2020 in Review with PEPA Chairman, Andrew Parkin

Stroma Certification’s Director of Energy Certification and the Property Energy Professionals Association (PEPA) Chairman has penned his thoughts to review 2020 and looks forward to what we can expect in 2021. This review was originally published in the PEPA January newsletter.

"Looking back at 2020, I have many competing emotions and feelings. When I delivered my closing remarks to the 350 delegates who attended the PEPA conference in late February 2020, I had a message of positive change and a clear plan of the direction of travel for our industry in the year to come. Yes, we were aware of Covid-19 and what was happening in China and early reports of the virus spreading to Europe, but it wasn’t going to change what we had planned…

Since that date, we have had 2 full lockdowns in the UK. We are currently in a third, with no definitive date or roadmap for release. However, we do have the promise of a mass vaccination plan underway, which I hope will give us the ability to return to something approaching normality. Hopefully, the UK economy will be able to recover swiftly in the months and years to come."

Open for business

"Despite the difficulties experienced, especially during the first lockdown, in May, the housing and energy assessment industries were fortunate to be given the opportunity to be two of a handful to be opened back up in full. This was a huge privilege and was hard-fought by PEPA and its members, along with dozens of other Trade Associations within the wider industry. This action and the government’s ability to listen and act was hugely positive and bodes well for our industry going forwards.

Having lost nearly 2 months of trading to Covid-19, I am so impressed with how our industry bounced back. Clearly, there was much pent up demand in the housing sectors, however, the industry was able to respond to that demand without effecting turnaround times, and did so in a Covid compliant manner. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all property energy professionals who acted with diligence and in accordance with the guidance set by PEPA and the government, to ensure we successfully and permanently exited from lockdown restrictions."

Looking to 2021

"Looking forward to 2021, we have the third and hopefully last lockdown to navigate. I hope to see an extension of the Stamp Duty Tax window and to the Help to Buy scheme to assist house sellers and buyers. PEPA will be making representation for the extension of these levers, to allow the industry the breathing room it needs and avoid a cliff-edge drop off in activity.

PEPA will also be heavily consulting with government for their plans for setting minimum energy performance standards for the whole housing sector. Our aim is to ensure all buildings in the UK are improved to a challenging but achievable minimum standard in the next 10 years. We will focus on the work we have started with MHCLG on the EPC Action plan, which should bring improvements for the use of EPCs, and set our industry on a positive direction of travel, where the EPC is used more regularly for more trigger points.

This will bring many rewards for energy assessors, and more scrutiny of the EPC, so we need to take this opportunity seriously and act to improve all aspects of delivering energy assessments and certificates. PEPA will also be working with key stakeholders to ensure the application of the Retrofit Standards into industry. For domestic, PAS 2035 will be required for ECO 3 we will call for its use in ECO 4, as well as the use of EPCs. We also look forward to the successful launch of PAS 2038 for commercial buildings, where PEPA have representation on the working groups.

Certainly, a challenging and busy year ahead! PEPA looks forward to these challenges and a bright and positive future!"