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In brief: HIPS, renewables, timber and Arup

by mel starrs on February 7, 2007

in News

I’ve upgraded the blog to WP 2.1. This won’t make a difference to most of you readers, but the interface for my input is much easier, with word check built in! Yay.

I’ve finished crashing through the backlog of blogs from the last week. Lots of interesting goings on:

  • Yet another consultation (pdf, 26 pages) on HIPS (Home Information Packs). Sick as I am of seeing consultations, at least this one wants:

    To maximise the benefits of Energy Performance Certificates they need to be read and
    understood by buyers. We want to make them more prominent in the HIP so that they
    are clearly visible to potential purchasers. We will do this by:
    a) requiring that the EPC is the first document in the pack
    b) requiring that the EPC is attached to the estate agent’s particulars

    The fine for non-compliance could go up from £200 to £500. The cost of an EPC will be set by the market rather than the government. As for enforcement:

    Work is also well advanced on putting in place the qualification and quality assurance regime for Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs). The first two qualifications for DEAs have been approved by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority; training courses are under way and the standards for DEA accreditation bodies are close to being finalised. The Department envisages giving provisional approval to the first accreditation bodies in March 2007 prior to formal approval being given in April 2007 as soon as the EPBD regulations have legal effect. There are large numbers of people who have relevant experience and could qualify as DEAs relatively quickly.

    I’d like to see some firm numbers and projections on this. Anyone know of any? HIPS are due to come into effect on 1 June 2007. The consulting firm who the government used will be paid £2.5 million – nice work if you can get it.

  • Will half the world’s energy needs be met by renewables by 2050? At 96 pages, I haven’t read the full report, but it sounds intriguing. The report is by Greenpeace and the EREC.
  • WWF have accused the UK of being the 3rd worse importer of illegal timber. This is particularly interesting to me given I have just finished Collapse* by Jared Diamond, who devotes a fair bit of space in the book to timber and FSC in particular. Building have an article here (amazingly, not behind their usual firewall).
  • Arup’s profits have allegedly jumped 268%! I hope they’re sharing the success with staff – drinks are on them next time we meet up. All the sector’s profits have been high this year – I have a niggling memory there was a change to reporting procedures which may account for a small part in this. Can anyone help me out on this? It still wouldn’t account for 268% though…
  • * currently have 40% off the paperback