28 July 2016
The SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland) encourages home-owners to shop around when they need a BER (Building Energy Rating) Certificate. “A BER certificate is required if you are advertising a home for sale or rent, before a new home is occupied for the first time or applying for a home improvement grant. It shows how energy efficient your home is and checks energy use for space heating, water heating, ventilation and lighting. Your home is rated between A and G, with A-rated homes being the most energy efficient. There are exemptions for certain homes, such as protected structures and certain temporary buildings” (from Consumerhelp.ie).
A Consumer Agency “Mystery Shopper” Survey says that average BER Certificate for a 3 bed semi-detached house costs €165. BER Certificates ranged from €99 in Cork to €300 in Donegal (See survey here:). The SEAI says that “210 quotes were received, representing approximately 25% of the total number of domestic (BER) assessors registered with the SEAI, 107 quotes in relation to a three bedroom semi-detached house and 103 quotes for a two bedroom apartment”. This survey was carried out in 2013. A quick internet search now shows that “€99 specials” for BER Certs and Reports are widely available.
In practice, this means fully calculating a BER rating and providing an Advisory Report for €165 (see sample here). That equates to less than 5 hours work at the national minimum wage. More realistically it equates to 2 hours work including full site survey & travel for a professional on a €50k salary (incl VAT, overheads and travel costs). Is it possible to do the job properly?
Many are concerned that Building Control Assigned Certifier fees are following the same trend- A race to the bottom means that nobody can have faith in the system because the market rate isn’t enough to do the job properly.
In Ireland, lack of detailed Certifier inspection stages and poorly-defined roles under BCAR SI.9 has given rise to a wide range of services and charges and undercutting under the new system, and we are rapidly seeing similar issues to those of BER Certification. With an ambitious new action plan for large scale housing delivery issued by Minister Coveney, an acknowledged legacy of poor quality housing and free-for-all on price cutting in private building inspections one wonders if any of the stakeholders have brought this to the attention of the new Minister?
A list of BER Assessors is available from the SEAI Here
Other posts of interest: