What does “frequently visited by the public” mean?

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.