DECs  remained strong: “This was a little bit of a surprise.

“We should all be concerned if the cost of lodging DECs is going up.”