Also referred to as non-dwellings or commercial buildings. Sterling Accreditation will accredit suitably qualified people as Non Domestic Energy Assessors. This will enable those assessors to produce EPCs for non-dwellings or commercial buildings. Within this area there are three levels of accreditation:
• Simple buildings using the SBEM calculation tool (known as Level 3),
• Complex buildings using the SBEM calculation tool (known as Level 4),
• Buildings using Dynamic Simulation Models as the calculation tool (known as Level 5).

Energy Assessors may be accredited to produce EPCs at one or more levels depending on their proven expertise. Only Assessors at levels 4 & 5 will be able to assess new buildings.

Our Scheme, and the processes that support it, have been developed to provide Assessors with the support they need to ensure a consistently high quality product. They will be provided with a comprehensive membership package and all the support they need to operate in a fast moving and highly technical area.

Clients, building owners and managers are becoming increasingly concerned that the current competitive market, which has driven costs down below a sensible commercial level, has resulted in the quality of EPCs being suspect. Membership of the Sterling Accreditation Scheme will give such people the confidence that its Assessors will be working to the highest levels of technical competence supported by a system of quality assurance operating to best practice professional standards.

Key points

  • the requirement for non-dwellings to have an EPC on construction, sale or rent was introduced using a phased approach from 6 April 2008
  • the EPC shows the energy efficiency rating (relating to running costs) of a non-dwelling. The rating is shown on an A–G rating scale similar to those used for fridges and other electrical appliances
  • the EPC includes recommendations on how to improve the energy efficiency. There is no statutory requirement to carry out any of the recommended energy efficiency measures stated. The EPC may also include information showing which of these measures would be eligible for finance under the Green Deal scheme, if required
  • EPCs for non-dwellings must be produced by an accredited non-domestic energy assessor, who is a member of a government approved accreditation scheme
  • the seller or landlord must provide an EPC free of charge to a prospective buyer or tenant at the earliest opportunity. A copy of the EPC must also be provided to the successful buyer or the person who takes up the tenancy
  • estate agents and other third parties must ensure that an EPC has been commissioned before they can market a property for sale or rent
  • in addition, all advertisements in the commercial media must clearly show the energy rating of the building (where available)
  • EPCs are valid for 10 years and can be reused as required within that period. A new EPC is not required each time there is a change of tenancy, or the property is sold, provided it is no more than 10 years old. Where more than one is produced, the most recent EPC is the valid one
  • EPCs to be displayed in commercial premises larger than 500m2 that are frequently visited by the public, and where one has previously been produced for the sale, construction or renting out of the building

Buildings requiring an EPC
An EPC is only required when a building is constructed, sold or rented out. For the purposes of the regulations, a building is defined as “a roofed construction having walls, for which energy is used to condition the indoor climate, and a reference to a building includes a reference to part of a building which has been designed or altered to be used separately”.

For a building to fall within the requirement for an EPC it must have a roof and walls and use energy to condition the indoor climate.

Services considered to condition the indoor climate are the following fixed services: heating, mechanical ventilation or air-conditioning. Although the provision of hot water is a fixed building service, it does not condition the indoor environment and would not, therefore, be a trigger for an EPC. The same argument applies to electric lighting.

Where a building is expected to have heating, mechanical ventilation or air conditioning installed, it will require an EPC based on the assumed fit-out in accordance with the requirements in Part L of the Building Regulations.

A building can be either the whole of a building or part of a building, where the part is designed or altered to be used separately.

A part of a building designed or altered to be used separately is where the accommodation is made or adapted for separate occupation. This could be indicated by the accommodation having its own access, separate provision of heating and ventilation or shared heating and ventilation, but with the ability by the occupier to independently control those services. For a non-dwelling the part could be deemed to be separate even if some facilities (i.e. kitchen and toilet facilities) were shared. An example might be a unit in a shopping centre or a floor in an office building.

When EPCs are required
An EPC is required when a building is constructed, sold or rented out:

a. for buildings that are non-dwellings this requirement started for those buildings with a total useful floor area greater than 10,000m2 from 6 April 2008

b. for buildings that are non-dwellings with a total useful floor area greater than 2,500m2 this requirement started on 1 July 2008

c. for all remaining buildings that are non-dwellings, save for a few exempted buildings from 1 October 2008

EPCs for the sale or renting out of buildings that are non-dwellings will be valid for 10 years or until a newer EPC is produced for building, if earlier.

From 9 January 2013, it is a requirement for all non-dwellings over 500m2 frequently visited by the public to display a valid EPC in a prominent place clearly visible to members of the public. This will only apply to buildings where an EPC has been produced for that building.

If a building, or building unit, is subsequently sold, constructed or rented out after 9 January 2013 and an EPC is produced then this must be displayed.

From 9 January 2013 all sales or lettings advertisements in the commercial media[footnote 1] should show the EPC rating of the property being advertised. There is no requirement to display the full certificate but where there is adequate space, the advertisement should show the A-G graph. However, it is recognised that this will not always be possible. In such cases the advertisement should include the actual EPC rating of the property (for example C).

Situations where an EPC is not required
EPCs are not required on sale or rent for buildings due to be demolished, provided the seller or landlord can demonstrate that:

  • the building is to be sold or rented out with vacant possession
  • the building is suitable for demolition and
  • the resulting site is suitable for redevelopment
  • all relevant planning permissions, listed building consents and conservation area consents exist in relation to the demolition, and
  • they believe, on reasonable grounds, that a prospective buyer or tenant intends to demolish the building (e.g. on evidence of an application for planning permission)

The duties relating to EPCs do not apply to:

  • buildings used as places of worship and for religious activities
  • temporary buildings with a planned time of use of 2 years or less, industrial sites, workshops and residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand and residential agricultural buildings which are in use by a sector covered by a national sectoral agreement on energy performance
  • stand-alone buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 50m2

Additionally, in line with the removal of unnecessary gold-plating, from 9 January 2013, the following types of buildings will not require an EPC:

Buildings protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit are exempt from the requirements to have an energy performance certificate insofar as compliance with minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance.

To comply with minimum energy performance requirements, many of the recommendations in an EPC report e.g. double glazing, new doors and windows, external wall insulation, and external boiler flues would likely result in unacceptable alterations in the majority of historic buildings. These can include buildings protected as part of a designated environment or because of their special architectural or historical merit (e.g. listed buildings or buildings within a conservation area). In these cases an EPC would not be required.

Building owners will need to take a view as to whether this will be the case for their buildings. If there is any doubt as to whether works would unacceptably alter the character or appearance of a building, building owners may wish to seek the advice of their local authority’s conservation officer.

Checking the authenticity of an EPC
All EPCs are stored in a central register. The central register is the official place for the storage of all EPCs and is the single source of information for EPCs for non-dwellings.

All EPCs must contain a valid certificate reference number. This number can only be generated once the certificate has been lodged on the central register. The EPC and recommendation report are only valid once they have been lodged.

Lodging the certificate is designed helps to protect the consumer by ensuring that only accredited energy assessors can produce EPCs. Those in possession of an EPC can verify the authenticity of a certificate by using the certificate reference number to check its validity against the EPC held on the register. A copy of the EPC can be accessed online and downloaded from the central register website using the certificate reference number.

Lost and mislaid reports can also easily be replaced at no additional cost to the consumer using the certificate reference number. A copy of the certificate can also be downloaded from the central register using the building address from the register website, if the certificate reference number has been mislaid, unless the owner of the building has ‘opted-out’ of making the report available in this way.

Once EPCs have been registered they cannot be altered. However, EPCs that are in dispute may be annotated on the register to show that they are under investigation. This can only be done by the approved accreditation scheme of which the energy assessor who produced the report is a member. Data on the register is kept for 20 years, which means more than one EPC may be stored over a number of years for one building. An EPC may be valid for up to 10 years. If there are other certificates for the building on the register that are less than 10 years old only the most recent certificate will be valid.Learn More