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New legislation affecting Energy Performance Certificates

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) brought in new legislation which amends the rules concerning EPCs and this came into effect on 9 January 2013.

The three main changes are:

 

1. Listed Buildings are now exempt from requiring an EPC (but see below).

2. It is no longer necessary to place the entire front page of the EPC on marketing particulars.  Instead, just the rating is sufficient: e.g. the EPC has a rating of “B”. Where there is space, it is recommended that the graph should also be included.

3. All buildings which are over 500m² and are regularly visited by the public and which have an EPC must now display that EPC for the public to see.

The responsibility to display is with the occupier.  So this affects restaurants, shops, offices and other commercial buildings.  In terms of how often the building is visited by the public, this is thought to be daily or nearly daily.

Informed commentators have indicated they feel this is a logical step to make the EPC more visible and more relevant, leading to a stated objective of encouraging the upgrading of the energy of the existing commercial property stock in the United Kingdom and a future ban on marketing G rated property.

Buildings are responsible for almost 40% of the United Kingdom’s energy consumption and carbon emissions and a published guidance by the DCLG gives an introduction to the regulations for EPCs for non dwellings on construction, sale or rent in England and Wales.

However, whilst the guidance aims to explain how the requirements work in practice, it is for individuals themselves to take a view on whether they fall within the requirements of the regulations and in cases of doubt, independent legal advice should be sought.

Gullands will be delighted to provide any such legal advice on the regulations guidance or any other matter or query relating to the same.

It is considered the original Energy Performance of Buildings Directive that was implemented by the previous administration in 2008, was excessive in some of its requirements i.e. went beyond the minimum requirements.

The current administration has taken the opportunity to remove the excess where possible.

Buildings in Northern Ireland and Scotland are subject to separate requirements.

Rather alarmingly, within 24 hours or so of DCLG publishing its guide, it was obliged to publish further clarification on the question of EPC’s and Listed Buildings.

It is only buildings that have been listed by English Heritage (or its Welsh equivalent) that are exempt from the requirement to have an EPC on their sale or rent.

The regulations qualify the exemption by only exempting such buildings where compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance.

In practice, the qualification does not impact on the exemption because there are no minimum energy performance requirements for listed or historic buildings!

For more information on the guidance and on EPCs generally, please contact Paul C. Burbidge on 01622 678341; direct dial: 01622 689712 or p.burbidge@gullands.com