- What is an energy assessment and what to expect on the day of the EPC visit?
- What does a commercial EPC contain?
- Are commercial EPCs legally required?
- How long are commercial EPCs valid for?
- Why choose Pyramid Solution for your commercial EPC?
From 1st October 2008 a Commercial Energy Performance Certificate, is required by law for all non-domestic buildings on construction, sale and rent. This applies to all commercial buildings exceeding 50sqm.The commercial EPC is also referred to as a Non-Domestic Energy Performance Certificate (NDEPC) and it accompanied by a Recommendation Report (RR)
The law states that a commercial EPC is required when:
• you rent out or sell the premises
• a building under construction is finished
• 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 certificate must be ordered for potential buyers and tenants before the property is marketed. It is the responsibility of the person constructing, selling or renting the premises to have a valid EPC to show to prospective buyers and tenants.
The EPC must also be displayed in your commercial building in the following cases:
• the total useful floor area is over 500 square meters
• the building is frequently visited by the public
• an EPC has already been produced for the building’s sale, rental or construction
What is an energy assessment and what to expect on the day of the EPC visit?
During the energy assessment, the assessor collects the relevant data for which he undertakes a full visual inspection and measured survey. In some instances a full data set may be impossible to collect by visual inspection alone and the assessor will refer to any additional information provided by the building owner/occupier. The process is complex and time consuming, because before the data may be input, the assessor must reﬂect on the data gathered and collate it in a form which suits the government-approved software methodology. Even for a straightforward building this may take a full day, and longer for more complex buildings.
Similarly to the domestic EPC, the NDEPC is not a structural or building survey, property valuation or condition report. An EPC should not be read as a comment on the overall condition of the property nor will it comment on the presence or otherwise of asbestos, high alumina cement concrete, additives including calcium chloride, or any building defects or hazardous materials. It will also not cover items or problems in the property which would be picked up in a building survey, which may be costly to rectify, as these are outside the scope of the data collected.
Buildings are divided into three categories for the purposes of issuing EPCs:
Level 3 – Small buildings such as converted domestic, with heating systems less than 100kw and cooling systems less than 12kw; the majority of commercial buildings within the country fall in this category of non-domestic buildings with simple heating systems such as low temperature hot water systems, room heaters or simple air conditioning systems
Level 4 – Small purpose built office buildings, with heating systems greater than 100kw and cooling systems greater than 12kw; this category encompasses buildings with more complicated air conditioning systems, such as water fed fan coil units or VAV systems. All new build properties will be Level 4 or above. For this reason, if the building has not been occupied since construction was complete, there may be a pre-existing calculation based on the building’s design. In this case the EPC should be produced by a Level 4 Assessor, who is competent to produce an EPC based on the new build assessment, using the same assumptions made in that calculation
Level 5 – large commercial buildings with complex structures, such as: ventilation with enhanced thermal coupling to the structure, automatic blind control, atrium. These structures mean that the buildings cannot be assessed using the Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM) applied to the majority of nondomestic buildings. Instead, due to their specific features Level 5 buildings only be accurately modelled using a Dynamic Simulations Model (DSM).
Most commercial buildings are well within the capability of a Level 3 NDEPC assessor. You should note that only Level 4 and 5 assessors are deemed competent to assess new buildings prior to completion
Pyramid Solution South East currently offer Level 3 and Level 4 EPC’s ensuring we can cater for all property types
On the day of the visit the assessor will require:
• access to all parts of the commercial premises in order to measure them up
• access to all heating and lighting fixtures and fittings
• data about the building construction
• information on any alterations to the building fabric since it was built
• the building services
• the ‘activities’ taking place (or allowed to take place by the planning class)
• any additional information provided by the building owner/occupier as this will ensure that more accurate assessment and an improved energy rating is produced
• if no additional information is made available to the assessor, the assessment will proceed on the basis of the default values built into the official energy rating methodology, i.e., SBEM. These defaults are pessimistic, so if evidence is available to allow the assessor to override them, a better rating usually results
What does a commercial EPC contain?
• Unlike the domestic EPC, the non-domestic EPC is comprised of two documents: an EPC certificate and a separate Recommendations Report (RR)
• the EPC indicates the energy efficiency of a building fabric and the installed heating, ventilation, cooling and lighting systems
• the asset rating of the property it relates to on a scale of A (most efficient) to G (least efficient)
• what the impact on the environment is
• Information about a property’s typical energy costs and benchmarks
• short technical information
• administrative information, including assessor’s name, number, accreditation scheme, issue date and reference number of the report
The EPC does not take into account how the present occupier uses these systems.
Are commercial EPCs legally required?
It is a legal requirement to have an EPC as it enables new buyers to see how energy efficient the building is and gives information on how the building can be more energy efficient.
On 6 April 2012 The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (the “2011 Regulations”) came into force. Under the ‘2011 Regulations’ EPCs for business sale or letting must meet the below criteria:
• An EPC should be applied for within 7 days of an advertiser marketing the property
• Agents and private sellers must use ‘all reasonable efforts’ to obtain the EPC
• However, if sellers use all reasonable efforts to apply for an EPC within the 7-day period they have a further 21 days to obtain the EPC certificate. In all cases, sellers must have an EPC in their possession within 28 days of the start of marketing
• The first page of the EPC must be included in the written particulars for both residential and commercial properties
• There is an additional duty placed upon the property owner to provide a full version of the EPC as soon as the property is put on the market
It is important to note that any agent acting on behalf of the property owner will be bound by the 2011 Regulations. An agent marketing the property will be under a duty to ensure that an EPC has been commissioned before the property is put on the market and will therefore be liable for any breach.
As the DCLG stipulates, when a building being constructed is physically complete, it is the responsibility of the person carrying out the construction works to give an EPC and recommendations report to the owner of the building and to notify Building Control that this has been done. If a building is modified to have more or less parts than it originally had and the modification includes the provision or extension of fixed services for heating, air conditioning or mechanical ventilation then an EPC will be required and again, it is the person carrying out the modification works to give an EPC and recommendations report to the owner of the building.
Commercial EPC Exemptions
As NES has advised, there are situations when an EPC is not required:
• buildings used primarily or solely as places of worship
• temporary buildings with a planned time of use of two years or less
• industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand (but note: removal of existing heating systems to take advantage of this exemption is likely to be seen as an attempt to avoid regulation and is usually not tolerated)
• standalone buildings with a total ﬂoor area of less than 50m2 which are not dwellings
• particular buildings officially protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historic merit
How long are commercial EPCs valid for?
Similarly to a domestic EPC, an EPC for a commercial building is valid for 10 years, although if a newer EPC is produced, only the latter will be the valid EPC for the building. If certain works are carried out on the building a requirement to produce a new certiﬁcate earlier than this may arise.
As per NES guidelines, in some cases of conversion to buildings a pre-existing EPC will not be valid for use for the conversion, even if it is within its validity period. This will be the case when the building is modiﬁed to create more or fewer separate parts than previously, and there is provision or extension of any ﬁxed services for heating and/or mechanical ventilation systems. This may happen if a building taken over as empty shell and core is then ﬁtted out. In such scenarios new EPC will be required.
When can I expect my commercial EPC?
The commercial energy performance certificate is generated using a government-approved software methodology.
Once the survey has been completed, the details are entered into a software, before being uploaded onto the national database.
If the property address is not registered with Landmark, then a further delay maybe caused due to the technical time required to verify the address and add it to the national database.
Once the EPC is lodged it will appear on the national Non-Domestic EPC register which has open access.
Why choose Pyramid Solution for your commercial EPC?
An EPC has to be produced by a qualified Non-Domestic Energy Assessor or a NDEA, registered with a government authorised accreditation scheme.
Our team of energy assessors are equally skilled in the field of energy assessments and in customer care.
We are committed to providing a high-quality service, accurately and efficiently, and we strive to ensure that you are not only within the legal requirements as a property owner or an agent but also to recommend ways in which you might reduce the running costs of your property.
Please see PDF below for an example of a complete commercial EPC and a complete recommended commercial EPC carried out by one of our Stroma-certified Non-Domestic Energy Assessors