The IHBC has welcomed the Policy Briefing from the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) ‘The Retro Fit-Up’, which highlights the problems with the current energy assessment method, especially in terms of traditional buildings operated as rental properties by its members.
IHBC trustee John Edwards said: ‘New regulations coming into force in April 2018 are set to make it illegal to rent out properties that do not meet new energy efficiency standards, and in the lead up landlords will be ‘rushing-to-retrofit’, often without enough knowledge and consideration of damage they may be causing their properties. This Briefing should help CLA members and advisers respond to those threats’.
‘So we are delighted to welcome this publication, ‘The Retro Fit-up, How government energy policy is failing older houses across the British countryside’. But we would also highlight how it is linked to wider issues that conservation professionals must also recognise.’
‘The recent fire at Grenfell has raised the subject of retrofit to another level and should cast an eye on the whole approach that the UK takes towards the retrofit of existing buildings.’
‘But it’s not just fire that needs a focus but also damp, mould and the potential harm to human health as well as the long-term sustainability of buildings that have been retrofitted. There are thousands of examples where even a cursory glance at a retrofitted building can alarm one to potential problems and the UK governments response to remedying the problems is to action their ‘Every Home Counts’ report.’
‘However, as John Preston’s recent article in the IHBC membership journal, Context (No.149) there is UK government funded research into retrofit that has never been published, so we don’t really know the extent of the problem.
‘The other thing that we need to highlight is that maintenance and repair is a way to make buildings more energy efficient as pointed out in BS 7913, but there isn’t a means to capture this.’
The Executive Summary to ‘The Retro Fit-up’ states:
- Confusing and damaging government policy is holding back necessary investment to make homes warmer across the countryside.
- The Government’s assessment tool for dwellings – the Energy Performance Certificate – is failing to accurately reflect the energy efficiency of traditionally built homes.
- Without urgent reform thousands of homeowners will continue to be signposted toward retrofit measures that are either inappropriate or outright harmful to the structure and character of the building.
- Strict rules that will ban landlords from renting out properties with an energy rating below E from 1 April 2018 are poorly communicated.
- Without urgent action thousands of rented homes across rural England and Wales are at risk of becoming incorrectly illegal to let.
Download the publication
Related CLA advocacy in Wales
CLA advice to landlords ‘post-Grenfell’