Covid19: EPC still a requirement for UK property sales and lettings

The UK government will not be relaxing requirements on Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) despite movement restrictions put in place as a result of the coronavirus. In guidance published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) it was made clear that properties put on the market will still be required to obtain an EPC before being sold, let or built.

AssetRating-EPC-Bristol

It added that assessments should only be conducted where the work is essential.

This follows government-issued guidelines last week that urged people to delay or not begin the process of buying or selling a home unless it was absolutely critical.

A valid EPC is legally required when a property is sold, let or constructed and must be completed by an accredited assessor unless an exemption can be applied.

Landlords and sellers have seven days to obtain a valid EPC from the day the property is marketed, with a further 21 days grace period allowed if all reasonable efforts have been made to obtain one, but it has not been possible.

Restriction of movement laws and social distancing practices which have resulted in almost all valuers and surveyors stopping in-person property surveys are likely to have severely hampered EPC assessors as well.

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TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Barclays Bank set a net zero carbon target

Barclays said it planned to set a net zero by 2050 carbon target, to be voted on by shareholders at its forthcoming annual general meeting in May.

The bank said it would also commit to align its financing activities with the goals and timelines of the Paris Agreement.
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‘The alignment of Barclays’ portfolio will start with the energy and power sectors, and will cover all sectors over time,’ the company said.

‘Barclays will provide the transparent targets required to judge its progress and will report on them regularly, starting from 2021.

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Finance Management: Knowledge is power

People are living in credibly hectic lifestyles and this lack of spare time means many put off reviewing their finances. Keeping on top of your money matters should be a priority and doesn’t necessarily have to be a labourious, time consuming task.

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The reality is that circumstances change – prices fluctuate, our personal situation change, such as jobs and family affairs. So being equipped with knowledge about the health of your finance is a necessity, so you can react should circumstances in your life change.

Top financial priority

  • Paying down debt – mortgage, credit, loans etc
  • Building savings – financial savings, energy savings, etc
  • Paying bills – rent, energy, utility, tax, etc
  • Essential living expenses – food, clothes, health care, etc
  • Lifestyle expenses – holiday, entertainment, hobby, etc
  • Investment – cash, securities (equities, bonds and derivatives), commodity, etc
  • Retirement – pension, personal plan, annuity, etc

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

 

How to read your smart meter and get the best from it

The major benefits of smart meters is that you no longer have to take manual readings, as your meter data is recorded automatically. Your smart meter is in constant communication with your energy supplier, ensuring that your energy bills are accurate and based on the most up-to-date figures – no more meter readings and no more estimates! However, if you would like to keep taking smart meter readings to keep an eye on your energy use, here’s how to manually read a smart meter.

Reasons to take a manual smart meter reading

  • You’ve switched energy providers and your smart meter isn’t compatible with your new supplier’s systems.
  • Stay in control of your energy use by setting budgets and comparing your energy use across the day/week/month.

How to manually read a smart meterSee the source image

If you prefer to take electricity and gas readings for yourself, here’s how you can check how much energy you’re using by reading your smart meter. You can read your smart meter by taking a look at your in-house smart meter display unit. This display will show you your daily, weekly or monthly energy use in terms of money, kilowatt hours and carbon emissions.

How to read a smart meter

Remember that when you got your new smart meter installed, the readings began from 0, so you will have a new set of readings – they won’t carry over from your old meter. Not all smart meters look exactly the same, but we’ve put together this guide that applies to most smart meters.

Your smart meter will generally display:

  • A budget market
  • Battery status
  • Time
  • Text area
  • Touch buttons
  • Light indicators
  • Costs and consumption
  • Fuel view
  • Energy display dial
  • Wireless signal strength
    how to read a smart meter

How to read a smart electric meter

Your electricity consumption is measured in kilo-watt hours (kWh), so this is the number you’ll need to look for. You won’t need to record the numbers after the decimal place. Here’s how to read different types of smart electricity meters

How to read smart electricity meter with a keypad

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  • Press ‘9’ on the keypad
  • A series of letter will appear
  • You’ll then see eight digits on the screen followed by the letters ‘kWh’.
  • These digits are your meter reading; in this case,

How to read an Economy 7 smart meter

This type of meter takes records day and night usage.
How to read an Economy 7 smart meter

  • Press ‘6’ on the keypad until the letters ‘IMP R01’ followed by eight digits appear (usually your night/off-peak reading).
  • Keep pressing ‘6’ until you see ‘IMP R02’ followed by eight digits (usually your peak/normal reading).
  • Use the digits ahead of the decimal points as you readings.

    How to take a smart meter reading if you have two buttons

    How to take a smart meter reading if you have two buttons

  • Press the ‘Display Select’ or ‘Display’ button.
  • The meter display will then scroll through to the meter reading.
  • Look for the number followed by kWh – this is your meter reading.

How to take an electric smart meter reading if you have A and B buttons

  • Press the A button
  • Keep pressing until you reach ‘TOTAL ACT IMPORT’.
  • The number shown below this is your meter reading.

OR

  • Press and hold the A button for at least two seconds.
  • Keep pressing A  to cycle through the displays.
  • The numbers you see followed by kWh is your meter reading

How to take a smart meter reading if your meter has 3 buttons

  • Press the button in the middle.
  • Your meter reading is the number shown below IMP.
  • If you have a two-rate meter, R1= Rate 1; R2 = Rate 2; T = total.
  • You can see all readings by pressing the middle button again.

If you have a button on the left and two buttons on the right:

If you have an orange button on the left and blue buttons on the right:

  • Press the single button.
  • You’ll see a row of digits with kWh – this is your meter reading.

How to read a smart gas meter

Both gas and electricity smart meters have a numerical keypad. Here’s what to do if you want to take a traditional meter reading:

How to read a gas smart meter if you have a keypad

How to read a gas smart meter if you have a keypad

  • Press 9 on the keypad.
  • You’ll see VOLUME on the screen
  • You’ll then see a row of digits followed by M3 at the bottom right – this is your gas meter reading.

 

How to read a gas smart meter if you have A and B buttons

How to read a gas smart meter if you have A and B buttons

  • Press the A button.
  • Keep pressing until you get to METER INDEX.
  • The digits shown below this is your meter reading.

    How to read a gas smart meter if you have a left arrow, a circle and a right arrow

    How to read a gas smart meter if you have a left arrow, a circle and a right arrow

  • Press the circle button in the middle.
  • Your screen will show ‘current meter reading’ at the top.
  • The row of digits followed by M3 is your meter reading.

How to read your smart gas meter if you have 3 square buttons

How to read your smart gas meter if you have 3 square red buttons

How to read your smart gas meter if you have 3 square red buttons

Your buttons may or may be labelled or unlabelled.

  • Press the button on the left.
  • You’ll see a row of digits followed by M3 – this is your smart meter reading.

How to read your smart gas meter if you have arrows to the right of the screen

How to read a gas smart meter

  • Press the arrow at the top.
  • You’ll see a row of digits followed by M3 – this is your meter reading.

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We hope that this guide is useful in helping you to take a manual meter reading from your smart meter and help you with home energy management to reduce your energy usage to save on energy bills and the environment, Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need any help!

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Getting the best bathroom

Your bathroom needs to be functional and practical, but good design can also turn it into a haven where you can relax and unwind and it can also add a great value and appeal to your property. Read on for the best tips on how to strike the right balance and find out how to get the best for your money.

When you move into a new property or undertaking a property improvement project, the bathroom is often the first to get an overhaul. Before splashing out, think carefully about what needs to be changed to avoid any costly mistakes.

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Below are the tips you need to consider to get the best bathroom;

  1. Determine the best layout – many bathroom suppliers produce templates for standard sized baths, basic etc so that you can experiment with layouts to find the best that meets all your requirements. Draw out a scaled down version of your bathroom’s floor plan, marking in the windows and doors and then use the templates to determine the best positions for the fittings. Remember if you change the position of the plumbing or pipes, this can add considerable to the cost of your new bathroom.
  2. Choice your bathroom fittings – when choosing bathroom fittings, you have to consider what you enjoy doing in a bathroom for example do you enjoy wallowing in a long hot bath? Or is an exhilarating, power shower more of your thing? Your choice will either be to sacrifice a bath for a shower or have both separately or incorporated together. Whichever bathroom fittings you choose, think space, practical and long-term; a classic, white suite will never go out of fashion.
  3. Get rid of the clutter –  as most likely the smallest room in the house, its easy for your bathroom to become cluttered. Solve the problem by making sure there’s sufficient storage in which to keep toiletries, towels and other items. Installing a  vanity unit under a basin is the best use of this often underutilised space, while fitted furniture throughout creates a sleek, streamlined look.See the source image
  4. Get the fixtures right – wall tiles can really help to add colour and style to your bathroom, but floor to ceiling tiles may appear cold. Try tiling halfway up the wall, behind a basin or behind a shower instead. With flooring you need to be practical and go for a slip-resistant option. There are various floors to chose from including vinyl, rubber and stone flooring/tiles. For lighting, there are various low energy lighting options and designs to choose from. Try using spotlights over mirror or recessed area.
  5. Accessorise – complete your new bathroom with accessories such as fluffy towels, stylish taps, handles, nobs, mirror etc. And where possible and affordable add designer radiator, picture frame or paintings for a stunning focal feature.

If you can’t afford a whole new bathroom, its easy to get a whole new look by simply replacing taps, add a fresh coat of paint or new colour, installing a towel radiator or changing the wall or floor tiles.

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TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

 

 

What is a high-efficiency condensing boiler

For the best efficient space heating and hot water heating boiler for domestic property, a high-efficiency condensing boiler is the most recommended. A high-efficiency condensing boiler works on a principle of recovering as much of the heat normally wasted from the flue of a conventional (non-condensing) boiler as possible.

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A modern high-efficiency condensing boiler has a much larger heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is designed to extract over 90% of the wasted heat from the fuel it burns which would normally be lost to the atmosphere through the flue, and recycles it back into the heating system. By fitting a condensing boiler and improving your heating See the source imagecontrols, you could cut your carbon footprint by nearly two tonnes and save as much as £275 a year on utilities bills.

A combination boiler can be more efficient as it also supplies hot water to your home, this option is most suitable for smaller homes. Ask your installer about what’s best for your home.

High-efficiency condensing boilers are the most energy efficient and can save you up to a quarter on your heating bills once you replace your old boiler and heating controls.

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

 

5 tips on how to stay on top of your finance & mortgage

Knowledge is power – People are living increasingly hectic lifestyles and this lack of spare time means many mortgage-holders put reviewing their finances and mortgage. Keeping on top of your money matters should be a priority and doesn’t necessarily have to be a laborious, time consuming task. And, the reality is that circumstances change – interest rates fluctuate, commodity prices fluctuates, our personal situations change, such as jobs and family affairs – so being equipped with knowledge about the health of your finances and planning ahead is a necessity to overcome most financial challenges in life.

See the source image

How to review your finance and mortgage

  1. Check your current statement(s) – to see what you’re paying, when any special deal or contract ends, what happens at the end of your deal or contract and the balance left to pay.
  2. Check if you’re still on a good deal – compare like for like current market deals or contracts.
  3. Check if and when you can switch – to get a better deal if available.  It makes sense to start shopping around a few months before any special deals ends. Switching can cut down your monthly payments but you’ll need to weigh up theses monthly savings or other benefits against the costs of making the switch.
  4. Make a list of all your incomes and expenses – prioritise your mandatory expenses and work on maximising your disposable income by reducing where necessary your lifestyle expenses.
  5. Make saving a habit – save as much as you can not just money but energy and the environment. Remember the saying ‘if you fail to plan, you have already plan to fail’.

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Dennis Bebo – MSC, BSC, DEA, CeMAP

TA DenEco Consultancy – www.deneco.co.uk

Landlords & Property Owners: Do I need a new EPC to meet government legislation?

As from the 1st April 2018 there is a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to normally have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The regulations came into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies with effect from 1st April 2018 and for all existing tenancies on 1st April 2020. It will be unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating, unless there is an applicable exemption. A civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches. This guidance summarizes the regulations. There are separate regulations effective from 1st April 2016 under which a tenant can apply for consent to carry out energy efficiency improvements in privately rented properties.

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For most landlords and home owners this will mean that they will no longer be able to rent out a property with a rating of F or G after April 1st 2018. As such landlords with properties in this EPC bracket should begin preparing now for April 1st. However, there are several nuances and exceptions, which this guide covers in detail.

IMPORTANT NOTE

The ending of state aid for the Green Deal means that changes need to be made to the Regulations imposing minimum energy efficiency standards in the PRS. From April 1st 2019 landlords will now have to pay towards the required energy efficiency improvements to bring it up to standard if there is no third party funding available.

Research has also identified that energy performance certificates (EPCs) understate the thermal efficiency of solid walls. Many PRS properties have solid walls. Usually they were built pre-1918 but can be later. The Government have now recalibrated EPCs to give a truer reading. This could mean that some solid wall properties currently rated F under an EPC will no longer require any work and less work may be required in the case of a G rated property. Landlords of F and G rated solid wall properties are therefore advised to consider having a new EPC check performed. In these cases, obtaining a new EPC may mean that you no longer need to comply with the Regulations or less work may be required.

To find out if you need a new EPC contact me or follow the government website link below for a comprehensive guidance;

Source: Gov.UK

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LRG acquires Dunlop Heywood in a surprise move into commercial property

The Leaders Romans Group has extended its activities into the commercial world with the acquisition of chartered surveying company Dunlop Heywood.

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Dunlop Heywood – established in 2008 – specialises in business rates liability and advises a wide range of clients in the aviation, docks and harbours, energy and renewables, retail and leisure sectors.

Agency group makes surprise move into commercial propertyLRG chief executive Peter Kavanagh says: “This is a fantastic acquisition for LRG, which will further enhance the range of expert property services we can offer our clients. Dunlop Heywood has a very well established market reputation for providing expert rating advice, and I am confident … we will be able to grow the business in the coming years.”

Building Project: The 4 major Health and Safety signs you must know

When undertaking a building project you must comply with Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. Safety signs and signals are required where, despite putting in place all other relevant measures, a significant risk to the health and safety of employees and others remains.

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Safety signs are in place to alert employees, customers and visitors to the risks and, where appropriate, show safe practice. Safety signs are used in a range of environments, for example traffic signs in the workplace to regulate road traffic, safety signs to identify hazards or safety signs to indicate where fire exits and fire extinguishers are.

The 4 major Health and safety signs are;

  1. Safety Condition signs (Green and White) – giving you information that is only about safety action, location of safety equipment, safety facility or escape route. Safe condition signs generally use a white safety symbol on a green background.
  2. Warning signs (Yellow and white) – alerting you to hazards or danger indicate when there are potential  safety risks or dangerous situations that require attention to anyone who is on the premises in order to protect themselves. They are highly visible and colour coded to make them easier to understand, warning signs are yellow.
  3. Mandatory signs (Blue and White) – meaning you must do something and is depicted by a blue circle with a white pictogram. They inform employees and visitors that a certain course of action must be taken; such as wearing PPE, sounding horn and washing hands. Below are our most popular ISO compliant mandatory symbols. Wear eye protection.
  4. Prohibition signs (Red and white) – meaning you must not do something such as a behaviour / action likely to cause a risk to health or safety. Prohibition signs are required to be red circle with a red diagonal line through it (running from top left to bottom right)

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