EPCs required on all commercial properties

January 6, 2009

The legislation is now fully active, although there does remain much confusion within the property industry, particularly concerning timing, when an EPC is/is not required and how much they cost.
As from 1 January 2009 all commercial properties which are marketed will legally have to have an EPC provided and available with the marketing documentation and particulars.
A number of property owners may waste money obtaining inappropriate commercial EPCs if they do not take professional advice before commissioning an EPC.
Quite often a chartered surveyor can advise on the terms of the lease and also whether an EPC can be tailored to their specific usage and not wasting money on carrying out unnecessary improvements.
The property owner and their representative should speak directly to a Chartered Surveyor Expert before they instruct.  In some cases you may not need an EPC. I have estimated within the last month that approximately 15 per cent of clients did not need a commercial EPC.
The commercial EPC has been preceded by the relatively simple domestic EPC and the market suppliers of commercial EPCs are in danger of trying to commoditise the product and treating it as a domestic EPC.  Suppliers who are effectively panels, similar to the domestic market, are emerging where it is hard to speak to a knowledgeable professional.  Domestic EPCs cost around £70 whereas commercial EPCs cost between £350 and £3,000 and take a minimum of half a day for a simple shop to about 5 days for a large office block.
Within the next two years the Government also intends to bring in Display Energy Certificates (DECs) for commercial properties, presently they are only required on Government buildings over 1,000 square metres.  It is anticipated that DECs will be required on larger commercial properties.
The difference between a DEC and an EPC is that the DEC provides an assessment in the form of a bar chart of the actual energy consumption in relation to the building size, whereas the EPC provides the energy carbon footprint of the building. The cost of a DEC is likely to be substantially less than an EPC and may be available as an add on to the EPC.
The law requires that a commercial EPC must be provided by “the relevant person” at the earliest opportunity and in any event before entering into a Contract to sell or rent a building.  The relevant person is either “the seller” when the building is being sold, or “the prospective landlord” when a building is being rented out.  If an EPC is not provided then the relevant person is liable to a fine which is calculated at 12 per cent of the rateable value and between a minimum of £500 and a maximum of £5,000.  The EPC is valid for 10 years unless the building is substantially altered.
The reason for EPCs is greenhouse gas caused by human activities, predominantly carbon dioxide, is 25 per cent higher than during pre-industrial times.  The effect of this is known as global warming/climate change.  The Government is committed to the Kyoto protocol and this is where EPCs come in.
Should you require any assistance on providing an EPC or a DEC on your property please contact Peter Maksymuk at Hinton Newport on 01793 534121 or Peter@hinton-newport.co.uk

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