Generic for-sale signs will no longer require BER ratings

Where a sign gives detail about the property the BER rating will still be required, but not for generic signs. Photograph: Alan Betson Where a sign gives detail about the property the BER rating will still be required, but not for generic signs. Photograph: Alan Betson

Where a sign gives detail about the property the BER rating will still be required, but not for generic signs. Photograph: Alan Betson Where a sign gives detail about the property the BER rating will still be required, but not for generic signs. Photograph: Alan Betson

Thu, Mar 28, 2013, 06:00

Estate agents will no longer be required to specify the building energy ratings (BER) of properties on their roadside signage following discussions to change the existing guidelines.

The move is likely to be welcomed by property agents who had been frustrated by the costs and impracticality of stipulating specific BER ratings on generic for sale/to rent signs outside properties.

Although it is not yet official, a spokesman for the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) said the change is expected in a “short time-frame”.

The BER ratings guidelines have been in place since January 9th, and the move follows SEAI and Department of the Environment discussions with representative bodies for the property industry. The BER rating will no longer be required on signage as long as it is generic, and contains no property-specific details. It may include all of the agents details – phone number, website, licence number – but only where there is a detail about the property (eg two-bed apartment; mews to rear; 18,000sq ft office block etc) must the alpha-numeric BER be included.

According to Fintan McNamara of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers ( IPAV): “This is a welcome development. The requirement was causing huge amounts of inconvenience for people, despite it not being part of the energy saving directive requirements for other EU states. A lot of members felt it was an unnecessary imposition, when people could find out the BER rating via the website or by enquiring from the agent.”

To date the level of compliance with the new guidelines has been good, particularly for printed advertising. However, the SEAI has expressed concern with the poor compliance levels on property websites. “We are still trying to secure buy-in from certain groupings who have not moved forward – particularly online. We would like to see accelerated levels of compliance here,” said Tom Halpin of the SEAI.

This week IPAV issued a letter to its members detailing agreement that had been reached to date with SEAI and Department of the Environment, and requesting agents to specify BER ratings alongside properties advertised online.