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Building Energy Rating (BER) for existing houses or apartments

Updated: Jan 14


About Building Energy Ratings

A Building Energy Rating, or BER, is an energy label that indicates the energy performance of your home.

Before your BER Assessor visits your home, you will need to prepare for your BER assessment. This includes gathering documentary evidence for works done on your home, to ensure you are receiving the most accurate BER rating.

In the absence of relevant documents, your BER Assessor will be required to use ‘default values’, which are conservative estimates of the performance of certain aspects of your home. This may result in your home receiving a lower BER rating.


What Should I Expect When a BER Assessor Calls to My Home?

Your BER is calculated based on the amount of energy your home requires for space heating, hot water heating, ventilation, the building fabric, and lighting. In order to complete this calculation, your BER Assessor will need to collect information on various aspects of your home.

To collect this information, your BER Assessor will need access to all areas of your home including the attic, lighting systems, ventilation, meter cupboards, heating systems and controls, hot press, and all doors and windows.

During the BER assessment, your BER Assessor will collect information which will include a number of calculations, measurements, and photographic evidence of each of these aspects of your home.


BER Assessment

The BER Assessment will be carried out in accordance with the Code of Practice and the relevant methodologies and guidance from The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI). In particular, it will be carried out in an independent manner. New provisional dwellings will be based on drawings, specifications, and other data supplied by you and any other investigations required. New final and existing dwellings will be based on a survey of the building and investigations required to be completed as part of the survey. Plans and specifications related to the dwelling may also be of use during the BER Assessment. The Assessor may request certain information from you, the client as part of the survey and BER Assessment. On the basis of this information, the BER Assessor will complete a BER assessment of the building(s) and submit it to SEAI for publication.

Copies of all information and documentation that you supply to the assessor in connection with this application will become the property of SEAI. The Assessor has an obligation to you to protect the confidentiality of this information and will not disclose it without your agreement to do so unless otherwise required to do so by law. If we are required by law to release any such information we shall notify you promptly if possible.

Any personal data that the assessor will collect and/or provide to SEAI will be processed by the assessor and/or SEAI in accordance with the provisions of applicable data protection law in force from time to time in Ireland (including the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679).

The assessor and SEAI shall have no responsibility for any loss or damage that may arise as a result of the Building Energy Rating assessment or result. The methodology used for the BER assessment incorporates standard occupancy assumptions and a range of technical judgments on the energy efficiency of various building components and attributes. A BER may change over time due to many factors including deterioration or modification to the fabric of the building, or its elements. As a result, an energy rating is only a guide to the overall energy efficiency of a building. In practice, energy efficiency is highly dependent on how occupants use the building.

The assessor has an ongoing responsibility to ensure the accuracy of BER certificates issued based on my/our assessment. For that purpose, it may be necessary for me/us and/or SEAI or its agents to visit the building to carry out a site survey of the completed building, specifically in relation to new final, or existing dwelling assessments. You and/or the owner(s) or subsequent owners of the building(s) may be requested to allow me/us or the employees of SEAI or its agents to visit the building(s) for this purpose. If you decide not to facilitate such a request, SEAI may decide to revoke the relevant BER Certificate.


How Long Does a BER Assessment Take?

This will depend on the complexity and size of your home. Typically, it may take up to an hour to complete an assessment on an average-sized 3-bed semi-detached house.

Your BER Assessor will then enter all the information collected into a software tool called DEAP, which is used to calculate and generate your BER. Your assessor will be able to advise you on the time required to complete both the assessment and calculations of your home.


What Do I Receive When my BER Assessment is Complete?

Once your BER assessment is complete, you will receive your BER Certificate and Advisory Report. The BER Certificate will indicate the BER rating of your home, and the Advisory Report will provide recommendations for home improvements that could increase the energy efficiency of the building, and in turn, increase your BER rating. Your BER Assessor will indicate to you when you will receive these documents.


Documents Required Before a BER Assessment Can Commence

Having all your documents and paperwork prepared before your assessment will significantly reduce the time it takes to receive your BER Certificate and Advisory Report.

Our checklist will help you prepare for your BER assessment to ensure you have all the required documents.

  • Your MPRN number - found on a recent electricity bill, and your Eircode.

  • Proof of the year the house was built, any drawings, plans, or specifications of the house, and the age of any extensions added to the house (e.g., legal documents indicating the age of the dwelling extension(s) and relevant planning permissions).

  • Planning application or construction drawings and specifications.

  • The engineer's signoff letter should state that the works were carried out according to the current building regulations and state the relevant TGD Part L

  • Details of any upgrade works done to the house (if applicable) including any documentation, certifications, receipts, invoices, and/or specifications documents from the architect, engineer, or contractor who managed the works, that indicate the address of the dwelling, the works carried out, and the products used (e.g., for wall insulation this would include the wall area covered in m2, the insulation Manufacturer, product type, specification and the thickness used, issued on headed paper from one of the above parties together with any accompanying NSAI agreement certificates for insulation conductivity or other CE marked the declaration of performance or certified accredited test data).

  • Information on the make and model of your boiler and/or other heat sources (e.g., you should be able to find this information on the side of your boiler, for heat pumps, you will need the SEAI designer/installer sign-off form and heat pump product fiche & Eco-design datasheet).

  • For underfloor heating, the construction drawing or a Sign-off letter from the installer will be required.

  • Heat recovery unit (ventilation system) data sheet or manual (if available

  • Certification information for windows and doors (e.g., for windows, certification information should include the relevant test standard, make, model, glazing description, u-value and solar transmittance values, also any delivery documentation showing the delivery address). Windows WEP or CE certificates shall be accompanied by a Sign-off letter stating the customer name, dwelling address, type, and location of windows used with installer information included

  • Results of any air tightness tests completed Ensure that the test was carried out by a registered air tightness tester, an individual or organization competent to do so (NSAI or INAB accreditation for example).

  • You should send an email to SEAI (info@ber.seai.ie) requesting them to release the XML file (this is not the BER certificate available online) for your BER Assessor. Your email shall include:

    1. An electricity bill.

    2. The Assessor number (Our Assessor number is 108717)

    3. Previous BER Assessment number

    4. A request to release the XML file

*If you’re having work done on your home, it’s important to request documentation


Previous Building Energy Ratings (BER)

In some cases, the previous BER will indicate a better energy rating than the one obtained in your current BER. A few reasons for this happening are listed below:

  • Only a provisional BER was published. Provisional BERs are not an accurate reflection of the actual house built. In most cases, the Existing BER published after the house is finalized will indicate a lower BER than originally considered in the Provisional BER.

  • For houses that changed ownership, the previous owner could have had additional documentation that was used during the previous BER assessment.

  • Previous errors or typos (e.g. The previous BER Assessor has used a different year of construction than the actual year of construction).

  • Wrong interpretation of documents provided.


SEAI Audits

SEAI, as the Issuing Authority for the BER/DEC scheme, might select your building for audit as part of our Quality Assurance System.

The quality assurance program is to ensure that there is a quality assessment service in the marketplace, by continuously monitoring assessment quality and ensuring widespread operational compliance by BER/DEC assessors. The system will thus assist BER/DEC assessors in the effective discharge of their duties and ensure the accuracy of assessments.

The audit will take 1 to 3 hours depending on the complexity of your building.

A BER auditor who is representing SEAI will carry out an independent assessment of your building, which will involve measuring dimensions, reviewing your heating, hot water, and lighting systems, and looking at the fabric within the building. The BER auditor will then check the accuracy of your BER rating based on the findings on-site.


How do I Know The Individual Present is a BER Auditor?

All BER auditors are issued with a Warrant of Appointment by SEAI and must have it with them at the time of audit. You may request to view this warrant of appointment before giving the auditor access to the property.


What if I Don’t Want to Give Access to The Audit?

As the BER Assessor should have highlighted at the time of engagement, SEAI may request to carry out a site survey of the building. If you decide not to facilitate the request, SEAI may decide to revoke the BER certificate. Our Quality Assurance and Disciplinary Procedure is available at; https://www.seai.ie/resources/publications/Quality-Assurance-System-and-Disciplinary-Procedure-New.pdf


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