BRITAIN COULD breach European law unless it funds the work needed to implement a key European energy efficiency directive before the 2008 deadline, industry experts claimed last week.
Construction professionals claim that the industry lacks the vital trained personnel to carry out work needed to comply with new European Union (EU) laws when they come into effect.
The EU Energy Performance of Buildings directive (EPBD) has to become part of UK legislation on 4 January 2006.
Britain can negotiate an extension to 2008 if it can show that there is a shortage of suitably qualified and approved experts to enforce all its clauses.
With a three year extension, the directive must be implemented fully by 31 December 2008 or politically embarrassing legal action may result with fines imposed.
An 'industry consultation seminar' was held at Watford, north of London, last week to discuss the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's plans to introduce the directive into UK law.
This will be done by amending Part L of the Building Regulations (NCE 30 September).
Delegates heard speaker after speaker claim that the deadlines were impossible to meet without direct government funding for the development of the necessary software and training the 'thousands' of new inspectors that will be needed.
Roger Watts, immediate past chairman of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) building surveying faculty, said the EPBD was 'going to be hell for surveyors.'
He added: 'It will require all properties to have energy performance certificates - which have yet to be formulated - that will be legal documents that have to be handed over at every property transaction.
'There are around 500,000 such transactions every year in the UK. We reckon we need another 4,000 trained inspectors to cope with this extra work.'