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.
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 media1 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)
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. The central register is currently operated by Landmark Information Group.
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 web site (www.ndepcregister.com) using the certificate reference number.
Validity period of EPCs
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.