Energy

A day in the life of an EPC assessor

In this job, every day is completely different. I tend to break my week up 50/50 between office and site visits.

On a typical office day, I start with checking my emails to see if there is anything urgent that needs addressing. Clients often have urgent requirements for imminent lets or need advice on a potential refurb decision and its effect on the EPC rating.

After that, I check the diary for upcoming site visits to see if they’re confirmed, if I have contact details for the site, if I have any floor plans, and I’ll chase these up if not. I’ll propose dates/times for new jobs that have come in, planning out the route and estimating the time each survey will take to give the closest ETA I can. It’s a shame this can’t be automated, but there is so much variety from building to building in the time required on-site that it needs a human eye to ensure everything fits into the day.

Once all of this is done, I can focus on processing jobs that I have surveyed. This involves researching the building to understand the fabric of it and apply the correct U-values to each construction, walls, windows, doors, roofs etc. I’ll check if there have been any major changes such as an extension or new roof which can have a major impact on the rating as the newer construction U-values will need to be taken into account and applied to the model accurately. I also research the HVAC systems found on site such as boilers, air conditioners/heat pumps, air handling units, air heaters, along with the hot water system to find out the efficiency and then model the building in 3D, applying all the data collected/researched.

On a typical survey day, it usually starts early, depending on where I’m travelling. Once I get to a site, I’ll have a walk around the property to see where the best place would be to start. If it’s tenanted, I will explain what I need to do and what I need to see, such as plant rooms, heat pumps, and that I would need to get on the roof if there’s any HVAC equipment there.

If I haven’t been given any floor plans, I will sketch the building out as I am walking around, taking measurements and photos. Sketching the building as I go can add an hour or more to larger surveys. For larger properties such as office buildings, supermarkets etc, I would ask if they had any O&M manuals for the HVAC – the information in these manuals is so helpful and can change an EPC rating an entire band in some cases. Better information in means better ratings out generally! We can sometimes find the ‘as fitted’ drawings showing the HVAC layout which is key to understanding which zones are serviced by what, especially in more complex buildings. They’ll usually have what we need to calculate SFP (specific fan power) for all air systems and/or model numbers for equipment that we may not be able to get to or where the data plates have been sun bleached making them unreadable.

There are also frustrating times when I get to a site and no one is there or they refuse access, and it ends up having to be rearranged. Or times when I get to a site and it’s much larger or more complex than expected and this will have a knock-on effect for the rest of the day, possibly resulting in rescheduling other sites booked in for that day.

Having such a varied day-to-day work life makes the job really enjoyable, no two days – or buildings – are the same.

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