Commercial EPC – Recommendations Report

Every commercial Energy Performance Certificate is actually a 2-part document. The first part, fronted by a graph looking rather like a domestic EPC is the one which receives the most attention, because it look familiar, but in fact legally it must at all times be accompanied by a Recommendations Report. If the one you come across isn’t, be wary, it may not be genuine.

The Recommendations Report (RR) contains, not surprisingly given its title, recommendations! They are not compulsory, merely advisory, but there is a fair likelihood that any grants available for improving the energy efficiency of commercial properties in future will be tied to the RR.

OK, let’s start reading the report. Starting at the top is the Report Reference Number (RRN). This is 20 digits in 5 blocks of 4, separated by hyphens. This is not the same as the EPC Certificate Reference Number (CRN), (if it is the report is not genuine), which is given on the middle of the first page.

Next is the ADDRESS. This is the address as listed on the national Landmark database and may not be quite the same as the address currently in use, as it starts with the trading name in use last time the database was updated. If the premises have changed hands several times and Landmark has not been updated during the conveyancing process you may find the name of a former business there.

Remember to instruct your solicitor to get it changed to your business trading name when you take over the building. Or even better, revert to a simple postal address without a trading name.

Below the address is the BUILDING TYPE. This now uses the Local Authority classification used for Business Rates, so you may see, for instance A3/A4/A5 Restaurants & Cafes, or B1 Offices & Workshop Businesses. Older reports don’t have this level of detail. If the RR doesn’t have the Business Rates classification required for the type of business you intend to conduct there, you may have to apply for change of use.

The ISSUE DATE is the date when the report was created and the report is VALID until 10 years later, unless changes are made to the building fabric or environment which affect its energy consumption characteristics.

TOTAL USEFUL FLOOR AREA is the total internal area of the building measured to the internal faces of the external walls in square metres. It includes spaces with sloping ceilings etc, like stair wells, which may not, in fact be very useful!

The ENERGY ASSESSOR DETAILS section is mostly self-explanatory. It identifies who the Assessor is, and who he is accredited with. Every assessor must state if they are connected in any way with the owner. Curiously, assessors are allowed to carry out assessments where a clear potential conflict of interest exists, as long as they declare it! So a large property consortium can get their own directly-employed energy assessor to survey their buildings. Hmmm.

BACKGROUND tell you the legal regulations requiring the report to be produced. These are EU Regulations enshrined in UK statute.

BUILDING ENVIRONMENT tells you the type of space heating used to ‘condition’ (heat or cool) the building’s internal environment. This gives you an idea of how naturally of artificially the air is condition. Typically, a traditional building with gas-fired central heating and windows which can be opened to vary the airflow and temperature will be described as ‘Heating & Natural Ventilation’ , a building in which the air is processed to be heated or chilled has an ‘Air Conditioned’ environment. Sometimes the only means of heating discovered by the assessor will be portable convector heaters hidden in a cupboard and the building will be described as Heating & Natural Ventilation and the EPC will offer the additional information that the heating method uses ‘Grid Supplied Electricity’.

Some buildings are described as ‘Unconditioned’ which means that the assessor could find no means of heating present at all when the building was assessed. This does not mean that the building didn’t need an EPC! Commercial buildings often use large amounts of power in lighting and this forms part of the assessment. Only a building which cannot be conditioned due to being open to the elements on one side, such as a barn would be exempt on the basis that it was unconditioned and couldn’t be conditioned.

In Part 2 we will look at the Recommendations for improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon footprint and energy costs contained in the RR.

Source – Housing Energy Advisor

Leave a Reply

Services

Get a Quote