One of the challenges faced by both the owners of Commercial Property and their Agents is understanding the Regulations regarding EPC's. You'll be asking yourself the question "Do I need an EPC or is my property one for which an EPC is not required or for which the duties relating to EPC's do not apply?".
To guide you there are many sources online. Government (DCLG) guidance documents and lengthy articles from property interest groups or from legal or property professionals trying to simplify or explain the legal context in which the property owner (termed the relevant person in the Regulations) must make a decision regarding the need for an EPC.
Energy Assessors throughout England & Wales have to make these decisions every day, on behalf of clients who have commissioned EPC's. However, of the EPC assessments for which we have been invited to quote between 30% and 35% did not require a new EPC. Often this was because an existing valid EPC was available, held on the Landmark Register but forgotten by the property owner, or worse still hidden from view because it was lodged against an incorrect or duplicate address on the database. More often it was because incorrect interpretation of the Regulations led an owner to assume an EPC was required when actually it was not.
Of more concern to us are the many properties that are marketed by Agents which don't have an EPC because the Regulations have not been applied correctly. This leaves the 'relevant person' vulnerable to prosecution by Trading Standards. Unfortunately, it is our experience that Trading Standards, Solicitors and Agents, who dont deal with these issues on a daily basis, can take one section of the Regulations out of context and as a result give incorrect advice. In particular they may not be familiar with the additional guidance that has been issued by DCLG and our industry Accreditation Schemes. These organisations regulate the activities of all Energy Assessors, auditing our work and monitoring our professional development. Part of such development must include familiarity with the ongoing work of our Schemes with DCLG & BRE in the development of EPC Conventions which strive to improve the energy assessment process and ensure its continued relevance to the real world use of EPC's.
We take seriously our obligation to potential clients and to the Agents that we service, to provide clear and accurate professional advice, particularly when it comes to answering that all important question "Do I Need An EPC?". We have often challenged our Accreditation Schemes for clarity where we thought it lacking, to often to be told that only the Courts can decide how the Regulations are to be interpreted and that the absence of Case Law leaves them unable to give specific advice.
At our sister website at www.epc.online, we seek to provide to you the distilled experience of professional Energy Assessors and our Accreditation Schemes, asking all of the questions that we must answer when making a determination for the need for an EPC. This resource we intend, puts all of the available guidance in to one place in a simple clear format which delivers an unambiguous answer. We also provide a report of the questions we have asked you and the answers you have given, along with the determination for the need for an EPC.
Unfortunately, we can't get away from the fact that there is no great body of Case Law upon which to base any advice. However, the decision making process at www.epc.online draws on the best advice from the most authoritative sources and gives a result that we believe Trading Standards will respect as a reasonable interpretation of the law. Though we invite you to use the information offered here in your decision making, you are advised that we can offer no assurance that it is correct and that you should seek specialist legal advice if you require additional confirmation.