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Commercial EPC FAQs

Why do I need an EPC?

From the 1st October 2008, an Energy Performance Certificate is a document which is now a legal requirement for landlords or sellers of commercial properties to provide for their prospective tenant or buyer when their property is being marketed for sale or rent.

Why is this being introduced?

The EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) requires member states to assess the energy performance of buildings for prospective buyers or tenants. The UK is meeting this requirement by introducing EPC’s which must be undertaken by accredited experts. This also applies to all new buildings upon construction and is catered for within current building regulations.

What is the EPC?

The EPC is an asset rating of the building taking into account the building fabric and services associated with a standardised use of that building. The EPC gives the building an asset rating on a scale A-G, a carbon emissions figure, along with a set of recommendations on how to improve the energy efficiency of the building. A sample EPC is included with this pack.

Is there a benefit to me in having an EPC or is this just another ‘tax’?

The EPC gives owners and occupiers the means to identify inefficient services (heating, lighting, insulation) which is resulting in unnecessarily high operating costs for that building. Although there is no legal requirement to act upon the outcome of an EPC, as fuel costs carry on rising over the foreseeable future, it makes good economic sense to reduce fuel costs wherever possible.

How long is the certificate valid for?

The certificate is valid for 10 years, and so can be re-used for subsequent tenants or buyers, provided the certificate is still valid.

Can the tenant or buyer waive their right to receive the EPC?

No, the legal duty is on the landlord or vendor to provide the EPC.

What are the penalties for not providing an EPC?

If an EPC is not provided by the seller/ Landlord or person acting on behalf of them (estate or letting agent) then Trading Standards can impose a civil penalty charge notice based on 12.5% of the rateable value of the property. This is capped at a minimum of £500 and a maximum of £5,000. Further penalty charges can be imposed every 7 days if an EPC is still not provided.

What does commissioning an EPC involve?

An Assessor will visit the premises to collect a range of data about the construction of the building, its use and how it utilises its energy consumption. Government approved software is then used to generate the certificate along with the recommendations report. The more information that can be made available to the assessor, the easier their job becomes and the more accurate the end EPC becomes. Information such as floor plans, details of the heating or air conditioning system is helpful.

Are there exclusions from the requirements?

The government defines buildings of ” low energy demand” as being exempt from needing an EPC, but what they don’t define is how low is low? DCLG won’t define it when asked, so the only way to find out is by testing the law. Since the preferred route is to always have an EPC then this is likely to be the probably outcome.  New guidelines due to come in during early 2013 have also exempted Listed buildings, IF the introduction of energy efficiency measures would be detrimental to the listing of the building.