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HIPS and energy performance certificates

There was some very interesting news today.  The new UK government has announced that the infamous Home Information Packs or HIPS have been suspended with immediate effect.  They were brought in by the previous Labour government and were first brought in around 2004 and then made mandatory in 2007.  They were critised by many due to the amount of red tape and costs involved.  It will be very difficult to actually assess their effectiveness as they operated during a very difficult economic time, a time when house prices fell by about 40% from their peaks.  They were designed to make selling and buying more secure from the point of view of the buyers being fully aware of the pitfalls of buying a house.  It was the sellers responsibility to obtain a report at a cost of around £600, whereas before it was up to the buyer to decide on the level of survey and searches.  It will be very interesting to see how this pans out.  After all many estate agents and people in this industry have not only geared up, but paid for training.  Others have set-up business’ and now seem set to lose their markets.

Your probably thinking, this blog is about energy, water and eco/environmental issues.  Well HIPS are, why?  Well if the HIPS were highlighting short-coming will properties, then surely this was raising the standards of the housing stock being sold?  Another important part of the HIPS was the energy performance certificates.  It’s great news to report that these certificates will remain in place and hopefully this will encourage loft insulation, cavity wall, better fuel efficient boilers and other energy measures.  How exactly these certificates will be created is yet a little unclear.  It’s hard to imagine an industry going around producing these certificates, but maybe it will be tagged onto the the traditional surveys.  In my opinion, it just shows that this new government is committed to the environment, but hopefully very good at cutting red tape.