The EPC regulations and low-energy industrial units
What are the EPC Regulations?
The Energy Performance Certificate Regulations (the "Regulations") require a prospective seller or landlord of property to make a valid Energy Performance Certificate ("EPC") available to any prospective buyer or tenant, free of charge. An EPC may also be required in situations where a property is being newly built, significantly altered or has been subject to works which will improve the property's energy efficiency rating.
The EPC rating of industrial premises is particularly relevant in the context of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards Regulations (the "MEES Regulations") which prohibit the letting of premises with the lowest EPC ratings. You can read more about the MEES Regulations in Stephen Newson's article here.
Am I exempt from requiring an EPC?
There are a number of exemptions from the requirement to provide an EPC in the situations described above. Some of these exemptions are explored further below, with a particular focus on those applicable to low-energy industrial units.
What if my largely unheated industrial unit contains a separate, heated office?
Any heated or cooled office premises separated from the work area do not fall within the exemptions. In this case, an EPC must be obtained. However, the EPC will be based on an assessment of the offices only; yet it will 'apply' to the whole unit and satisfy the requirement for an EPC to be in place before the whole unit is let out.
On a related note…
If an existing property does not currently have an EPC, the owner does not need to commission a first EPC unless the property is being sold, rented or significantly altered. Further, a property owner does not need replace an existing EPC for a property just because the EPC is over 10 years old. A person with an interest in a property can voluntarily commission an EPC for that property at any time.