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Commercial Energy Performance Certificate

Check which business properties need Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) in the United Kingdom. Find out how to apply for a certificate, non-domestic EPC exemptions, and the penalties.

When a Commercial Property Needs an EPC

Energy Performance Certificate is an energy efficiency rating for buildings. Under the law, you must get an EPC for your business premises if:

  • A building that has been under construction gets completed.
  • You rent out the building or you sell the premises.
  • The number of parts used for separate occupation changes. It would apply if a change provides or extends air conditioning, fixed heating, or mechanical ventilation systems.

UK Energy Performance Certificate grades rate from A (the most energy efficient) to G (the least efficient grade).

Note: Failing to make an EPC available to a prospective buyer or a tenant is an offence punishable by a severe fine. EPC fines range from £500 to £5,000 and determined by the rateable value of the premises.

Displaying EPC Certificate

There are certain situations when you must display an EPC certificate on non-domestic premises. You should fix it in a prominent place visible to the public (e.g. near the entrance) if all these apply to your building:

  • The total useful floor area measures more than five hundred (500) square metres.
  • Members of the public make visits to the building on a regular basis.
  • The authorities already produced a commercial EPC for the rental, sale, or the construction of the building.

Cost of EPC Commercial Certificate

The cost of EPC for commercial property varies. The average price ranges start from £114 (up to 50m2) to £1149 (up to 5000m2). As a rule, it depends on the assessment for each type of building and its useable floor space.

Note: Non-domestic EPCs are valid for ten (10) years or until they produce a newer version.

How to get an Energy Performance Certificate

You must get a non-domestic EPC from a commercial energy assessor. You can search online for an accredited non-domestic energy assessor listed on the national register.

The complexity and any special features of the building will determine what type of assessor you will need. Thus, you may need further advice to get the right assessment. Contact a commercial energy assessor or the approved accreditation scheme that they belong to.

Commercial EPC Exemptions

There are certain situations where an Energy Performance Certificate is not required. To be exempt from EPC you must be able to show that the building is either:

  • A listed property or one that is ‘officially’ protected. You would also need to demonstrate that the minimum energy performance requirements (MEES) would alter it to an unacceptable state.
  • A temporary building which will get used for no more than two (2) years.
  • A place of worship or premises used for other religious activities.
  • An industrial site, a workshop, or a non-residential agricultural building that uses very little energy.
  • A detached building that has a total floor space less than fifty (50) square metres.
  • A building planned for demolition by the seller or by the landlord. In this case, you must have all the relevant consents for planning and for conservation.

Vacant Buildings and Property Demolition

A commercial building would also get a non-domestic EPC exemption if all these apply:

  • It will either get sold or get rented out with vacant possession.
  • The buyer or the tenant has applied for planning permission to demolish the building.
  • It meets all the requirements for demolition and the site could get redeveloped afterwards.

Subdivided Properties

Some buildings get designed or altered for use as separate accommodation. In cases such as these, each part may needs its own commercial EPC.

Note: A single or a multiple EPC will depend on the type of heating system in place or the future plans for the property.

An EPC for the entire building would be mandatory if you later sell it or let the building in its entirety. But, having a separate heating system within the building would require an EPC for each individual area. That also applies to any communal areas.

Appealing an EPC Penalty Charge

A breach of the Energy Performance Certificate regulations may result in a penalty charge notice. If that happens, and you disagree with it, you can ask for a review. The penalty charge notice will inform you how to request a review. You would then get a letter that confirms the penalty if the review fails.

You then have the right to appeal to the county court (or the sheriff court in Scotland). You must make an appeal within 28 days of receiving the confirmation of the penalty.

Display Energy Certificates (DEC)

The Display Energy Certificate (DEC) of a public building contains information about its carbon emissions and its energy use. The system uses a scale running from ‘A’ to ‘G’ – with ‘G’ being the least efficient.

Which Public Buildings Need a Certificate?

Public authorities need to have a DEC, along with the appropriate advisory reports for public buildings if (all):

  • It is partially or wholly occupied by a public authority (e.g. a council, college, leisure centre, NHS trust).
  • Members of the public visit the premises on a regular basis.
  • The total floor area is more than two hundred and fifty (250) square metres.

There is no legal requirement for private organisations to have a Display Energy Certificate (it is optional). But, selling or renting the building may mean they need to get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

Important: Display Energy Certificates remain valid for one (1) year when the building’s total useful floor area is greater than 1,000 square metres. DECs last for ten (10) years for building’s with the total useful floor area between 250 and 1,000 square metres.

Where to Display the DEC?

DECs must be displayed in a prominent place and easily visible for the general public – such as at the entrance area of the building. Failing to display a DEC can result in a £500 fine.

Note: In Scotland, public buildings need to have, and display, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) instead of a Display Energy Certificate.

Commercial Energy Performance Certificates for Business Premises in the United Kingdom