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EPC Legislation Changes – How Does This Affect Your Properties?

A number of changes to the ENERGY PERFORMANCE OF BUILDINGS (CERTIFICATES AND INSPECTIONS) (ENGLAND AND WALES) REGULATIONS 2007 came into effect on Friday 6th April 2012.

A number of changes to the ENERGY PERFORMANCE OF BUILDINGS (CERTIFICATES AND INSPECTIONS) (ENGLAND AND WALES) REGULATIONS 2007 came into effect on Friday 6th April 2012. Although the changes have been widely discussed by legislators over the course of the last twelve months, all building landlords, vendors and agents are advised to familiarise themselves with the revised statutory requirements (The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (SI 2011/2452) in order to avoid newly-introduced fines for non-compliance. Significantly, the changes extend the requirement for an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) from residential buildings alone to both residential and to non-residential buildings, including commercial premises and places of business. 

As part of our pro-active risk management consultancy services, we are able to advise on the impact of these new requirements for your own organisation and would invite you to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about compliance.


Why have the changes been introduced?
The changes are based in part on a highly critical Impact Assessment Report (Energy Performance of Buildings Directive - Compliance and Enforcement, Impact Assessment), prepared by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) last year. It found that compliance was low, with many landlords or sellers either failing to provide an EPC, providing only a poor quality report or, providing a fraudulent report. In its report to Parliament the DCLG was keen to emphasise the benefits of revised legislation including the easier facilitation of relevant knowledge to the prospective tenant or landlord and higher rates of compliance throughout the country.

 

An overview of the changes to the EPB regulations:

  • The changes will extend the current requirements to commission an EPC that apply to residential buildings to all non-residential buildings when sold or rented out
  • The old EPC regulations required the landlord or vendor of the property to provide an EPC at ‘the earliest possible opportunity’ when listing the building for sale or rent. The EPC must now be provided within 7 days, although an extension of 21 days is offered if it can be proven that all reasonable steps are being taken to obtain an EPC.
  • All buildings marketed for sale or rent must include a copy of the first page of the EPC with the written particulars. This applies to buildings advertised online and offline.
  • There is now a requirement for the statutory lodgement of air conditioning inspection reports onto the central EPC Register.

How the changes affect you?

The changes to the Energy Performance of Buildings regulations are specific and relate to a very transactional implementation of services. As a property manager, you will need to consider the new requirements when marketing a property for sale or rent. If you’re considering expanding your property portfolio and are looking for new commercial premises, the changes to Energy Performance of Buildings regulations can also help to inform your decision.

If you’re renting or selling a property: If you plan to rent out a property or sell a current property, you will need to ensure that an EPC is commissioned before appointing an agent to market it. The EPC report provides potential buyers and tenants with vital information about the energy efficiency of the property to inform their decision to commit to the lease or sale. You can appoint an estate agent before an EPC is commissioned but will need to check that they can arrange one on your behalf before any advertising or marketing takes place.

The EPC must be included in all property adverts; you must include page 1 of the EPC with the property advertisement. This is true of online and offline adverts.

If you’re buying or leasing a property: If you’re looking to rent or buy a property, be sure to check that a valid and detailed EPC and report is available to you from the minute you request it. When browsing advertisements online, page one of the EPC should be present as an attachment. You are advised to study this page carefully and consider how energy efficient the building is before committing to a lease or purchase.

How your current building is affected: Even if you have no plans to buy or sell, lease or rent your commercial property in the near future, you must still be aware of the changes to EPC. The revised requirements now include a clause that air conditioning inspection reports be lodged with the central Non Domestic EPC Register. If you had previously opted out of this once voluntary requirement, you must now arrange for your report to be submitted. 
 
 
EPB Regulation Changes in Detail:

An EPC Must Be Obtained Before Marketing a Property
Article 5A of the EPB Regulations now includes the requirement for an EPC to be commissioned before marketing commences (sale or let) of residential and non residential buildings. The window of opportunity has been re-defined from ‘the earliest possible opportunity’ to ‘within 7 days’. In effect, this makes it necessary to have an EPC in place before advertising a commercial property for sale or rent.

Power to Require the Production of Documents
Trading Standards Officers (TSO) are given increased power to demand the production of EPC documents from ‘relevant persons’ acting on behalf of the seller or landlord of the property. They previously could only request copies from the landlord or vendor directly. This change means that agents acting on your behalf will be required to prove that an EPC has been commissioned if a building is being marketed without one. 

Clarification of When an EPC is Required
The words “before entering into a contract to sell or rent the building or, if sooner” in Regulation 5(2)(b) of the EPB Regulations have been removed from The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (SI 2011/2452).This deletion corrects the incorrect interpretation that the EPC can be provided when a sale or let has been agreed.

EPC Information in Written Particulars
The EPC must now be attached to written particulars for any building being sold or rented. This now includes written particulars for rented out buildings and commercial properties. Written particulars relates to any advertisement for the property, whether online or offline. Where an address is not included in the written particulars, the person required to include page one of the EPC (landlord, vendor or agent acting on their behalf) is permitted to remove omit the address from the copy of the EPC).

Statutory lodgement of air conditioning inspection reports
Under the old regulations, the requirement to lodge air conditioning inspection reports on the central Non Domestic EPC Register. Under the new legislation, this requirement becomes mandatory. 
 
 
Commercial EPC Conventions

The round of changes to EPCs and how they are enforced are not restricted simply to buildings and reports. Energy Performance Assessors are also subject to new conventions which were introduced on 1st February as part of quality assurance frameworks. The Commercial EPC Conventions for England and Wales Issue 3.0 are intended to standardise commercial EPC assessment processes and to ensure a uniformity of approach. These new standards are designed to improve the accuracy and quality of CEPCs.

Overview of changes to Commercial EPC Conventions

  • Weather Regions Adjustment
    Commercial energy performance assessors working in England and Wales must select the weather location closest to the subject address. This is based on postcode area using the initial one or two letters of the postcode. For commercial buildings in Northern Ireland, a default of ‘Belfast’ will be applied.
  • Planning Use Class
    The Commercial Energy Assessor will not be required to determine the appropriate Planning Use Class of the building but, if a Class has been provided, the Assessor should use this data to complete the ‘Building Details’ class under the ‘General Details’ data form. 
  • Reversible Extract Fans
    Reversible extract fans are to be treated the same way as non-reversible extract fans. Reference should be made to ‘Estimating Local Mechanical Exhaust rates in existing buildings 6.07 if the extraction rate is not known. 
  • Hot Water Storage Vessels
    Where multiple hot water storage vessels operating with the same fuel type and efficiency are present, they can be aggregated into SBEM as one system. 
  • Missing Lamp Selection
    Where a lamp is not installed in a light fitting when the commercial EPC is being drawn up by the assessor, the assessor is required to select the least efficient lamp type that can be housed by the light fitting.

How can Ark Help?
Ark Workplace Risk offers a number of EPC Assessment and Energy Performance Management solutions. Our Commercial Energy Assessors subscribe and work to The Commercial EPC Conventions for England and Wales which have been updated to reflect the legislative changes.

Contact us to find out how we can mitigate the impact of the new EPC requirements on your organisation or, help to improve energy efficiency in the wake of a poor EPC rating.

 

 

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