Commercial Energy Performance Certificates 23 Sep 2008

What and Why

Home owners will be familiar with the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) required as part of the HIP, and part of the government's plan to reduce carbon emissions and promote energy efficiency.

A similar certificate is to be required for most commercial buildings and will consist of two parts.  The first sets out the building's energy efficiency rating, the various components (heating, ventilation, lighting) ranging from A to G, A being the most efficient and G the least.  The second part is a recommendation report suggesting how the energy efficiency of a building can be improved.  At present there is no legal duty to act on the recommendations but they, and the cost of implementing them, will be of material interest to any buyer.

When

As from 1 October 2008 all commercial buildings will require an EPC when they are constructed, sold or let.  There are few exceptions to this, for example temporary buildings.

It is helpful that some types of transactions are excepted, in particular, lease renewals and surrenders.

The EPC must be provided "at the earliest opportunity" to the interested buyer or tenant, generally at the time of the first marketing or viewing but in any event before exchange of contracts.

By Who

In the case of buildings to be constructed, it is the responsibility of the building contractor to provide the EPC.  In the case of sales or lettings, it is the responsibility of the Seller or Landlord.

Validity and registration

An EPC is valid for 10 years from its date of issue and must be registered (by the Energy Assessor who carried it out) on a national database.

Penalties

If an EPC is not provided, the person who has the duty to provide it is subject to a penalty.  That penalty will generally be 12.5% of the property's rateable value up to a maximum of £5,000.00.  The only defence is that he or she commissioned the EPC at least 14 days before it was required and made all reasonable efforts to obtain it.

Cost and how you can reduce it

For a small building the cost is likely to be not less than £300.00 reflecting the time that it will take for the Energy Assessor to inspect and prepare the EPC.  You can save yourself money by saving the Assessor time.  That is best done by preparing properly, ensuring that the relevant plans and drawings and operation and maintenance manuals are available to the Assessor either at or preferably before the inspection.

Bennetts

We have practised as Solicitors for over 150 years in the Wrington Vale.  We have a specialist property department which will be pleased to advise further on this or any other property matter. 

To contact Francis Montagu, Simon Bull or June England please telephone: 01934 862 786 or e-mail: info@bennettlaw.co.uk

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