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Changes to the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) regime from 9 January 2013

4th February, 2013

Emma McGlinchey, partner in the Commercial Property team, looks at changes to the Energy Performance Certification regime that came into effect on 9 January 2013

Changes to the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) regime from 9 January 2013

Broadly speaking, an EPC is needed whenever a property is:

  • built
  • sold
  • rented

An EPC contains:

  • information about a property’s energy use and typical energy costs
  • recommendations about how to reduce energy use and save money

An EPC gives a property an energy efficiency rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) and it is valid for 10 years.

Certain properties occupied by a public authority and frequently visited by the public will also need a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) and an advisory report.

Examples of buildings that must have a DEC include:

  • local authority buildings
  • libraries
  • public sports facilities (such as leisure centres)
  • education centres such as schools, colleges and universities
  • NHS trust buildings

 

The regime also imposes obligations on those who have control of certain air-conditioning systems to ensure that the system is inspected at least every five years by an energy assessor.

 

On 9 January 2013 new regulations came into force relating to Energy Performance Certificates, Display Energy Certificates and air-conditioning reports which replace all the former energy performance regulations for England and Wales.

 

Why the changes?

 

  • To comply with a further EU Directive.
  • Removal of unnecessary previous gold-plating reducing the burden of cost for property owners and occupiers.
  • Reflecting how the two national Energy Performance Certificate registers for dwellings and non-dwellings actually work.

 

Buildings that are exempt from the regulations are extended to:

 

  • Protected and listed buildings – but only where compliance would unacceptably alter the character or appearance of such building.
  • A wider group of religious buildings – used for places of worship or for religious activities.
  • (Possibly) a different classification of temporary buildings – the intention as to short term use of two years or less is no longer relevant.
  • Non-residential agricultural buildings in some circumstances.
  • Buildings only used for part of the year – short term occupation (holiday lets) are now confirmed as exempt.  Where residential buildings are used or intended to be used for less than four months of the year or a limited period each year, there is no requirement that the building is used for holidays or is rented out.
  • Small standalone buildings – are exempt even if they are residential.  The building must be free standing (detached) and have a total useful floor area of less than 50 m2.

 

Changes to Advertisements

Another change is that all advertisements for either selling or renting property must clearly show the energy rating of the building. This includes newspapers and magazines, any written material produced by the landlords or estate/letting agents, and on the internet.

 

  • There is no longer an obligation to supply the first page of the Energy Performance Certificate information with any written particulars for the sale or rent of a building or unit produced by the seller, landlord or estate agent.

 

  • Any advert in commercial media i.e. newspapers, magazines, internet sites or written material offering the property, whether a residential or non-residential unit, for sale or rent is now required to simply state the asset rating as a numerical score although the guidance refers to stating the EPC letter rating.

 

  • There is no obligation to include the asset rating if there is no Energy Performance Certificate.

 

  • NOTE: the only safe way to check whether there is a valid Energy Performance Certificate and if so, what the asset rating is, will be to do a search of the relevant dwelling or non-dwelling Energy Performance Certificate register to establish what Energy Performance Certificates have been issued for the building or unit.

Display of Energy Performance Certificates

Here is a summary of changes to registration requirements for EPC:-

  • A new duty applies to any building that is not a dwelling, which both has a total useful floor area of more than 500 m2 (previously 1000 m2) and is frequently visited by the public. Guidance interprets “frequently visited by the public” as a building that is a non-domestic building, to which the public has an implied (e.g. shops, restaurants) or express (e.g. office blocks, factories) right to enter and which is visited by members of the public on a daily/near daily basis.

 

  • The totally new obligation is to display an Energy Performance Certificate in a prominent place clearly visible in non-residential buildings visited on a daily or nearly daily basis by members of the public with an implied or express licence to enter the building.  It applies to building occupiers of all types including private individuals, companies or trusts and public authorities but only if the building had a total useful floor area of more than 500 m2.

 

  • There is uncertainty for multi let buildings.  The safest course is for any tenant to display a valid Energy Performance Certificate for their part of the building.

 

  • If there is no Energy Performance Certificate because the last one has expired, there is no obligation to commission a replacement Energy Performance Certificate if the initial one displayed ceases to be valid just so it can be displayed.  Nothing needs to be displayed unless and until a new Energy Performance Certificate is issued.

 

  • The obligation to display an Energy Performance Certificate runs in parallel to the obligation to display a Display Energy Certificate.  So a public authority may be obliged to comply with both regulations.

 

The Energy Performance Certificate (“EPC”) register

Here is a summary of changes to registration requirements for EPC:-

 

  • The 10 year validity period of an EPC now runs from the date of entry on the register rather than the date the certificate was issued, even if these are not the same.

 

  • EPCs, DECs and air-conditioning schemes require entry on the register of the reference number of the data as well as the various certificates and reports.

 

  • It is now possible to request data by quoting the report reference number of the certificate.

 

  • Advisory reports have been abolished.  Instead the occupier is required to have a valid recommendation report.

 

  • A recommendation report is not always required.  Occupiers are excused from having a valid recommendation report if “there is no reasonable potential for energy performance improvements compared to the energy performance requirements in force”.

 

  • However, recommendations made by the energy assessor should be for the “cost-effective” improvement of the energy performance of the building and must be “technically feasible”. It will include information on the steps to be taken to implement the recommendations.  This is intended to tie in with the works that could be included within a Green Plan Deal – the mechanism for upfront financing of energy efficiency improvements.

 

Changes to the Display Energy Certificate (“DEC”) regime

 

Here is a summary of changes to DEC requirements:-

 

  • A DEC is required for all buildings with a total useful floor area of over 500m2 (previously 1000m2).  From 9th July 2015, these requirements will extend to such buildings with a total useful floor area of over 250m2.

 

  • DECs are now required be displayed in a prominent place where it is clearly visible to the members of the public who visit the building. Guidance suggests that it should be no smaller than A3 in size.

 

  • DECs no longer have to show the asset rating (i.e. the calculated level of energy performance) only to display the operational rating (i.e. how much energy is usually used).

 

  • DECs for buildings with a total useful floor area of over 1000 m2 are valid for 12 months.  All other DECs will be valid for 10 years.

 

  • Reports under the Display Energy Certificate regime obtained before 9 January 2013 are valid for 7 years but for 10 years if obtained after that date.

For further updates, please click here

For more information contact Emma McGlinchey, Commercial Property Partner at [email protected] or by telephone 01244 405567.

 

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