Energy Certificate FAQs

We have compiled some answers to many of the common questions we encounter about statutory energy certificates.  If you can't find what you are looking for straight away, please try the "Search this site" option below.

England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland
England

Air Conditioning Energy Inspections are designed to ensure that cooling and ventilation systems are being operated efficiently.  The need for compliance is not affected by the historic nature or otherwise of the building.  As such, no exemptions from the requirements for these assessments exist for buildings in England that are listed or in formally designated conservation areas due to this status.

Listed Buildings and those in formally designated conservation areas within England are currently treated as any other building would be treated and require Air Conditioning Energy Inspections (ACEIs) if they meet the other qualifying criteria.

Scotland

Air Conditioning Energy Inspections are designed to ensure that cooling and ventilation systems are being operated efficiently.  The need for compliance is not affected by the historic nature or otherwise of the building.  As such, no exemptions from the requirements for these assessments exist for buildings in Scotland that are listed or in formally designated conservation areas due to this status.

Listed Buildings and those in formally designated conservation areas within Scotland are currently treated as any other building would be treated and require Air Conditioning Energy Inspections (ACEIs) if they meet the other qualifying criteria.

Wales

Air Conditioning Energy Inspections are designed to ensure that cooling and ventilation systems are being operated efficiently.  The need for compliance is not affected by the historic nature or otherwise of the building.  As such, no exemptions from the requirements for these assessments exist for buildings in Wales that are listed or in formally designated conservation areas due to this status.

Listed Buildings and those in formally designated conservation areas within Wales are currently treated as any other building would be treated and require Air Conditioning Energy Inspections (ACEIs) if they meet the other qualifying criteria.

Northern Ireland

Air Conditioning Energy Inspections are designed to ensure that cooling and ventilation systems are being operated efficiently.  The need for compliance is not affected by the historic nature or otherwise of the building.  As such, no exemptions from the requirements for these assessments exist for buildings in Northern Ireland that are listed or in formally designated conservation areas due to this status.

Listed Buildings and those in formally designated conservation areas within Northern Ireland are currently treated as any other building would be treated and require Air Conditioning Energy Inspections (ACEIs) if they meet the other qualifying criteria.

To conduct the Air Conditioning Energy Inspection (ACEI) an accredited assessor will visit your premises to complete the assessment.  This will be arranged with you in advance and it is really helpful if you have someone available to escort the assessor that is familiar with the building, the systems and their maintenance.  This not only enables the inspection to be conducted in a safe manner, it is also faster and helps to ensure your final report accurately reflects your system and the management processes you have in place.

During the inspection the assessor will examine the refrigeration and air moving equipment that are part of any air conditioning systems present and their controls.  They will also examine any documentation that helps users to understand the system, or indicates the extent to which the system has been maintained.  The energy assessor is also required to estimate whether the system is suitably sized for the cooling loads in the treated spaces and to provide advice on ways in which the performance of the system might be improved.  If you have thermal modelling information and/or a Building Log Book, these should also be made available to the assessor.

Access will be required to equipment that may be located in plant rooms, or outside the building, including rooftops or other locations with limited provision for access.  In all cases the building owner or manager must agree the means for safe access with the energy assessor.  The energy assessor may need to be accompanied by the responsible building manager or maintenance agent to complete the assessment in a safe and efficient manner.

Some additional access may be needed, for example to the inside of air handling units or ducts.  This must be provided and supervised by the responsible building manager or maintenance agent with due regard to the safety of the energy assessor and to building occupants.  Where this requires the system to be turned off, arrangements may need to be made for this outside working hours to avoid disruption to business.  Similarly, the energy assessor may need to access a sample of components, such as fan coil units, which may be hidden above suspended ceilings.  Again, access should be provided by the building manager or maintenance agent.

The building owner or manager should not expect the Air Conditioning Energy Inspection to identify hazards or unsafe aspects of the installation, operation or maintenance of systems.  These should be identified and addressed by other arrangements including regular maintenance inspections.  The survey is also a non-invasive visual inspection only.  The energy assessor cannot fix any problem identified as part of the inspection.  However, as a professional expert in their field, they are always happy to share best practice with you and will highlight any obvious deficiencies or safety concerns that they find.

Equally, Air Conditioning Energy Inspections carried out for the purposes of the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations are not designed to assess any risks to public health that the system may pose.  However, the assessor will review the management records of the system as part of the assessment and the energy assessor is required to inform the building owner or manager of any potential issues they find.  Additionally, the energy assessor is required to confirm that the relevant person has undertaken the necessary checks to ensure any legionella or other biological risks are properly managed as required by the The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002.  Again, they are confirming the existence of this documentation, not its accuracy which is best assessed by other specialist professionals.

Further information is available in the Government publication Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings – A guide to air conditioning inspections for buildings, December 2012,  Department for Communities and Local Government, ISBN: 978-1-4098-3725-1.

The effective output of an individual air conditioning unit or system may be given on the rating plate attached to the unit.  It may also be stated in the operating and maintenance manual or from the manufacturer’s website.  Alternatively, where the system is covered by a maintenance contract, the capacity should be known by the contractor and should be reported in the maintenance records they supply.

The guidelines below are an approximate indication of typical figures for installed capacity for various spaces and may help you determine whether your system is within the scope of the regulations.  Cooling requirements depend on a wide range of circumstances, including the fabric, location and orientation of the building towards the sun, as well as the activities and the number of people in the building.  Older systems are also likely to have higher rated outputs for a given floor area.  Where more specific figures are needed these should be calculated taking account of the particular circumstances of the building and its use.

The guidelines below are for offices and shops.  If it is not clear whether a building reaches the threshold the installed capacity of the system must be determined by appropriate inspection, calculation and enquiries.  In other, more specialised, buildings, the wide range of factors which influence system capacity means that these systems should be determined by a suitably qualified person on a case by case basis if the information is not already available.

For larger systems, a central cooling system serving an office building of 2,000m2 is likely to be 250kW rated output.  Cooling systems serving meeting rooms which may be used by large numbers of people, such as council chambers, may exceed the 250kW threshold for lower floor areas.

Activity being air conditionedLikely area requiring 12kW of cooling
Typical general office spaces.200 m2
Office spaces with high levels of IT electrical equipment.100 m2
Retail spaces with average levels of display lighting.250 m2
Retail spaces with high levels of display lighting and illuminated cabinets.150 m2

Please Note: These values are intended as a rough guide only and you should check the details of your specific system.  Offices, call centres, dealing floors and public spaces with high occupation densities (6m2 per person and over) or similar, in addition to areas with high levels of IT equipment, communication or lighting loads may well fall within the scope of these regulations at smaller areas.  The office spaces above assume an occupancy of 8 to 10 m2 per person.

We are often asked about responsibility for obtaining an Air Conditioning Energy Inspection (ACEI).  Is it up to the landlord to get the assessment and hold the report or is it the tenant?  As with most aspects of non-domestic leases it often depends upon the terms of the lease as responsibility could lie with either.

The Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 require the person who controls the operation of an air conditioning system to:

  • ensure an inspection has been done in accordance with the requirements and timetable of the regulations;
  • keep the most recent inspection report provided by an energy assessor; and
  • give any inspection report to any person taking over responsibilities with respect to the control of the air conditioning system.

If the control of an air conditioning system is passed to another person and that person has not been given an inspection report by the previous operator of the system, the system must be inspected within three months of the new operator of the system taking over such control.  This was originally relevant as initially there was no requirement to lodge certificates and reports onto the National Register.  However, this has now changed.  It is now required that all certificates and reports must be lodged on to the National Register in England and Wales.  These requirements have now been in effect for long enough that any report not lodged on the National Register will no have expired anyway.  As a result, valid reports can be found online at https://www.ndepcregister.com/ where they can currently be downloaded for free.

Please Note: The person who controls the operation of the system is the person who controls the technical functioning of the system, not someone who does no more than adjust the temperature or whose only responsibility is to adjust the controls.  This will usually be the owner of the system even where day to day operation is contracted out to another person or organisation. However, where a tenant takes total responsibility for a building and its services (e.g. full repairing and insuring lease), then the tenant will control the system and have these responsibilities.

Further information is available in the Department for Communities and Local Government publication Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings – A guide to air conditioning inspections for buildings (December 2012, ISBN: 978-1-4098-3725-1).

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Since February 2009, site based Display Energy Certificates (DECs) and Recommendation Reports no longer meet the requirements of the legislation.  All qualifying buildings on a site must now have their own Display Energy Certificate and Recommendation Report.  Therefore site-based DECs no longer serve a useful purpose and are not issued.

Site owners should be in the process of upgrading metering provision to ensure that the energy consumption of multiple buildings can be separately measured.  Where this has not yet been completed, the government currently allow a DEC assessment to be completed using disaggregated site data.  This is a process where the energy assessor can split the total energy consumption of the whole site up between all the buildings on it.  However, this is often a complex process where it applies and involves significant additional work for the assessor.  For the client, it also means that the information they will receive from the assessment will be less useful and any smaller buildings that would not require their own DEC and Recommendation Report will still need to be surveyed.

Recommendation Report Requirements

England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland
England

In England, a valid Recommendation Report is legally required to be in place before a Display Energy Certificate is issued.  Your assessor will need to lodge one if either there is no report currently on the register or if the last report has expired.  In reality, both the Display Energy Certificate and Recommendation Report are usually added to the National Register at the same time.

The Recommendation Report must be for the same building and occupier as the DEC so they should both be accessible under the same entry on the register.  It is the responsibility of the energy assessor to check the register to ensure that the Recommendation Report is in place before lodging the Display Energy Certificate (DEC).

If a DEC is being used to meet an organisation’s obligations under the Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) it must be accompanied by a valid Recommendation Report completed since the organisation’s previous ESOS report was finalised i.e. you can’t use the same report twice.

Scotland

In Scotland, Recommendation Reports  to accompany Display Energy Certificates (DECs) are voluntary.

However, if the DEC is being used to meet an organisation’s obligations under the Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) it must be accompanied by a valid Recommendation Report.  This Recommendation Report must have been completed since the organisation’s previous ESOS report was finalised i.e. you can’t use the same report twice.

Wales

In Wales, a valid Recommendations Report is legally required to be in place before a Display Energy Certificate is issued.  Your assessor will need to lodge one if either there is no report currently on the register or if the last report has expired.  In reality, both the Display Energy Certificate and Recommendations Report are usually added to the National Register at the same time.

The Recommendations Report must be for the same building and occupier as the DEC so they should both be accessible under the same entry on the register.  It is the responsibility of the energy assessor to check the register to ensure that the Recommendations Report is in place before lodging the Display Energy Certificate (DEC).

If a DEC is being used to meet an organisation’s obligations under the Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) it must be accompanied by a valid Recommendations Report completed since the organisation’s previous ESOS report was finalised i.e. you can’t use the same report twice.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, a valid Recommendations Report is legally required to be in place before a Display Energy Certificate is issued.  Your assessor will need to lodge one if either there is no report currently on the register or if the last report has expired.  In reality, both the Display Energy Certificate and Recommendations Report are usually added to the National Register at the same time.

The Recommendations Report must be for the same building and occupier as the DEC so they should both be accessible under the same entry on the register.  It is the responsibility of the energy assessor to check the register to ensure that the Recommendations Report is in place before lodging the Display Energy Certificate (DEC).

If a DEC is being used to meet an organisation’s obligations under the Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) it must be accompanied by a valid Recommendations Report completed since the organisation’s previous ESOS report was finalised i.e. you can’t use the same report twice.

England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland
England

Display Energy Certificates are designed to ensure that energy is being used efficiently in public buildings.  They consider how energy use is managed and  the measures that are in place to reduce consumption.  The need for compliance is not affected by the historic nature or otherwise of the building.  As such, no exemptions from the requirements for these assessments exist for buildings in England that are listed or in formally designated conservation areas due to this status.

Listed Buildings and those in formally designated conservation areas within England are currently treated as any other building would be treated and require Display Energy Certificates (DECs) if they meet the other qualifying criteria.

Scotland

Scottish Display Energy Certificates are designed to show the public how efficiently energy is being used within a non-domestic building.  They are part of the Section 63 framework enabling building owners to avoid making energy efficiency improvements required by an Action plan.  They can also be used as part of the Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS).

The need for compliance is not affected by the historic nature or otherwise of the building.  As such, no exemptions from the requirements for these assessments exist for buildings in Scotland that are listed or in formally designated conservation areas due to this status.

Listed Buildings and those in formally designated conservation areas within Scotland are currently treated as any other building would be treated and require Display Energy Certificates (DECs) if they meet the other qualifying criteria.

Wales

Display Energy Certificates are designed to ensure that energy is being used efficiently in public buildings.  They consider how energy use is managed and  the measures that are in place to reduce consumption.  The need for compliance is not affected by the historic nature or otherwise of the building.  As such, no exemptions from the requirements for these assessments exist for buildings in Wales that are listed or in formally designated conservation areas due to this status.

Listed Buildings and those in formally designated conservation areas within Wales are currently treated as any other building would be treated and require Display Energy Certificates (DECs) if they meet the other qualifying criteria.

Northern Ireland

Display Energy Certificates are designed to ensure that energy is being used efficiently in public buildings.  They consider how energy use is managed and  the measures that are in place to reduce consumption.  The need for compliance is not affected by the historic nature or otherwise of the building.  As such, no exemptions from the requirements for these assessments exist for buildings in Northern Ireland that are listed or in formally designated conservation areas due to this status.

Listed Buildings and those in formally designated conservation areas within Northern Ireland are currently treated as any other building would be treated and require Display Energy Certificates (DECs) if they meet the other qualifying criteria.

Organisations are often surprised when they discover that they are subject to the requirement to obtain a Display Energy Certificate (DEC).  In fact, in the context of modern public service delivery, the term “Public Authority” is actually very misleading.  Many organisations that would not normally be considered councils or authorities actually require DECs.

If, as an organisation, you are unsure as to whether or not you are a Public Authority for the purposes of these regulations you should seek you own legal advice.  When considering if your not-for-profit or charity is subject to these regulations the key would normally be in deciding if you are a body “governed by public law”.  We have development the questionnaire below to help you decide.

Public Authority Self-Determination Questionnaire

Question 1:

Are you listed in Schedule 1 of The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (click to view) or Schedule 1 of The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (click to view), a regional authority or a local authority (county, borough, district, town, parish councils etc.)?

If your organisation is one of these then you are a “Public Authority” and will require DECs on the premises you occupy if the floor area and public visitation requirements are also met. If you are not listed you should continue to Question 2 to see if you are subject to the regulations through the additional criteria.

Question 2:

Do you have a legal personality for the purposes of the regulations? In effect, are you a legal body other than an individual?

Typical examples could include a Limited Liability Company (including charitable companies), Public Limited Company (PLC), Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), Community Interest Company (CIC), Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), Co-operative Society (Co-op), Community Benefit Society (BenCom) and Financial Mutual. If your organisation is any of these you may be a “Public Authority” and should continue to Question 3. If not, you probably have no legal personality in this sense and so are not subject to mandatory Display Energy Certificates.

Question 3:

Is your organisation established for the specific purpose of meeting needs in the general interest, not having an industrial or commercial character?

A traditional business exists to make wealth (money) for distribution to its owners, investors and shareholders. In other words, it has industrial or commercial character and would not be considered a “Public Authority” hence you are not subject to mandatory Display Energy Certificates. In contrast, public bodies in this sense exist to meet the general needs of society or of communities. They often provide services like health, social care, education, child care and recreation etc on a not-for-profit basis. They typically use any profits they make from business activities to reinvest in the provision of these services. They may also have a legal “asset lock” preventing the distribution of any profits or assets to members or shareholders. If you are a public body then you may be a “Public Authority” and should continue to Question 4.

Question 4:

Does the majority of your finance come from the State, regional or local authorities or other bodies governed by public law?

If the majority of your organisation’s funding comes from the government, regional authorities, local councils or other public bodies (likely to include grants from charities etc) then you are a “Public Authority” and will require Display Energy Certificates for the premises you occupy if the floor area and public visitation requirements are also met. If not, continue to Question 5.

Question 5:

Are you subject to management supervision from the State (including central government departments), regional or local authorities or other bodies governed by public law?

A simple way of determining this is to consider if you are free to run your organisation as you wish or whether you have to account for decisions that are made or actions taken to another organisation. For example, most organisations receiving public money have to report upon the activities funded directly or indirectly back to the funding organisation, i.e. they are subject to supervision to ensure the money is spent as intended. Registered Charities are subject to the supervision of the Charity Commission which is part of the State. Similarly NHS practices are subject to supervision from the Department of Health through NHS Trusts and schools, colleges and academies are subject to supervision by the Department of Education through OfSTED. If you are subject to management supervision then you are a “Public Authority” and will require Display Energy Certificates on the premises you occupy if the floor area and public visitation requirements are also met. If not, continue to Question 6.

Please Note: Educational establishments should remember that students are considered to be members of the public under these regulations.

Question 6:

Do you have an administrative, managerial or supervisory board with more than half its members appointed by the State (including central government departments), regional or local authorities or other bodies governed by public law?

If your organisation does then it is a “Public Authority” and will require Display Energy Certificates on the premises it occupies if the floor area and public visitation requirements are also met. If not, you are probably not a “Public Authority” and so will not require mandatory DECs on the premises you occupy. However, “Public Authorities” are exempted from ESOS and so you will be subject to the requirements of the Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme (ESOS) if you meet the other qualifying criteria.

The cost of a Display Energy Certificate can be very variable depending upon the information provided and the form that information is supplied in.  As you would expect, the easier it is for the accredited assessor to complete the assessment, the lower the cost will be.  Here are some tips to help keep the cost down but please contact us for more information and advice if required.

Provide timely and accurate information.

Prior to conducting a site visit the assessor will require certain information about the building.  They will also require energy consumption data.  By ensuring the information you provide is accurate and that all the requested information is provided promptly you can ensure the process runs smoothly without delays.  This will reduce both your direct and indirect costs.

Provide accurate floor plans with a confirmed GIA.

Measuring a building from scratch to calculate the Gross Internal Area (GIA) and producing floor plans is the worst case scenario for a DEC assessor.  Having to do this will quickly increase the cost of providing you with a Display Energy Certificate.  Providing the assessor with an acceptable method of confirming the floor area and layout of the building(s) can save days of work larger projects like colleges, hospitals, universities and the like.  Accurate scaled floor plans produced by an architect or surveyor annotated with the Gross Internal Area (GIA) are ideal.  In other cases fire plans for the building together with the GIA from a formal asset register are acceptable.

Provide complete, accurate and consolidated energy data.

Accurate and comprehensive energy data is also very important. Many organisations already report annual energy consumption over specific periods. If you have already collated this information for a particular period please discuss how this can be utilised to reduce the duplication of data collection with your assessor.  Your assessor can also advise on easy methods of accurately collecting the required information for future assessments.  The ideal is a clear list of monthly meter readings and stocktake levels for any non-metered fuels.  The worst case are piles of energy bills and fuels purchase receipts that the assessor will have to sort through.

Contract with a single assessor for 7 years.

Anywhere other than Scotland, Display Energy Certificates (DECs) work on either a seven or ten year cycle depending upon the size of the building.  Small buildings are issued with a certificate and recommendation report both of which are valid for ten years.  These are easy to renew when required and a site visit will have to be carried out every time.  However, large buildings have certificates that are only valid for one year while their recommendation reports are valid for seven years.  Providing there are no changes to either the assessor conducting the assessment or significant changes to the building renewal certificate can be issued without revisiting the site.  In effect, this means that you only need to pay for the most expensive part (the site visit) once every seven years.

Get expert advice before inviting tenders.

If you are thinking of inviting tenders for providing Display Energy Certificates (DECs) across a portfolio of properties get expert advice first to help develop your tender criteria.  We often see very poorly worded documents, often clearly written by someone who doesn’t understand the process or requirements for the service they are requesting.  Getting the details right from the start can prevent issues further down the line whilst ensuring you get the best prices available on the market.

England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland
England

For buildings in England, the validity of a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) and Recommendations Report (RR) depend upon the floor area of the building.

For buildings with a Gross Internal Area (GIA) greater than 1000m2, the certificate is currently valid for one year and the Recommendation Report (formerly an Advisory Report) for up to seven years.

For buildings with a Gross Internal Area (GIA) less than 1000m2, both the certificate and accompanying Recommendations Report are currently valid for up to ten years.

However, significant changes to the occupation of the building or its floor area may require a new Display Energy Certificate or Recommendations Report.  Both are also entirely dependent upon the occupier of the building so a change in occupier will require a new assessment to be completed.

Scotland

In Scotland Display Energy Certificates (DECs) are required annually for buildings deferring their Section 63 Action Plans.  The reporting requirements fro public buildings are met through the Non-Domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) system instead.  As a result, all Display Energy Certificates (DECs) are valid for one year.

There is currently no legal requirement to have Recommendations Report in Scotland and so a validity period is not relevant in this context.

Wales

For buildings in Wales, the validity of a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) and Recommendations Report (RR) depend upon the floor area of the building.

For buildings with a Gross Internal Area (GIA) greater than 1000m2, the certificate is currently valid for one year and the Recommendation Report (formerly an Advisory Report) for up to seven years.

For buildings with a Gross Internal Area (GIA) less than 1000m2, both the certificate and accompanying Recommendations Report are currently valid for up to ten years.

However, significant changes to the occupation of the building or its floor area may require a new Display Energy Certificate or Recommendations Report.  Both are also entirely dependent upon the occupier of the building so a change in occupier will require a new assessment to be completed.

Northern Ireland

For buildings in Northern Ireland, the validity of a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) and Recommendations Report (RR) depend upon the floor area of the building.

For buildings with a Gross Internal Area (GIA) greater than 1000m2, the certificate is currently valid for one year and the Recommendation Report (formerly an Advisory Report) for up to seven years.

For buildings with a Gross Internal Area (GIA) less than 1000m2, both the certificate and accompanying Recommendations Report are currently valid for up to ten years.

However, significant changes to the occupation of the building or its floor area may require a new Display Energy Certificate or Recommendations Report.  Both are also entirely dependent upon the occupier of the building so a change in occupier will require a new assessment to be completed.

For the purposes of Display Energy Certificates (DECs), a building is a construction with a roof, walls and it uses energy to condition the indoor climate.  The indoor climate is conditioned where the building has, or would be expected to have, any of the following fixed services:

  • Heating;
  • Cooling; and/or
  • Mechanical ventilation (this means the supply of fresh air and extraction of stale air – not just an extraction fan).


It is not uncommon for a site to have multiple buildings or a large building built in multiple phases.  If two or more structures on the same site are linked by a fully enclosed structure consisting of a roof and walls, even if the link is not itself conditioned, then the combined structure can be considered a single building for Display Energy Certificate assessment purposes.  This is on the proviso that the structures have not been designed or altered to be used separately (usually by separate occupiers). This approach is particularly sensible when the different parts are serviced by the same common systems and where sufficient sub-metering is not in place to separate energy consumption.  However, each part may still be treated separately which can be useful in identifying energy efficiency improvements and monitoring energy usage in buildings with significantly different constructions.

Our assessors are often asked questions around this theme.  Questions like:

  • Do I need a Display Energy Certificate if the public only visit part of the building e.g. Reception?
  • Only students and staff use the building, do I still need a DEC?
  • How often do members of the public need to visit before I need to obtain and display a DEC?

The key here is the frequency, not the number of visitors.  A small number of people visiting the building weekly would meet this definition.  However, a large number visiting once a year (e.g. for an open day) would not.

However, it is important to note that visitors only have to visit part of the building.  They do not need to have access to all of it to be considered a visitor.  Someone visiting a reception area, however small, would be considered to be visiting the building.

Employees, residents of the building, suppliers, contractors or specially invited people (e.g. job applicants invited for interview) are not considered to be members of the public.  However, students at an educational institution are considered to be members of the public.  Equally, residents in a complex visiting other buildings on the same site would normally be considered to be members of the public, particularly if they are not actually resident in the building being visited.  In a healthcare setting, patients are considered to be members of the public.

So, in summary, if any part of a building is visited frequently by any number of members of the public then the whole building will require a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) if the other qualifying criteria are met.

In order to produce a certificate your assessor will require the following information for each building:

  • The name and address of the building including the postcode;
  • Some details about how your building is used and maintained;
  • The Total Useable Floor Area (TUFA) or Gross Internal Area (GIA) of the building;
  • Metered energy consumption (gas & electricity) for a 12 month period*;
  • Measurement of any other energy consumption e.g. oil & solid fuel;
  • The published opening hours of the building;
  • Details relating to on-site renewables and low or zero carbon technologies;
  • Details of any surplus energy exported to the grid.

To produce their first certificate for any building or to update the Recommendations Report (formerly Advisory Report) that accompanies the certificate, the assessor will also visit the building. During this visit the assessor will need to visit plant rooms, meters, air conditioning systems and occupied areas to gather evidence for their report. They will also take photographs of your building and the systems installed within it. These photos are only to show features of the building fabric, its layout and how energy is being used so the assessor will avoid including people or sensitive information wherever possible.

All information obtained will be securely stored and only used for the purpose of producing your Display Energy Certificate and Advisory Report. If you have any concerns please discuss these with the assessor who can also let you review photographs taken if required so that you can be reassured these are appropriate. It may also help to arrange for the assessor to visit the building outside normal opening hours when less people will be about.

* This information may come from your own meter readings or energy bills. The information supplied does not have to cover exactly 365 days but information for all fuels needs to cover more or less the same period. Further details can be obtained from the assessor if required.

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England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland
England

There is currently no requirement to display a Domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) within a dwelling in England.  However, doing so may be beneficial, particularly in rental properties where it could be affixed to the building in a boiler or meter cupboard.

In the case of marketing a newly constructed dwelling, care should be taken to ensure that all EPC requirements are met.  Displaying the Energy Performance Certificate in the home communicates the information required to prospective buyers.

Scotland

It is a requirement under law in Scotland that the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be ‘affixed’ to the building. Building standards guidance suggests that the EPC be located in the boiler or meter cupboard. A copy should be retained with other legal papers relating to your property.

Wales

There is currently no requirement to display a Domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) within a dwelling in England.  However, doing so may be beneficial, particularly in rental properties where it could be affixed to the building in a boiler or meter cupboard.

In the case of marketing a newly constructed dwelling, care should be taken to ensure that all EPC requirements are met.  Displaying the Energy Performance Certificate in the home communicates the information required to prospective buyers.

Northern Ireland

There is currently no requirement to display a Domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) within a dwelling in England.  However, doing so may be beneficial, particularly in rental properties where it could be affixed to the building in a boiler or meter cupboard.

In the case of marketing a newly constructed dwelling, care should be taken to ensure that all EPC requirements are met.  Displaying the Energy Performance Certificate in the home communicates the information required to prospective buyers.

England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland
England

For a long time the situation for buildings in England was about as clear as mud.  The wording in the current regulations is taken directly from the European Directive and says “buildings officially protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit, in so far as compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance.”

It is now widely accepted that when these regulations were enacted on 9th January 2013 listed buildings were mistakenly thought to be exempt from the requirement for an EPC for sale or let.  However, even at that time it was acknowledged that they would still require an EPC in other circumstances (e.g. Green Deal).  This belief was re-enforced by guidance published by Historic England which includes the statement “An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a legal requirement when building, selling or renting a property. However, there are exemptions for certain types of building and since January 2013 listed buildings have been exempted from the need to have an EPC.”  However, Historic England’s Terms and Conditions include the disclaimer that the position stated was just their interpretation of the law.  They also accept no liability for its accuracy.  In the absence of enforcement action or legal precedents being set, much discussion continued both in and out of the legal community resulting in differing interpretations and guidance.

Moving forward to February 2017 and the latest guidance to come from The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.  This update was contained within the guidance for landlords and enforcement authorities on the minimum level of energy efficiency required to let non-domestic property under the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.  The advice, published in Chapter 1 on page 19 is shown below:

“There is a common misunderstanding relating to listed buildings and whether they are exempt from the requirement to obtain an EPC. Listed properties, and buildings within a conservation area, will not necessarily be exempt from the requirement to have a valid EPC and it will be up to the owner of a listed building to understand whether or not their property is required to have an EPC. Where a listed privately rented non-domestic property, or a property within a conservation area, is required to have an EPC, that property will be within scope of the minimum energy efficiency standards.

“As noted at 1.3.3 above, an EPC is not currently required for a listed property or building within a conservation area when it is sold or rented in so far as compliance with minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter its character or appearance. Examples of energy performance measures which may alter character or appearance (or as a minimum are likely to require local authority planning permission to install on a listed building) include external solid wall insulation, replacement glazing, solar panels, or an external wall mounted air source heat pump. Where character or appearance would not be altered by compliance with energy performance requirements, an EPC may be legally required.

“If an owner or occupier of a listed building is unsure about whether their particular property is or is not required to have an EPC, appropriate advice should be sought at the earliest opportunity.”

Exactly the same information is contained within the equivalent publication for domestic properties which was published in October 2017.  Changes in other guidance documents issued by MHCLG (formerly DCLG) and BEIS have also been made to reflect this.  Whilst they tend to reduce the previously special status given to listed buildings to a par with other designations including Conservation Areas, National Parks, Scheduled Monuments and protected parks and gardens, they do little to clarify exactly how far an exemption applies.

This guidance suggested that the UK Government believed the exemption for listed buildings is much more restricted than had previously become accepted.  Indeed, it appeared to be more compatible with the interpretation that the Scottish Government had held for some time.  It became accepted that the exemption is solely from making certain improvements (those that would unacceptably alter the protected building’s character or appearance) and not from actually getting an Energy Performance Certificate.  Similarly, it would appear to reflect an expectation that reasonable improvements, particularly where these would improve the energy efficiency of a building whose performance is currently very poor, should be carried out.

At the current time, have an Energy Performance Certificate does not require any works to actually be carried out. The recommendations are just that, recommendations. Therefore, it would be hard to claim that having an EPC could ever unacceptably alter the character or appearance of the building.  As such, it is now normally argued that no building can claim exemption from having an EPC on these grounds alone. Additionally, the current requirements under The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (commonly known as MEES or the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard) include provision for exemptions from making specific improvements where required third party consent cannot be obtained. Hence, if Listed Building Consent cannot be obtained from the relevant authority no unacceptable alteration to the character or appearance of the building is required.   As such, it remains entirely consistent with the intention of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) that consideration should be given to making energy efficiency improvements but they should only be carried out where they wouldn’t unacceptably damage the character or structure of the building.  Therefore, there is no need to have an exemption from having an Energy Performance Certificate.

Many councils provide guidance on improving historic buildings with Westminster City Council providing some of the most extensive and practicable advice we have found. This includes a document titled “Energy Efficiency in Conservation Areas” which discusses improvements that can be made without damaging historic structures.

It may have taken some time but Historic England have also now updated their guidance to emphasise the limited nature of the exemption for both Listed Buildings and those in designated Conservation Areas. (NB: We cannot accept responsibility for the actual content of third party websites and it would appear that even this revised guidance contains some technical errors relating to EPCs).  They also provide a wealth of information for those wishing to improve historic buildings without damaging their character and appearance.  Indeed, they acknowledge that ensuring a building remains useful and occupied is often the best way of protecting it for the future.  Additionally, some energy efficiency improvement measures can also improve fire safety and resilience in historic buildings.  It should be remembered that it was never the intent of the protection schemes to freeze buildings in time but instead to ensure that they are managed with appropriate sympathy and conserved for the future.

The background to this issue is also explored in an article by The Residential Landlords Association.  They make the following observation in relation to the exemption of Listed Buildings from EPCs:

“So in reality, in terms of an EPC, the caveat is meaningless. Therefore, a landlord cannot know if an EPC is needed before they have an EPC for the property”

This article continues to draw the following overall conclusion:

“Regrettably, we simply do not know the answer to whether or not an EPC is required for a listed building; nor whether landlords who have rented out listed buildings will have to comply with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (subject to any other available exemption, e.g. limiting the amount they have to spend); or whether you need an EPC for a listed building in order to be able to rely on regaining possession under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. What is clear is that if you have no EPC then you do not have to comply with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards from 2018 onwards. You could be liable for a penalty for not having an EPC and equally you might not be able to get possession back relying on Section 21. This is a wholly unsatisfactory state of affairs which needs to be addressed by the Government.”

In Spring 2018 at an industry conference, representatives of both MHCLG and BEIS confirmed that they believed Listed Buildings should have EPCs completed and that recommendations should be implemented wherever possible but with appropriate sympathy to the building as a whole.  At the time they were unaware of the conflicting guidance from Historic England.

Some Listed Buildings in England may be exempt from some of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) requirements.  However, specific legal advice should be sought on a case by case basis.  It is unlikely that an exemption can be demonstrated from the need to have an Energy Performance Certificate.

Buildings within formally designated conservation areas are less likely to be subject to exemptions as consent is more likely to be granted.

Scotland

Energy Performance Certificates are designed to identify improvements that could be made to buildings to reduce their energy consumption.  Just because a recommendation is made does not mean that it has to be carried out.  In fact, it is always advised that further consideration should be undertaken first.  Therefore, the need for compliance is not affected by the historic nature or otherwise of the building.  As such, no exemptions from the requirements for these assessments exist for buildings in Scotland that are listed or in formally designated conservation areas due to this status.

Listed Buildings and those in formally designated conservation areas within Scotland are currently treated as any other building would be treated.  Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are required where buildings meet the other qualifying criteria.

Wales

For a long time the situation for buildings in Wales was about as clear as mud as the same regulations applied to both England and Wales.  The wording in the regulations was taken directly from the European Directive and says “buildings officially protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit, in so far as compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance.”

It is now widely accepted that when these regulations were enacted on 9th January 2013 listed buildings were mistakenly thought to be exempt from the requirement for an EPC for sale or let.  However, even at that time it was acknowledged that they would still require an EPC in other circumstances (e.g. Green Deal).  This belief was re-enforced by guidance published by Historic England which includes the statement “An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a legal requirement when building, selling or renting a property. However, there are exemptions for certain types of building and since January 2013 listed buildings have been exempted from the need to have an EPC.”  However, Historic England’s Terms and Conditions include the disclaimer that the position stated was just their interpretation of the law.  They also accept no liability for its accuracy.  In the absence of enforcement action or legal precedents being set, much discussion continued both in and out of the legal community resulting in differing interpretations and guidance.

Moving forward to February 2017 and the latest guidance to come from The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.  This update was contained within the guidance for landlords and enforcement authorities on the minimum level of energy efficiency required to let non-domestic property under the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.  The advice, published in Chapter 1 on page 19 is shown below:

“There is a common misunderstanding relating to listed buildings and whether they are exempt from the requirement to obtain an EPC. Listed properties, and buildings within a conservation area, will not necessarily be exempt from the requirement to have a valid EPC and it will be up to the owner of a listed building to understand whether or not their property is required to have an EPC. Where a listed privately rented non-domestic property, or a property within a conservation area, is required to have an EPC, that property will be within scope of the minimum energy efficiency standards.

“As noted at 1.3.3 above, an EPC is not currently required for a listed property or building within a conservation area when it is sold or rented in so far as compliance with minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter its character or appearance. Examples of energy performance measures which may alter character or appearance (or as a minimum are likely to require local authority planning permission to install on a listed building) include external solid wall insulation, replacement glazing, solar panels, or an external wall mounted air source heat pump. Where character or appearance would not be altered by compliance with energy performance requirements, an EPC may be legally required.

“If an owner or occupier of a listed building is unsure about whether their particular property is or is not required to have an EPC, appropriate advice should be sought at the earliest opportunity.”

Exactly the same information is contained within the equivalent publication for domestic properties which was published in October 2017.  Changes in other guidance documents issued by MHCLG (formerly DCLG) and BEIS have also been made to reflect this.  Whilst they tend to reduce the previously special status given to listed buildings to a par with other designations including Conservation Areas, National Parks, Scheduled Monuments and protected parks and gardens, they do little to clarify exactly how far an exemption applies.

This guidance suggested that the UK Government believed the exemption for listed buildings is much more restricted than had previously become accepted.  Indeed, it appeared to be more compatible with the interpretation that the Scottish Government had held for some time.  It became accepted that the exemption is solely from making certain improvements (those that would unacceptably alter the protected building’s character or appearance) and not from actually getting an Energy Performance Certificate.  Similarly, it would appear to reflect an expectation that reasonable improvements, particularly where these would improve the energy efficiency of a building whose performance is currently very poor, should be carried out.

At the current time, have an Energy Performance Certificate does not require any works to actually be carried out. The recommendations are just that, recommendations. Therefore, it would be hard to claim that having an EPC could ever unacceptably alter the character or appearance of the building.  As such, it is now normally argued that no building can claim exemption from having an EPC on these grounds alone. Additionally, the current requirements under The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (commonly known as MEES or the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard) include provision for exemptions from making specific improvements where required third party consent cannot be obtained. Hence, if Listed Building Consent cannot be obtained from the relevant authority no unacceptable alteration to the character or appearance of the building is required.   As such, it remains entirely consistent with the intention of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) that consideration should be given to making energy efficiency improvements but they should only be carried out where they wouldn’t unacceptably damage the character or structure of the building.  Therefore, there is no need to have an exemption from having an Energy Performance Certificate.

Many councils provide guidance on improving historic buildings with Westminster City Council providing some of the most extensive and practicable advice we have found. This includes a document titled “Energy Efficiency in Conservation Areas” which discusses improvements that can be made without damaging historic structures.

It may have taken some time but Historic England have also now updated their guidance to emphasise the limited nature of the exemption for both Listed Buildings and those in designated Conservation Areas. (NB: We cannot accept responsibility for the actual content of third party websites and it would appear that even this revised guidance contains some technical errors relating to EPCs).  They also provide a wealth of information for those wishing to improve historic buildings without damaging their character and appearance.  Indeed, they acknowledge that ensuring a building remains useful and occupied is often the best way of protecting it for the future.  Additionally, some energy efficiency improvement measures can also improve fire safety and resilience in historic buildings.  It should be remembered that it was never the intent of the protection schemes to freeze buildings in time but instead to ensure that they are managed with appropriate sympathy and conserved for the future.

The background to this issue is also explored in an article by The Residential Landlords Association.  They make the following observation in relation to the exemption of Listed Buildings from EPCs:

“So in reality, in terms of an EPC, the caveat is meaningless. Therefore, a landlord cannot know if an EPC is needed before they have an EPC for the property”

This article continues to draw the following overall conclusion:

“Regrettably, we simply do not know the answer to whether or not an EPC is required for a listed building; nor whether landlords who have rented out listed buildings will have to comply with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (subject to any other available exemption, e.g. limiting the amount they have to spend); or whether you need an EPC for a listed building in order to be able to rely on regaining possession under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. What is clear is that if you have no EPC then you do not have to comply with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards from 2018 onwards. You could be liable for a penalty for not having an EPC and equally you might not be able to get possession back relying on Section 21. This is a wholly unsatisfactory state of affairs which needs to be addressed by the Government.”

In Spring 2018 at an industry conference, representatives of both MHCLG and BEIS confirmed that they believed Listed Buildings should have EPCs completed and that recommendations should be implemented wherever possible but with appropriate sympathy to the building as a whole.  At the time they were unaware of the conflicting guidance from Historic England.

The situation in Wales is now further complicated as many responsibilities relating to this area have now been devolved to the Welsh Government.  Additionally, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 places new obligations on landlords including a new licencing scheme run by Rent Smart Wales.  Most landlords seem to have concluded that it is much easier to obtain EPCs for Listed Buildings than not. 

Some Listed Buildings in Wales may be exempt from some of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) requirements.  However, specific legal advice should be sought on a case by case basis.  It is unlikely that an exemption can be demonstrated from the need to have an Energy Performance Certificate.

Buildings within formally designated conservation areas are less likely to be subject to exemptions as consent is more likely to be granted.

Northern Ireland

Energy Performance Certificates are designed to identify improvements that could be made to buildings to reduce their energy consumption.  Just because a recommendation is made does not mean that it has to be carried out.  In fact, it is always advised that further consideration should be undertaken first.  Therefore, the need for compliance is not affected by the historic nature or otherwise of the building.  As such, no exemptions from the requirements for these assessments exist for buildings in Northern Ireland that are listed or in formally designated conservation areas due to this status.

Listed Buildings and those in formally designated conservation areas within Northern Ireland are currently treated as any other building would be treated.  Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are required where buildings meet the other qualifying criteria.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are currently valid for up to ten years throughout the UK.  However, some schemes reduce this period significantly so more frequent assessments are required.

It can also be an advantage to the building’s owner to have a more recent assessment.  This is particularly true where energy efficiency improvements have been carried out that are not reflected in the current certificate.  Where buildings are tenanted, it can also make life easier for a landlord if assessments are renewed at strategic points within the tenancy cycle.

To produce an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for a domestic property (dwelling), an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) will need to visit your home.  During the visit the assessor will collect the evidence that they need to produce the EPC.

The assessor will be looking to see how energy efficient your property is.  They will look at:

  • The construction of the building including walls, roof, windows and any extensions;
  • The size and layout of your home;
  • Evidence of retrofit improvements (alterations that have been made after the house was built);
  • The types of lighting;
  • The heating system including radiators, controls like programmers, TRVs and room thermostats;
  • The hot water system including how the water is heated, stored and used;
  • Any thermal insulation measures present;
  • Any renewable energy systems installed.

The assessor is only interested in things that are part of the building.  They cannot consider items that do not form part of the building e.g. portable heaters.

The survey is a visual inspection.  The assessor will not consider whether or not the things they find are safe, serviceable, effective or functional.  It is assumed that all the systems found are installed correctly.

Energy Performance Certificates are asset ratings.  The modelling process makes assumptions about how each property is used.  These are standardised and may not reflect the actual use or energy consumption of the property.

During the visit, the assessor will need access to all of the property (including any lofts or cellars).  They will take certain measurements to work out the Gross Internal Area (GIA).  They will also need to take some photographs to record the evidence they find.   All EPCs are subject to a government mandated quality assurance process (auditing) where this evidence is checked by accreditation schemes.

Exemptions

England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland
England

Currently, exemptions are in place for dwellings in England that are:

  • temporary buildings that will be used for less than 2 years
  • stand-alone buildings with total useful floor space of less than 50m²
  • some buildings that are due to be demolished where the planning process for this has already been completed
  • properties being let that are holiday accommodation and rented out for less than 4 months a year
  • properties being let (not sold) under a licence to occupy instead of a tenancy
  • some Listed Buildings in specific circumstances – you should get advice from your local authority conservation officer if the work would alter the building’s character.  More information is available here.
  • residential buildings intended to be used less than 4 months a year

Scotland

Exemptions are currently in place for dwellings in Scotland that are:

  • temporary buildings with a planned time of use of two years or less.

Wales

Currently, exemptions are in place for dwellings in Wales that are:

  • temporary buildings that will be used for less than 2 years
  • stand-alone buildings with total useful floor space of less than 50m²
  • some buildings that are due to be demolished where the planning process for this has already been completed
  • properties being let that are holiday accommodation and rented out for less than 4 months a year
  • properties being let (not sold) under a licence to occupy instead of a tenancy
  • some Listed Buildings in specific circumstances – you should get advice from your local authority conservation officer if the work would alter the building’s character.  More information is available here.
  • residential buildings intended to be used less than 4 months a year

Northern Ireland

Exemptions are currently in place for dwellings in Northern Ireland that are:

  • temporary buildings with a planned time of use of two years or less

 

England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland
England

All Domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for homes and dwellings in England must be lodged on the national register held by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

www.epcregister.com

Scotland

All Domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for homes in Scotland have to be lodged on a national register held by the Energy Saving Trust.

www.scottishepcregister.org.uk

Wales

All Domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for buildings in Wales are currently lodged on the same national register as those for England.  This is currently held by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

www.epcregister.com

Northern Ireland

All Domestic Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for dwellings in Northern Ireland have to be lodged on the national register held by the Department of Finance and Personnel.

www.epbniregister.com

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England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland
England

For a long time the situation for buildings in England was about as clear as mud.  The wording in the current regulations is taken directly from the European Directive and says “buildings officially protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit, in so far as compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance.”

It is now widely accepted that when these regulations were enacted on 9th January 2013 listed buildings were mistakenly thought to be exempt from the requirement for an EPC for sale or let.  However, even at that time it was acknowledged that they would still require an EPC in other circumstances (e.g. Green Deal).  This belief was re-enforced by guidance published by Historic England which includes the statement “An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a legal requirement when building, selling or renting a property. However, there are exemptions for certain types of building and since January 2013 listed buildings have been exempted from the need to have an EPC.”  However, Historic England’s Terms and Conditions include the disclaimer that the position stated was just their interpretation of the law.  They also accept no liability for its accuracy.  In the absence of enforcement action or legal precedents being set, much discussion continued both in and out of the legal community resulting in differing interpretations and guidance.

Moving forward to February 2017 and the latest guidance to come from The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.  This update was contained within the guidance for landlords and enforcement authorities on the minimum level of energy efficiency required to let non-domestic property under the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.  The advice, published in Chapter 1 on page 19 is shown below:

“There is a common misunderstanding relating to listed buildings and whether they are exempt from the requirement to obtain an EPC. Listed properties, and buildings within a conservation area, will not necessarily be exempt from the requirement to have a valid EPC and it will be up to the owner of a listed building to understand whether or not their property is required to have an EPC. Where a listed privately rented non-domestic property, or a property within a conservation area, is required to have an EPC, that property will be within scope of the minimum energy efficiency standards.

“As noted at 1.3.3 above, an EPC is not currently required for a listed property or building within a conservation area when it is sold or rented in so far as compliance with minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter its character or appearance. Examples of energy performance measures which may alter character or appearance (or as a minimum are likely to require local authority planning permission to install on a listed building) include external solid wall insulation, replacement glazing, solar panels, or an external wall mounted air source heat pump. Where character or appearance would not be altered by compliance with energy performance requirements, an EPC may be legally required.

“If an owner or occupier of a listed building is unsure about whether their particular property is or is not required to have an EPC, appropriate advice should be sought at the earliest opportunity.”

Exactly the same information is contained within the equivalent publication for domestic properties which was published in October 2017.  Changes in other guidance documents issued by MHCLG (formerly DCLG) and BEIS have also been made to reflect this.  Whilst they tend to reduce the previously special status given to listed buildings to a par with other designations including Conservation Areas, National Parks, Scheduled Monuments and protected parks and gardens, they do little to clarify exactly how far an exemption applies.

This guidance suggested that the UK Government believed the exemption for listed buildings is much more restricted than had previously become accepted.  Indeed, it appeared to be more compatible with the interpretation that the Scottish Government had held for some time.  It became accepted that the exemption is solely from making certain improvements (those that would unacceptably alter the protected building’s character or appearance) and not from actually getting an Energy Performance Certificate.  Similarly, it would appear to reflect an expectation that reasonable improvements, particularly where these would improve the energy efficiency of a building whose performance is currently very poor, should be carried out.

At the current time, have an Energy Performance Certificate does not require any works to actually be carried out. The recommendations are just that, recommendations. Therefore, it would be hard to claim that having an EPC could ever unacceptably alter the character or appearance of the building.  As such, it is now normally argued that no building can claim exemption from having an EPC on these grounds alone. Additionally, the current requirements under The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (commonly known as MEES or the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard) include provision for exemptions from making specific improvements where required third party consent cannot be obtained. Hence, if Listed Building Consent cannot be obtained from the relevant authority no unacceptable alteration to the character or appearance of the building is required.   As such, it remains entirely consistent with the intention of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) that consideration should be given to making energy efficiency improvements but they should only be carried out where they wouldn’t unacceptably damage the character or structure of the building.  Therefore, there is no need to have an exemption from having an Energy Performance Certificate.

Many councils provide guidance on improving historic buildings with Westminster City Council providing some of the most extensive and practicable advice we have found. This includes a document titled “Energy Efficiency in Conservation Areas” which discusses improvements that can be made without damaging historic structures.

It may have taken some time but Historic England have also now updated their guidance to emphasise the limited nature of the exemption for both Listed Buildings and those in designated Conservation Areas. (NB: We cannot accept responsibility for the actual content of third party websites and it would appear that even this revised guidance contains some technical errors relating to EPCs).  They also provide a wealth of information for those wishing to improve historic buildings without damaging their character and appearance.  Indeed, they acknowledge that ensuring a building remains useful and occupied is often the best way of protecting it for the future.  Additionally, some energy efficiency improvement measures can also improve fire safety and resilience in historic buildings.  It should be remembered that it was never the intent of the protection schemes to freeze buildings in time but instead to ensure that they are managed with appropriate sympathy and conserved for the future.

The background to this issue is also explored in an article by The Residential Landlords Association.  They make the following observation in relation to the exemption of Listed Buildings from EPCs:

“So in reality, in terms of an EPC, the caveat is meaningless. Therefore, a landlord cannot know if an EPC is needed before they have an EPC for the property”

This article continues to draw the following overall conclusion:

“Regrettably, we simply do not know the answer to whether or not an EPC is required for a listed building; nor whether landlords who have rented out listed buildings will have to comply with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (subject to any other available exemption, e.g. limiting the amount they have to spend); or whether you need an EPC for a listed building in order to be able to rely on regaining possession under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. What is clear is that if you have no EPC then you do not have to comply with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards from 2018 onwards. You could be liable for a penalty for not having an EPC and equally you might not be able to get possession back relying on Section 21. This is a wholly unsatisfactory state of affairs which needs to be addressed by the Government.”

In Spring 2018 at an industry conference, representatives of both MHCLG and BEIS confirmed that they believed Listed Buildings should have EPCs completed and that recommendations should be implemented wherever possible but with appropriate sympathy to the building as a whole.  At the time they were unaware of the conflicting guidance from Historic England.

Some Listed Buildings in England may be exempt from some of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) requirements.  However, specific legal advice should be sought on a case by case basis.  It is unlikely that an exemption can be demonstrated from the need to have an Energy Performance Certificate.

Buildings within formally designated conservation areas are less likely to be subject to exemptions as consent is more likely to be granted.

Scotland

Energy Performance Certificates are designed to identify improvements that could be made to buildings to reduce their energy consumption.  Just because a recommendation is made does not mean that it has to be carried out.  In fact, it is always advised that further consideration should be undertaken first.  Therefore, the need for compliance is not affected by the historic nature or otherwise of the building.  As such, no exemptions from the requirements for these assessments exist for buildings in Scotland that are listed or in formally designated conservation areas due to this status.

Listed Buildings and those in formally designated conservation areas within Scotland are currently treated as any other building would be treated.  Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are required where buildings meet the other qualifying criteria.

Wales

For a long time the situation for buildings in Wales was about as clear as mud as the same regulations applied to both England and Wales.  The wording in the regulations was taken directly from the European Directive and says “buildings officially protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit, in so far as compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance.”

It is now widely accepted that when these regulations were enacted on 9th January 2013 listed buildings were mistakenly thought to be exempt from the requirement for an EPC for sale or let.  However, even at that time it was acknowledged that they would still require an EPC in other circumstances (e.g. Green Deal).  This belief was re-enforced by guidance published by Historic England which includes the statement “An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is a legal requirement when building, selling or renting a property. However, there are exemptions for certain types of building and since January 2013 listed buildings have been exempted from the need to have an EPC.”  However, Historic England’s Terms and Conditions include the disclaimer that the position stated was just their interpretation of the law.  They also accept no liability for its accuracy.  In the absence of enforcement action or legal precedents being set, much discussion continued both in and out of the legal community resulting in differing interpretations and guidance.

Moving forward to February 2017 and the latest guidance to come from The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.  This update was contained within the guidance for landlords and enforcement authorities on the minimum level of energy efficiency required to let non-domestic property under the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.  The advice, published in Chapter 1 on page 19 is shown below:

“There is a common misunderstanding relating to listed buildings and whether they are exempt from the requirement to obtain an EPC. Listed properties, and buildings within a conservation area, will not necessarily be exempt from the requirement to have a valid EPC and it will be up to the owner of a listed building to understand whether or not their property is required to have an EPC. Where a listed privately rented non-domestic property, or a property within a conservation area, is required to have an EPC, that property will be within scope of the minimum energy efficiency standards.

“As noted at 1.3.3 above, an EPC is not currently required for a listed property or building within a conservation area when it is sold or rented in so far as compliance with minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter its character or appearance. Examples of energy performance measures which may alter character or appearance (or as a minimum are likely to require local authority planning permission to install on a listed building) include external solid wall insulation, replacement glazing, solar panels, or an external wall mounted air source heat pump. Where character or appearance would not be altered by compliance with energy performance requirements, an EPC may be legally required.

“If an owner or occupier of a listed building is unsure about whether their particular property is or is not required to have an EPC, appropriate advice should be sought at the earliest opportunity.”

Exactly the same information is contained within the equivalent publication for domestic properties which was published in October 2017.  Changes in other guidance documents issued by MHCLG (formerly DCLG) and BEIS have also been made to reflect this.  Whilst they tend to reduce the previously special status given to listed buildings to a par with other designations including Conservation Areas, National Parks, Scheduled Monuments and protected parks and gardens, they do little to clarify exactly how far an exemption applies.

This guidance suggested that the UK Government believed the exemption for listed buildings is much more restricted than had previously become accepted.  Indeed, it appeared to be more compatible with the interpretation that the Scottish Government had held for some time.  It became accepted that the exemption is solely from making certain improvements (those that would unacceptably alter the protected building’s character or appearance) and not from actually getting an Energy Performance Certificate.  Similarly, it would appear to reflect an expectation that reasonable improvements, particularly where these would improve the energy efficiency of a building whose performance is currently very poor, should be carried out.

At the current time, have an Energy Performance Certificate does not require any works to actually be carried out. The recommendations are just that, recommendations. Therefore, it would be hard to claim that having an EPC could ever unacceptably alter the character or appearance of the building.  As such, it is now normally argued that no building can claim exemption from having an EPC on these grounds alone. Additionally, the current requirements under The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (commonly known as MEES or the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard) include provision for exemptions from making specific improvements where required third party consent cannot be obtained. Hence, if Listed Building Consent cannot be obtained from the relevant authority no unacceptable alteration to the character or appearance of the building is required.   As such, it remains entirely consistent with the intention of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) that consideration should be given to making energy efficiency improvements but they should only be carried out where they wouldn’t unacceptably damage the character or structure of the building.  Therefore, there is no need to have an exemption from having an Energy Performance Certificate.

Many councils provide guidance on improving historic buildings with Westminster City Council providing some of the most extensive and practicable advice we have found. This includes a document titled “Energy Efficiency in Conservation Areas” which discusses improvements that can be made without damaging historic structures.

It may have taken some time but Historic England have also now updated their guidance to emphasise the limited nature of the exemption for both Listed Buildings and those in designated Conservation Areas. (NB: We cannot accept responsibility for the actual content of third party websites and it would appear that even this revised guidance contains some technical errors relating to EPCs).  They also provide a wealth of information for those wishing to improve historic buildings without damaging their character and appearance.  Indeed, they acknowledge that ensuring a building remains useful and occupied is often the best way of protecting it for the future.  Additionally, some energy efficiency improvement measures can also improve fire safety and resilience in historic buildings.  It should be remembered that it was never the intent of the protection schemes to freeze buildings in time but instead to ensure that they are managed with appropriate sympathy and conserved for the future.

The background to this issue is also explored in an article by The Residential Landlords Association.  They make the following observation in relation to the exemption of Listed Buildings from EPCs:

“So in reality, in terms of an EPC, the caveat is meaningless. Therefore, a landlord cannot know if an EPC is needed before they have an EPC for the property”

This article continues to draw the following overall conclusion:

“Regrettably, we simply do not know the answer to whether or not an EPC is required for a listed building; nor whether landlords who have rented out listed buildings will have to comply with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (subject to any other available exemption, e.g. limiting the amount they have to spend); or whether you need an EPC for a listed building in order to be able to rely on regaining possession under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. What is clear is that if you have no EPC then you do not have to comply with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards from 2018 onwards. You could be liable for a penalty for not having an EPC and equally you might not be able to get possession back relying on Section 21. This is a wholly unsatisfactory state of affairs which needs to be addressed by the Government.”

In Spring 2018 at an industry conference, representatives of both MHCLG and BEIS confirmed that they believed Listed Buildings should have EPCs completed and that recommendations should be implemented wherever possible but with appropriate sympathy to the building as a whole.  At the time they were unaware of the conflicting guidance from Historic England.

The situation in Wales is now further complicated as many responsibilities relating to this area have now been devolved to the Welsh Government.  Additionally, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 places new obligations on landlords including a new licencing scheme run by Rent Smart Wales.  Most landlords seem to have concluded that it is much easier to obtain EPCs for Listed Buildings than not. 

Some Listed Buildings in Wales may be exempt from some of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) requirements.  However, specific legal advice should be sought on a case by case basis.  It is unlikely that an exemption can be demonstrated from the need to have an Energy Performance Certificate.

Buildings within formally designated conservation areas are less likely to be subject to exemptions as consent is more likely to be granted.

Northern Ireland

Energy Performance Certificates are designed to identify improvements that could be made to buildings to reduce their energy consumption.  Just because a recommendation is made does not mean that it has to be carried out.  In fact, it is always advised that further consideration should be undertaken first.  Therefore, the need for compliance is not affected by the historic nature or otherwise of the building.  As such, no exemptions from the requirements for these assessments exist for buildings in Northern Ireland that are listed or in formally designated conservation areas due to this status.

Listed Buildings and those in formally designated conservation areas within Northern Ireland are currently treated as any other building would be treated.  Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are required where buildings meet the other qualifying criteria.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are currently valid for up to ten years throughout the UK.  However, some schemes reduce this period significantly so more frequent assessments are required.

It can also be an advantage to the building’s owner to have a more recent assessment.  This is particularly true where energy efficiency improvements have been carried out that are not reflected in the current certificate.  Where buildings are tenanted, it can also make life easier for a landlord if assessments are renewed at strategic points within the tenancy cycle.

The phrase “Potential Impact” is used in the Recommendations Report for a Non-Domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to identify the impact carrying out each recommendation would have.  However, it is not clearly explained and often leads to confusion.  Often clients are not clear what impact is being identified (cost, carbon emissions, energy use) or how much change they can expect.

Carbon Impact

Non-domestic assessments are all based around helping the UK meet its climate obligations.  As such, they are designed to reduce carbon emissions and encourage the use of cleaner fuels.  It is therefore not surprising that the impact referred to is how much each recommended measure is likely to reduce the carbon emissions of the building.

For each recommendation that is automatically generated by the approved software, the carbon impact is automatically assessed.  An impact less than 0.5% is described as “Low”, 0.5% to 4% is described as “Medium” and greater than 4% as “High”.  For manually amended or added recommendations, the assessor should evaluate the impact using the same scale but has to do this using a modelling process.

Energy and Cost Savings

Reducing carbon emissions is not necessarily the same as reducing energy consumption or costs.  Generally, using less energy will result in lower costs and lower carbon emissions but this is not always the case.

For example, changing the fuels used could reduce carbon emissions whilst increasing costs or visa versa.  Different fuels behave differently so a cheaper fuel may have a larger carbon footprint.  Equally, consideration would need to be given to the technology and maintenance costs associated with using each fuel type.

As with any business decision, the full range of benefits and drawbacks of implementing each recommendation should be considered prior to implementation.

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Domestic On-Construction

England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland
England

There is currently no requirement to display a Domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) within a dwelling in England.  However, doing so may be beneficial, particularly in rental properties where it could be affixed to the building in a boiler or meter cupboard.

In the case of marketing a newly constructed dwelling, care should be taken to ensure that all EPC requirements are met.  Displaying the Energy Performance Certificate in the home communicates the information required to prospective buyers.

Scotland

It is a requirement under law in Scotland that the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be ‘affixed’ to the building. Building standards guidance suggests that the EPC be located in the boiler or meter cupboard. A copy should be retained with other legal papers relating to your property.

Wales

There is currently no requirement to display a Domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) within a dwelling in England.  However, doing so may be beneficial, particularly in rental properties where it could be affixed to the building in a boiler or meter cupboard.

In the case of marketing a newly constructed dwelling, care should be taken to ensure that all EPC requirements are met.  Displaying the Energy Performance Certificate in the home communicates the information required to prospective buyers.

Northern Ireland

There is currently no requirement to display a Domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) within a dwelling in England.  However, doing so may be beneficial, particularly in rental properties where it could be affixed to the building in a boiler or meter cupboard.

In the case of marketing a newly constructed dwelling, care should be taken to ensure that all EPC requirements are met.  Displaying the Energy Performance Certificate in the home communicates the information required to prospective buyers.

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are currently valid for up to ten years throughout the UK.  However, some schemes reduce this period significantly so more frequent assessments are required.

It can also be an advantage to the building’s owner to have a more recent assessment.  This is particularly true where energy efficiency improvements have been carried out that are not reflected in the current certificate.  Where buildings are tenanted, it can also make life easier for a landlord if assessments are renewed at strategic points within the tenancy cycle.

Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) calculations are produced using a computer model.  They do not require the assessor to visit the site of the building.  As a result it is important that accurate and reliable information is submitted to the assessor.

The exact information required will vary from project to project and your assessor will discuss this with you.  However, the following items are typically required:

  • The full postal address of the building.  This must include the correct postcode as confirmed by Royal Mail.
  • A site plan including the orientation of the dwelling(s).
  • Scaled plans of each storey of the building (normally at 1:100).
  • Elevation drawings for each elevation.
  • Sectional drawings of the dwelling.
  • Details of the principal heating and hot water system.  This needs to include the make and model of boiler, details of heating emitters (e.g. radiators), hot water cylinder size (if applicable) and the system controls.
  • Details of any secondary heating system present.
  • Details of any cooling system present.
  • Details of ventilation systems and/or extractor fans.
  • Details of the internal and external lighting.
  • Details of the construction of all the different floors to the property.  This needs to include the type and thicknesses of insulation and any other building products used.
  • Details of the construction of all the different external walls to the property.  This needs to include the type and thicknesses of insulation and other building products used.
  • Details of the construction of all the different roofs to the property.  This needs to include the type and thicknesses of insulation and other building products used.
  • Details of all the doors and windows.  This needs to include the sizes, type of frame, type of glazing, thickness of glazing and any low emissivity applications (coatings) used.  A full window schedule including U-values for each unit (not just the glass) is the best way to achieve this.  Window schedules are usually readily available from window suppliers.
  • Details of any renewable technologies (renewables) installed in the building.  These could include ground source heat pumps, air source heat pumps, solar water heating, photovoltaics (PV), wind turbines and/or hydrokinetic technologies.
  • Details of any heat recovery systems installed.

If you are in the process of designing your building, the assessment will help you decide the minimum standards for each system to ensure that your finished building meets the required energy performance standards.

Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) calculations are used as part of the Building Regulation requirements.  They establish that new dwellings meet the minimum requirements established for energy performance and efficiency.  A SAP calculation produces a Predicted Energy Assessment and ultimately an On-Construction Energy Performance Certificate for a new domestic building.

Approved Document L1A establishes the requirements in England for new dwellings in terms of energy performance.  Similar documents exist for the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Additionally, local authorities can also have their own requirements in addition to these which they maintain through their Planning and Permitted Development systems.

Whilst there are some key differences between all these requirements, the core methodologies remain similar.  The documents establish minimum standards for each element and system to ensure that they are efficient both in terms of energy and carbon emissions.  However, these are minimum standards.  Each administration requires that the home overall exceeds these minimums to meet standards for carbon emissions, energy efficiency and primary energy use.

The Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) provides these values based on:

  • The elements of structure;
  • The internal lighting;
  • The heating;
  • The hot water system;
  • Any renewable technologies installed in the home.

In terms of Energy Performance, a rating based on expected energy costs is used.  This is the same as that seen on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).  The higher the score, the lower the running costs.  On this scale 100 represents zero energy cost.  Dwellings with a rating in excess of 100 are net exporters of energy.

The rating produced by a SAP calculation is largely location independent.  It is also based on a notional occupancy to overcome the different ways in which people use their homes.  As a result, SAP calculations allow the energy running costs of dwellings anywhere in the UK to be compared.

During construction it may be necessary to make some amendments to the design.  Keeping your assessor informed during this process, seeking their advice prior to confirming any changes, will help to ensure that your finished building will comply with the current regulations.

Once construction is complete an air pressure test (sometimes called an air tightness test or air leakage test) may be required.  This test confirms the air tightness of the finished building to ensure it is energy efficient.  You will need to provide a copy of the certificate to your energy assessor.  If an air pressure test is not required by law you may still wish to obtain one.  If the result of a test is not available then the assessor will use a default value in the SAP calculations.  This value is a worst case reflecting a very poor standard.  Having a test conducted voluntarily is likely to improve your final rating and help demonstrate that you have complied with the regulations.

During this stage the assessor will edit the SAP calculation to reflect the results of the air pressure test and any variations to the specification.  The approved software is used to check that the completed dwelling still meets the requirements of the Building Regulations with regards to the conservation of fuel and power.  If for any reason the building does not meet the required standards, the assessor can advise remedial action to get your project back on track.

The assessor will also check to ensure that any new building is registered on the Government’s central database register of national property addresses.

If you have included renewables as part of your project, you assessor will also require final confirmation of these.  They will also need copies of any final installation certificates like the MCS certificate for new solar arrays connected to the electricity grid.

At this point your Building Control Officer will confirm that they are satisfied the specification provided and the final calculations reflect the building accurately.  Your accredited assessor will then create the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).  The EPC provides a rating of energy performance based upon the dwelling as it has been built.  Often this is different from the design calculation as it reflects changes that have been made during the construction process.   Once lodged on the National Register, the final Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must, by law, be displayed in the new dwelling if it is put up for sale on the open market.

In addition there are other documents that are required by Building Control such as the SAP worksheet report and the SAP data input report.  Your assessor will provide all of these documents to you to pass on to your Building Control Officer.  Without these you should not be able to get the building signed off and obtain your Completion Certificate. The exact process here depends upon the location of your building and the Building Control organisation you are using.  Our expert assessors and your Building Control Officer will both assist you as much as they can to ensure this process is completed as smoothly as possible.

The accredited energy assessor uses the plans, drawings and specifications you provide to prepare summary information for the dwelling.  This includes calculating the total floor area of the dwelling; the floor area of the lounge or living room; the areas of the heat loss floors, heat loss walls and heat loss roofs; the dimensions of external windows and doors; and storey heights etc.

If your architect has not already done so, your assessor will then calculate the performance of the thermal elements (walls, roof, floor etc).  These are expressed as U-valuesU-values express the rate at which heat passes through the fabric of the building.  The higher the U-value, the greater the rate of heat loss and therefore the worse the energy performance of the element.

Your assessor will then input all this data into the approved software and produce the SAP calculation.  Data is entered relating to:

  • Type of dwelling;
  • Floors;
  • Walls;
  • Roofs;
  • Openings (windows, doors, roof lights);
  • Ventilation;
  • Main and secondary space heating;
  • Hot water generation;
  • Renewable technologies, including photovoltaic panels and solar water heating;
  • Internal lighting.

The software determines whether the proposed dwelling will comply with the requirements of the Building Regulations with regards to the conservation of fuel and power.

Rarely, the initial draft and specification will pass the assessment by meeting all the requirements.  Normally the assessor will need to work with you and your design team to model different variations of the design until a version is developed that meets all the requirements.  The assessor can advise the designer of the shortfalls and suggest possible solutions as required.

This is why it is so important to involve an accredited energy assessor as early as possible in the design process.  Having to make changes after construction has taken place can be both expensive and time consuming.  All to often we are only approached at the end of construction which causes unnecessary stress and expense.  As more local authorities are enforcing their own requirements, it is becoming more and more common for some of this work to be completed prior to an application for Planning Permission being submitted.

By the end of this stage, your energy assessor can provide you with the reports that you need to submit to Building Control for them to advise you during the construction phase.  This will include a Predicted Energy Assessment which provides a rating of energy performance based upon the specified design.

WARNING:  This is often where things start to go wrong!  Our experienced assessors know that in the real world changes during the construction phase are almost inevitable.  Changes occur due to a wide range of reasons which may include discoveries on site, supply issues, budgeting measures or even special offers from suppliers.  However, you must remember changes from the agreed design are likely to result in changes to the performance of the building.  Please, keep in contact with your assessor during the building works and discuss changes with them before you commit to them.  They can check to make sure your final building will still meet the requirements and won’t require expensive remedial works.

Exemptions

England
Scotland
Wales
Northern Ireland
England

Currently, exemptions are in place for dwellings in England that are:

  • temporary buildings that will be used for less than 2 years
  • stand-alone buildings with total useful floor space of less than 50m²
  • some buildings that are due to be demolished where the planning process for this has already been completed
  • properties being let that are holiday accommodation and rented out for less than 4 months a year
  • properties being let (not sold) under a licence to occupy instead of a tenancy
  • some Listed Buildings in specific circumstances – you should get advice from your local authority conservation officer if the work would alter the building’s character.  More information is available here.
  • residential buildings intended to be used less than 4 months a year

Scotland

Exemptions are currently in place for dwellings in Scotland that are:

  • temporary buildings with a planned time of use of two years or less.

Wales

Currently, exemptions are in place for dwellings in Wales that are:

  • temporary buildings that will be used for less than 2 years
  • stand-alone buildings with total useful floor space of less than 50m²
  • some buildings that are due to be demolished where the planning process for this has already been completed
  • properties being let that are holiday accommodation and rented out for less than 4 months a year
  • properties being let (not sold) under a licence to occupy instead of a tenancy
  • some Listed Buildings in specific circumstances – you should get advice from your local authority conservation officer if the work would alter the building’s character.  More information is available here.
  • residential buildings intended to be used less than 4 months a year

Northern Ireland

Exemptions are currently in place for dwellings in Northern Ireland that are:

  • temporary buildings with a planned time of use of two years or less

 

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Non-Domestic On-Construction

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are currently valid for up to ten years throughout the UK.  However, some schemes reduce this period significantly so more frequent assessments are required.

It can also be an advantage to the building’s owner to have a more recent assessment.  This is particularly true where energy efficiency improvements have been carried out that are not reflected in the current certificate.  Where buildings are tenanted, it can also make life easier for a landlord if assessments are renewed at strategic points within the tenancy cycle.

The phrase “Potential Impact” is used in the Recommendations Report for a Non-Domestic Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) to identify the impact carrying out each recommendation would have.  However, it is not clearly explained and often leads to confusion.  Often clients are not clear what impact is being identified (cost, carbon emissions, energy use) or how much change they can expect.

Carbon Impact

Non-domestic assessments are all based around helping the UK meet its climate obligations.  As such, they are designed to reduce carbon emissions and encourage the use of cleaner fuels.  It is therefore not surprising that the impact referred to is how much each recommended measure is likely to reduce the carbon emissions of the building.

For each recommendation that is automatically generated by the approved software, the carbon impact is automatically assessed.  An impact less than 0.5% is described as “Low”, 0.5% to 4% is described as “Medium” and greater than 4% as “High”.  For manually amended or added recommendations, the assessor should evaluate the impact using the same scale but has to do this using a modelling process.

Energy and Cost Savings

Reducing carbon emissions is not necessarily the same as reducing energy consumption or costs.  Generally, using less energy will result in lower costs and lower carbon emissions but this is not always the case.

For example, changing the fuels used could reduce carbon emissions whilst increasing costs or visa versa.  Different fuels behave differently so a cheaper fuel may have a larger carbon footprint.  Equally, consideration would need to be given to the technology and maintenance costs associated with using each fuel type.

As with any business decision, the full range of benefits and drawbacks of implementing each recommendation should be considered prior to implementation.

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