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MEES and HFCs: Burden or opportunity?
The incoming Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) will make it illegal to grant a new lease for a property with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G from 1st April, 2018 (and will affect existing leases too by 2023). The Fluorinated Gas (F-Gas) Regulations are increasingly restricting the supply of certain types of refrigerants widely used in air-conditioning systems, resulting in significant price hikes. Both the MEES and the hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) phase-down requirements can be addressed in tandem, as upgrading or replacing a property’s air-conditioning system can have a hugely positive impact on its EPC and will eliminate reliance on depleting, increasingly expensive gases. The input of a specialist mechanical and electrical (M&E) consultant in a refurbishment design phase will mean that a number of refurbishment/replacement options can be reviewed to ensure that the property would remain legal to let post-2023 (thus avoiding the need to re-enter to carry out disruptive — and more costly — works mid-lease) while also potentially reducing future service charge/repair works and operational/energy costs. With careful planning, and by being pro-active rather than reactive, the costs involved — although admittedly higher in the short term — will be lower overall over the long term.
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Michael Cunningham is an Associate at Malcolm Hollis based in the Birmingham office. He has over 10 years’ experience in undertaking building services engineering instructions including projects, technical due diligence and planned maintenance. He started as a project engineer, monitoring and problem solving installations on site for contractors. Now, as a consultant at Malcolm Hollis, he is also an expert in the field of dilapidations, where he advises clients on how the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) and the phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) could affect dilapidations claims.