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RICS launches first residential retrofit standard

By: Kelly Bellerson
Latest News

In line with its goal to lead and influence on sustainable practices, RICS has launched its first ever Residential Retrofit Standard.

Responding to the rising demand for retrofit services in the UK, the aim of the new standard is to ensure that individuals seeking to upgrade their residential properties through retrofitting receive guidance from competent, regulated professionals, safeguarding the public interest by maintaining elevated standards within this expanding market.

According to the Climate Change Committee (CCC), the annual rate of residential retrofits must rise to 500,000 by 2025 and one million by 2030 to fulfil the government’s net-zero target.

Why is this important?

It’s estimated that around 25 million households are in need of energy enhancements and professional assistance.

More and more, lenders, government entities, and consumers are seeking expert, unbiased, and comprehensive guidance for upgrading existing homes.

Additionally, developing environmentally friendly, energy-efficient houses is crucial for fulfilling the industry’s commitment to achieving net-zero emissions.

According to RICS, the standard will support these efforts and tackle one of the foremost challenges in the construction sector, while also opening up new prospects for surveyors.

While PAS 2035 partially helps in RICS’ mission, it may not be the most suitable solution for all retrofitting scenarios, particularly those involving privately funded projects or publicly funded initiatives that only necessitate assessment and guidance.

Is there a difference between PAS 2035 and the new standard?

The feedback RICS received from the financial sector, consumer groups, and numerous public bodies suggested that PAS 2035 may not always be the optimal choice for straightforward assessments.

RICS states on their website that the retrofit standard holds broader relevance for RICS members compared to PAS 2035 as it offers a comprehensive framework guiding conduct, professionalism, and the various roles RICS members might undertake in delivering retrofit services, alongside considerations for each service stage.

Notably, RICS points out that it’s designed to complement, rather than duplicate or supplant, PAS 2035.

When will the new standard be implemented?

Coming into effect from October 31, 2024, the standard will outline a set of mandatory and recommended criteria, establishing benchmarks to steer property professionals in delivering tailored residential retrofit services that align with the evolving needs of their clients.

RICS also emphasises that the adoption of this standard will be a great opportunity for residential property surveyors to enhance their skills and embrace sustainable methodologies in response to the surging demand.

Why you should choose a retrofit survey

Identifying and addressing defects before implementing energy efficiency measures is paramount to prevent further deterioration or nullifying the benefits of retrofitting.

In many instances, undetected defects or improperly specified measures can lead to dampness, mould, and other detrimental effects on a property.

Solely relying on a virtual retrofit assessment poses the risk of installing incorrect or inefficient measures, potentially compromising performance, increasing energy costs, and exacerbating issues like dampness and mould.

In severe cases, poorly advised retrofit assessments can diminish property value and even lower the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating.

Surveyors can tailor their services to clients’ specific needs rather than adhering strictly to a predefined process. Whether clients seek a basic survey and report or a more comprehensive service, surveyors are best placed to accommodate their requirements.

Moreover, surveyors specialising in residential property surveys possess expertise in construction types and associated defects.

Benefits of retrofitting your home

The main benefit is that retrofitting can significantly improve energy efficiency, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions. Upgrading insulation, installing double-glazed windows, and using energy-efficient appliances can all contribute to lower energy consumption.

Retrofitting can also make your home more comfortable year-round, helping to maintain stable temperatures and reduce cold spots in the property.

Additionally, energy-efficient upgrades can increase the market value of your home. Many homebuyers are willing to pay more for properties with lower energy bills and improved comfort.

And did you know retrofitting can also benefit your health? Upgrades such as better ventilation systems and using low-toxicity materials can reduce the presence of allergens and pollutants.

Furthermore, if you’re worries about utility costs, retrofitting your home can future-proof it against rising energy costs and stricter environmental regulations. Investing in energy-efficient technologies now can protect you from future increases in utility bills and potential penalties for inefficient properties.

Many retrofit measures, such as installing durable materials or upgrading to more efficient systems, can also reduce long-term maintenance costs, saving you money over time.

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