BER Certification -
A Building Energy Rating (BER) Certificate is an indicative value of the energy performance of a building. When a BER assessor does an energy evaluation of your home you should receive a BER certificate as well as a an Advisory Report. The report identifies how you might improve the energy performance of your home.
A BER is a calculation of energy usage for space and hot water heating, ventilation and lighting based on standard occupancy. A BER is presented as a label and has a scale of A-G with the A-rated value representing the most energy efficient home. A G, on the other hand, signifies a very cold and energy inefficient dwelling. BER is compulsory for all homes offered for sale or rent.
A BER is also required before a new home is occupied for the first time. Some home types are exempt BER rating. When advertising a home for sale or rent the BER must be stated. If you are buying or renting a house or apartment, you are entitled to a BER so ask the seller, landlord or agent for it.
A BER assessments must be completed by a registered BER Assessor. The assessor should have been trained under the National Framework of Qualifications, passed the SEAI BER Assessor exam and have registered with SEAI.
The advisory report which accompanies the BER certificate contain recommendations on how to improve the energy performance of the dwelling.
This may encourage the carrying out of energy performance improvement works either:
(i) before the sale or letting of the dwelling, in order to improve the BER/ marketability; or
(ii) after the sale by the purchaser of the dwelling, in order to reduce home heating bills and/or improve home comfort.
Building energy performance options might include measures such as:
- insulating the hot water cylinder and pipework;
- increasing the insulation in the walls/attic/floor;
- installing advanced energy efficient glazing;
- measures to achieve controlled healthy ventilation;
- replacing an old or inefficient boiler with a more efficient boiler;
- installing modern heating controls;
- installing certain types of renewable energy heating systems.
The advisory report is particularly useful to those who have just purchased an existing dwelling and plan to improve or remodel in their early stages of occupation.
A seller or landlord must provide a BER to prospective buyers or tenants when a home is offered for sale or rent. BER details must be included in commercial advertisements related to the sale or rental. A BER is also required for a new home before it is first occupied. There are exceptions for certain categories of buildings e.g. protected structures and certain temporary buildings
Homeowners should check Assessor references
The contract for the completion of the Building Energy Rating is between you, the customer, and your chosen Assessor. Under Section 11 of the BER Assessors Code of Practice, a BER Assessor is required to provide the client with a written quotation including price and any circumstances where the client may incur additional cost, and to obtain the client's written acceptance of this offer prior to commencing any BER work. The contract is between you and the Assessor. The aftercare responsibility of the Building Energy Rating rests with the Assessor.
There is no set fee for a BER and it is a matter for a BER Assessor to charge as they deem appropriate for the particular services offered. SEAI strongly recommend to all people wishing to commission a BER assessment to shop around for the best price and if possible to check references with other clients. Assessors are charged a levy to submit a BER assessment to the national BER database and this must be included in the price charged. You should agree a fixed price inclusive of VAT for all the services the BER Assessor is providing. (Note that BER Assessors are required under the terms of registration to provide such a written quotation.)
Once you have selected your Assessor and signed a letter of engagement the BER assessment can take place. The Assessor will make an appointment to visit your home so that they can complete a BER assessment survey on it. When the Assessor arrives at your home they will conduct a non intrusive survey. A BER assessment will typically take a couple of hours to complete (depending of course on the home size and complexity). The Assessor will need to have access to all the rooms in your home. During the survey they will be measuring the area of the rooms, measuring the windows, the thickness of the walls, the levels of insulation, the heating system, the number of flues, the floor types and the wall types. The Assessor will typically collect 80 pieces of data which describe your home, which are then entered by the Assessor into the BER software tool in order to generate the BER.
How the Homeowner can prepare for the BER assessment There are a number of items that would be helpful to the Assessor if the homeowner were able to provide the following:
- A recent electricity bill so that the Assessor can note the Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN)
- The date of construction of the dwelling
- Details of any previously published BER for the dwelling on the national register.
- Any plans or specifications of the dwelling if they are available
- Details of any upgrades that have been made to the dwelling e.g. insulation The boiler model number or any documentation for the boiler
- Making sure the Assessor has safe and unobstructed access to all areas of the dwelling
The BER Assessor will return to their office and input the survey findings into the BER assessment software called DEAP. There are approximately 80 data inputs that the Assessor must enter. Once this is complete the Assessor will log on to the online SEAI National Administration System (NAS) and upload the DEAP file. This will generate the BER Certificate and the Advisory Report. The Assessor will then give the homeowner a copy of the BER Certificate and the Advisory Report. The Assessor will be able to answer any queries you have relating to your dwellings BER certificate.SEAI maintain the register of BER certificates. To see your BER on the national register please go to https://ndber.seai.ie/pass/ber/search.aspx and enter either the BER number of MPRN number for your dwelling.
The Assessor should carry out the Building Energy Rating (BER) in accordance with the DEAP methodology and adhering to the BER Assessors Code of Practice. A BER Assessor is required to provide in writing to the client:
- a description of its proposed services,
- a description of the proposed cost (including VAT and expenses) for such services including all details of any circumstances where the client may incur additional costs, VAT or expenses and
- a disclosure of relevant business interests.
The amount charged by a BER Assessor for his / her services is a matter for agreement between the BER Assessor and the client. Each BER Assessor acknowledges that the responsibility for conducting BER assessments and the accuracy of the results of such assessments rests solely with them and no liability shall attach to SEAI for any error, misconduct, malpractice, act or omission howsoever arising from carrying out a BER assessment, the accuracy of the results of such assessments or resulting from the findings of a BER assessment. All assessments should be carried out in compliance with the relevant health and safety laws and standards. BER Assessors are required to act in an independent manner at all times when discharging their obligations under the Regulations. The Assessor should supply a receipt for any / all payments made.
You should provide safe access to your home in order for the Assessor to complete the BER. The Assessor should have access to all the rooms in the dwelling. Provide the MPRN number which can be found on your electricity bill. You should agree a start and finish date with your Assessor. Check the provided references. Ask the BER Assessor for a quote. Ask for a letter of engagement
If a dispute arises between you and your Assessor in relation to the BER, you should as a first step attempt to find a solution together through dialogue. If that fails we recommend that the matter be referred to arbitration under the Arbitration rules of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. The SEAI has a comprehensive Quality Assurance (QA) scheme in place, but they do not carry out audits on request from homeowners. SEAI will only undertake an audit on a BER certificate on foot of a complaint if they feel there are sufficient grounds to do so. SEAI will deal with homeowner complaints if they are received in writing.