Anyone who has looked to buy or rent a house or flat will be familiar with an EPC (or Energy Performance Certificate). This is an official scale used to measure the energy efficiency of all domestic and commercial buildings in the United Kingdom, grading said efficiency on a scale of A to G. However, it can be unclear knowing which EPC service is necessary for your building, with both domestic and commercial energy performance certificates available to choose from.
What are the commercial EPC ratings?
The commercial EPC ratings, like the domestic ones, are graded on a scale from A to G, with A being the most energy efficient and G being the least. In fact, regulations introduced in 2018 made it illegal to lease or let either a residential or commercial property with an EPC rating of F or G. There are many ways to improve your EPC rating (such as removing any electric heaters), which will be beneficial in future energy savings.
When provided with the EPC report, you will also be able to see the existing benchmarks for similar buildings. Furthermore, you will be given technical information in regards to the building; including the building environment, main heating fuel, and total useful floor area. All of this information can be helpful when it comes to attempting to improve the EPC rating of a building.
What defines a commercial building?
A commercial EPC is also known as a non-domestic EPC and is aptly named due to its requirement. A commercial building is any non-residential building and includes shops, offices, schools, and similar. Therefore, any building that is not being used to house people can be classified as a commercial building and will therefore require a lengthier assessment, despite the process itself being similar.
However, there are some exceptions to this with several non-residential buildings that do not require a commercial energy performance certificate. For example, in England and Wales, places of worship, temporary buildings in place for less than 2 years, some listed buildings, and buildings due to be demolished do not require a commercial EPC. Similarly, industrial sites, workshops, and non-residential agricultural buildings that do not use lots of energy are also exempt from commercial EPCs.
In Scotland, the rules differ slightly. Listed buildings are not exempt from requiring an EPC, but the following buildings require an EPC; temporary buildings, workshops, agricultural buildings with low energy demand, and buildings with a total floor area of less than 50m squared.
Who is responsible for providing your Commercial EPC?
It can be quite confusing as to knowing who is responsible in providing a commercial EPC. However, the landlord or seller is the person responsible for making sure that a commercial EPC has been obtained for the building. Even if an estate or letting agent is acting on behalf of the landlord or seller it is still their responsibility to ensure that the property has a correct and updated EPC.
How long does an EPC take?
One of the major differences between domestic and commercial EPCs is the time they take. Whilst domestic EPC assessments are relatively quick and do not require extremely thorough and detailed checks, commercial EPCs require a much more rigorous process. Assessors for commercial EPCs often have to be more technically qualified than those who perform domestic EPC checks and the actual process itself takes much longer.
Domestic EPCs will likely take around an hour at a maximum with an average of between 30 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile, commercial EPCs can take up to 2 hours to be completed with a minimum of around 45 minutes. The process can take even longer if the building is particularly large due to the in-depth and detailed assessment that needs to be made. The entire process can take up to several weeks when the time required to find and schedule an assessment is included.
The differences between commercial and domestic EPCs are slight. Nevertheless, they are still incredibly important. Although commercial EPCs follow the same grading scale as domestic EPCs, they often take twice as long, and it is the landlords absolute responsibility to ensure the property is correctly updated with an appropriate energy rating.