QUALICHeCK Booklet: Improving the compliance of Energy Performance Certificates and the quality of building works

Although significant efforts have been undertaken in Member States since about 10-15 years to drastically reduce the energy use in the building sector, improving the compliance of building energy performance assessments and the quality of building works are two aspects that remain critical to generalise Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (NZEBs) in Europe, both for new and existing buildings.

To address this issue, one objective of the IEE QUALICHeCK consortium was to confirm the concern for energy performance assessment compliance or the quality of the works with field data. To this end, the consortium conducted 10 field studies in 9 countries, each on samples of 25+ buildings. Not surprisingly, significant non-compliance issues were found in many countries. The consortium also confirmed concerns for the quality of building works based on a literature review.

Another objective of QUALICHeCK was to find interesting approaches that had been developed to address these problems.

Based on this information, the consortium proposes in this report an approach to effective compliance frameworks structured around 6 key questions:

  1. What is the scope of the framework?
  2. At which level and on which basis should it be imposed?
  3. On which type of requirement should it be based, and which type of control should it foresee?
  4. What are the procedures to comply with?
  5. What are the procedures for identifying and handling non-compliance?
  6. How will it be implemented in practice?

This booklet gives practical information, including hints and pitfalls, to help framework developers address these key questions. While several aspects are common to EPC compliance and building works, there are also specificities highlighted in specific sections. The report also discusses how to alleviate barriers to innovation which may arise in compliance frameworks. Finally, some hints are given to increase market acceptance of a compliance framework by strengthening societal support. This aspect is addressed in several parts, including in a specific section, given its key influence on the success of compliance approaches.

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REPORT | Source book on Guidelines for better enforcement of quality of the works — Draft

New buildings, as well as the renovated building stock, should aim not just for good energy performance but also for good quality of the works, as this is a prerequisite for high building energy performance. Various experiences show that there are cases where the quality of the works is a (major) issue of concern. This source book aims to provide guidelines and suggestions for better enforcement of quality of the works.

The source book focuses on three conditions which have to be met in order to achieve agreement with all involved parties in practice:

  • there must be an agreement about the specifications which have to be met by the works,
  • there must be the required knowledge/competence to design and execute the works according to the specifications, and
  • there must be the will and resources to carry out the works according to the specifications.

In order to achieve better enforcement of quality of the works, it is crucial to take the local context into account. As such, the source book provides suggestions whereby choices must be made at country level and whereby societal support is critical.

This draft report will be used for interaction with stakeholders with the aim to present a final report in early 2017.

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REPORT | Quality of the Works (final)

Documented examples of existing situations regarding quality of works

The trend towards Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (NZEB) implies the correct execution of classical building works on the one hand, and the proper use of specific workforce skills for implementing advanced technologies on the other. Therefore, to reach NZEB targets in practice, it is important to:

  • Agree what is understood by ‘good’ quality of the works (indicators, performance levels, etc.).
  • Guarantee the existence in the market of good products, as well as the existence of all required competences among designers and executors to deliver a good job.
  • Define and guarantee boundary conditions allowing the various players to deliver the agreed quality level in economically viable conditions.

QUALICHeCK focuses on determining the technical boundary conditions for establishing an effective compliance framework that allows quality of the works.

QUALICHeCK has written a report presenting a series of critical situations on the construction site that can result in poor quality. Documented experiences show the probability, the reasons and the impact of incorrect realisation processes at the building sites. The work documents and builds on successful initiatives to overcome site implementation issues that undermine the confidence in actual performance. They include examples in the context of regulatory frameworks, quality labels, self control or quality management procedures/guidelines, and training programmes.

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REPORT | Source book for improved compliance of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) of buildings — Draft

Practical  experience shows that it is challenging to implement a robust compliance and enforcement framework for energy performance certificates (EPCs) for buildings. The source book on EPC compliance aims to provide guidelines and suggestions for achieving such a framework.

This source book is focusing on three key parts of such framework: first of all, one needs robust procedures for determining the input data used for calculating the EPC; then it is important to have a clear and robust legal framework for dealing with non-compliances of these input data and/or of the EPC; finally, there has to be implementation in practice.

In order to achieve a successful compliance and enforcement framework, it is crucial to take the local context into account. As such, the source book provides suggestions whereby choices must be made at country level and whereby societal support is crucial.

This draft report will be used for interaction with stakeholders with the aim to present a final report in early 2017.

QUALICHeCK source book EPC DRAFT

REPORT | Compliant and Easily Accessible EPC Input Data (final)

How to get compliant and accessible data for the energy rating calculation of a building

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of a building will only be able to serve its purpose if it is considered trustworthy while minimising the risk of non‐compliance of the actual building with the minimum energy performance requirements of the regulations. In doing so, two are the key parameters to be fulfilled:

  1. the input data for the energy performance calculation are compliant, i.e. the data have been obtained in accordance with the definitions and procedures of the applicable legislation, and there is an evidence of this compliance;
  2. the input data for the energy performance calculation are easily accessible, i.e. can be found, seen and used by the relevant experts by taking reasonable time, effort or money.

This QUALICHeCK report presents interesting approaches from different EU countries that could contribute to possible solutions towards compliant and/or easily accessible input data for building energy performance certificates. The approaches include among others:

  • on line databases of product characteristics;
  • procedures for generating reliable data for innovative products;
  • qualification schemes for certain professions;
  • sets of pre‐calculated values for certain technologies/aspects;
  • rules for a consistent announcement of product performances;

whereby the proof that the data is compliant may come e.g. via one or a combination of the following ways:

  • third party control
  • declaration by the product supplier
  • proven competence of experts in charge.

REPORT | Status on the Ground

Overview of existing surveys on energy performance related quality and compliance

Although experience has shown that Nearly Zero Energy Buildings can be realised in practice, many challenges lie ahead of driving the market in this direction. A specific challenge concerns the actual compliance of buildings with the applicable regulations, while another one lies in upgrading the quality of the works to meet NZEB standards.

Several studies and expert statements highlight critical issues on the input data used in Energy Performance Certificates (EPC), while compliance frameworks are typically limited to verifications at building permit stage (not with “as-built” data), therefore allowing for a big range of errors, due to design modifications, poor workmanship etc.

This report is a preliminary collection of information on the status of the quality of EPC input data, the quality of the works and the effectiveness of compliance frameworks in 9 focus countries (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Greece, Romania, Spain, and Sweden) on 4 technology areas (transmission characteristics, ventilation and airtightness, sustainable summer comfort technologies, and renewables in multi-energy systems).

It identifies common problems in relation to EPC input data, e.g. absence of clear procedures, difficulty to access the EPC input data, mistakes, fraud or lack of competence of persons providing the input data, and gives examples of observed performances and interesting framework schemes.

The report summarises 31 studies addressing specific concerns on performance data from the field, the compliance of the input data, the quality of the works, or the compliance frameworks. Although the situation varies across countries and technologies, this preliminary information confirms the need to further work on schemes to improve the confidence in the compliance of input values and in the quality of the works and describes approaches developed or under development to (or potentially interesting to) improve the situation.

QUALICHeCK Status on the Ground Report 1

REPORT | Quality of the Works (draft)

[Update 2016.03.30] The final version of this report is now available.

The trend towards Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (NZEB) implies the correct execution of classical building works on the one hand, and the proper use of specific workforce skills for implementing advanced technologies on the other. Therefore, to reach NZEB targets in practice, it is important to:

  • Agree what is understood by ‘good’ quality of the works (indicators, performance levels, etc.).
  • Guarantee the existence in the market of good products, as well as the existence of all required competences among designers and executors to deliver a good job.
  • Define and guarantee boundary conditions allowing the various players to deliver the agreed quality level in economically viable conditions.

QUALICHeCK focuses on determining the technical boundary conditions for establishing an effective compliance framework that allows quality of the works.

QUALICHeCK has written a first (draft) report presenting a series of critical situations on the construction site that can result in poor quality. Documented experiences show the probability, the reasons and the impact of incorrect realisation processes at the building sites. The work documents and builds on successful initiatives to overcome site implementation issues that undermine the confidence in actual performance. They include examples in the context of regulatory frameworks, quality labels, self control or quality management procedures/guidelines, and training programmes.

This draft report will be used for interaction with stakeholders with the aim to have a final report in the autumn of 2015.

QUALICHeCK Quality of Works Report 1 DRAFT FOR REVIEW

REPORT | Compliant and Easily Accessible EPC Input Data (draft)

[Update 2016.03.15] The final version of this report is now available.

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of a building will only be able to serve its purpose if it is considered trustworthy while minimising the risk of non‐compliance of the actual building with the minimum energy performance requirements of the regulations. In doing so, two are the key parameters to be fulfilled:

  1. the input data for the energy performance calculation are compliant, i.e. the data have been obtained in accordance with the definitions and procedures of the applicable legislation, and there is an evidence of this compliance;
  2. the input data for the energy performance calculation are easily accessible, i.e. can be found, seen and used by the relevant experts by taking reasonable time, effort or money.

This preliminary QUALICHeCK report presents eight interesting approaches from different EU countries that could contribute to possible solutions towards compliant and/or easily accessible input data for building energy performance certificates. The approaches include among others:

  • on line databases of product characteristics;
  • procedures for generating reliable data for innovative products;
  • qualification schemes for certain professions;
  • sets of pre‐calculated values for certain technologies/aspects;
  • rules for a consistent announcement of product performances;

whereby the proof that the data is compliant may come e.g. via one or a combination of the following ways:

  • third party control
  • declaration by the product supplier
  • proven competence of experts in charge.

This draft report will be used for interaction with stakeholders with the aim to have a final report in the autumn of 2015.

QUALICHeCK Compliant Input Data - Report 1 DRAFT FOR REVIEW