Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) as part of a Building Survey

On 1st June 2013, the government in Spain brought to effect legislation requiring all existing homes that are for sale or rent to have an energy performance certificate.

The promotion of energy efficiency in buildings and homes to help protect the environment has formed part of European priorities since 2002, when Directive 2002/91/EC of the European Parliament and Council was approved. This directive was implemented in Spain in 2007 through Royal Decree 4 7/2007, although at that time it was only applicable to developers. Now private individuals have to comply and this is likely to stir up strong feelings, judging by what has happened in other European countries where it has been implemented for many years.

As a further step in following the aim of increased energy efficiency in buildings and homes, the Spanish law 8/2013 (for urban rehabilitation, regeneration and restoration), regulates and defines the Building Survey as the comprehensive document, superior to it’s predecessor known as Technical Inspection of Buildings.

The Building Survey is oriented towards older buildings of 40 years or more. Approximately 55% of the 25,208,622 homes in Spain were built before 1980. Totalling 13,759,266.

In Spain residential, commercial and administrative buildings represent 22% of the CO2 emissions and 2/3 of the “indirect” emissions produced by using electricity as the first energy source.

A Building Survey is composed of three chapters.

  1. The first part is the structural survey. The surveyor has to check the state of the structure, by describing its elements, the materials used and where there are defects, describing their type, origin, magnitude, possible risks and dangers, and adequate intervention to resolve them.
  2. The second part details the building’s accessibility. Every communal space has to be checked in terms of their adequacy for disabled users. There are national and local regulations where minimum spaces, distances, widths, and installations are required. In this case the surveyor has to detect the accessibility conditions of the building and inform of any necessary intervention meet regulations in case of failure.
  3. The third and final part details the energy performance of the building. In cases of multi-family buildings every unit should be inspected and checked in terms of construction material, insulation, type and size of doors and windows, heating and cooling system as well as the energy type used.

The results of the building survey provide the owner and local administration an image of the state of the building and any action required. The Building Survey is the required document to apply for public funding and can be used as the fundamental document to carry out an intervention project.
Javier Leonardo Rímolo, architect.