Legislative changes from the Energy Act 2011 mean that from 1 April 2018 all commercial properties will have to meet a minimum energy efficiency standard, in a bid to reduce carbon emissions. It will be unlawful to let commercial properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G, the two lowest grades. It is estimated that currently 20 per cent of non domestic properties in the UK fall into this category.
An Energy Performance Certificate rates how energy efficient your building is, using grades from A to G, with ‘A’ the most efficient grade.
Steps to take
The owner of a commercial property must have a current EPC when renting out or selling the premises. They are valid for 10 years and the certificate is awarded after a physical inspection by a commercial energy assessor.
If a building is under construction, once finished it should have an EPC, or if
there are changes to the number of parts used for separate occupation and these changes involve providing or extending fixed heating, air conditioning or mechanical ventilation systems.
The owner can be fined between £500 and £5,000 based on the rateable value of the building if they don’t make an EPC available to any prospective buyer or tenant.
An EPC is not required if the building is listed or officially protected (and the work needed would unacceptably alter it). Temporary buildings are also exempt (i.e. to be used for two years or less), as are places of worship. An industrial site, workshop or non-residential agricultural building that doesn’t use much energy won’t need an EPC, neither does a detached building with a total floor space under 50 square metres.
A building is also exempt if all three of the following are true – it’s due to be sold or rented out with vacant possession, it’s suitable for demolition/the site could be redeveloped, and the buyer or tenant has applied for planning permission to demolish it. Also If the building is due to be demolished by the seller or landlord and they have all the relevant planning and conservation consents, it is exempt.
If you are renting a building which doesn’t meet the requirements, we advise contacting your landlord to discuss improvements, this will probably benefit your business in the form of decreased energy bills, so don’t delay. Find out at the government register what rating your building has.