Energy Performance Certificates

The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) Regulations (NI) 2008 came into operation on 30 June 2008. These regulations require an Energy Performance Certificate in the following instances:

Dwellings

All dwellings offered for sale on or after 30 June 2008

All new dwellings completed on or after 30 September 2008

All dwellings offered for rental on or after 30 December 2008

Buildings other than dwellings (*subject to the exemptions noted below).

Buildings other than dwellings offered for sale on or after 30 December 2008.

Buildings other than dwellings completed on or after 30 September 2008.

Buildings other than dwellings offered for rental on or after 30 December 2008.

*The only exemptions to having to produce an energy performance certificate for a building other than a dwelling are:

  1. Buildings that are used primarily or solely as places of worship.
  2. Temporary buildings with a planned time of use of 2 years or less.
  3. Industrial sites, workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand.
  4. Stand-alone buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 50m² that are not dwellings.

EPC’s are not required on sale for buildings due to be demolished.

 

What is an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)?

An ‘Energy Performance Certificate’ means a Certificate that complies with Regulation 8 of The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) Regulations (NI) 2008 and is an energy rating of the building. The rating can range from ‘A’ (very efficient) to ‘G’ (the lest efficient). The better the rating the more efficient the building is and, consequently, the lower the fuel bills are likely to be.

 

Who is responsible for providing an EPC?

When a new building is complete it is the responsibility of the person carrying out the constructionto give an EPC and recommendation report to the building owner. They must also provide a copy of the EPC to Building Control, within 5 days of completion, where required to do so under The Building Regulations (NI) 2000 (as amended).

As soon as a building is in the process of being offered for sale it is the responsibility of the sellerto make available an EPC to prospective buyers.

As soon as a building is in the process of being offered for rental it is the responsibility of theprospective landlord to make available an EPC to prospective tenants.

 

Who can produce an EPC?

An Energy Performance Certificate must be produced by an Accredited Energy Assessor. An Energy Assessor must be a member of an accreditation scheme approved by the Department of Finance and Personnel.

 

What will the Energy Assessor do?

The Energy Assessor will be competent to use the appropriate software (such as SAP or SBEM) to produce the EPC. He/she has a duty of care to carry out an energy assessment of a building with reasonable care and skill.

If there are no up-to-date plans of the building the Energy Assessor will need to carry out a survey and collect the required information. A range of matters are considered including, for example, the insulation standards of the fabric of the building, glazing, heating and lighting etc.

All EPC’s must be accompanied by a ‘recommendation report’ setting out cost-efficient measures that could be taken to improve the energy performance of the building. The building owner is not obliged to implement the recommendations in the report, however, this information will help owners and occupiers to improve the energy efficiency of the building if they so desire.

The EPC must be registered in a national register where it will be given a unique reference number and retained for a period of 20 years. An EPC has a maximum life-span of 10 years.

Enforcement

The enforcement authority for these Regulations is the Department of Finance and Personnel; or, as regards any local government district designated by the Department, a person authorised in writing by the Department.

An authorised officer of an enforcement authority may, if he believes that a person has committed a breach of any duty under these Regulations, give a penalty charge to that person.

A person who receives a penalty charge notice can request the enforcement authority to review that notice. If after a review the penalty charge notice is confirmed by the enforcement authority the recipient may appeal to the County Court.

The Regulations specify the penalty amount applicable in relation to a breach of duty under the various Regulations. For example, the penalty amount for failing to provide an EPC in respect of a dwelling in circumstances where this is required is £200.

 

IMPORTANT AMENDMENT TO THE BUILDING REGULATIONS

With effect from the 30 September 2008 the Building Regulations will be amended so as to replace the current requirement for an ‘Energy Rating Notice’ with a requirement of an ‘Energy Performance Certificate’.

That new requirement will apply to completed new buildings (not just new dwellings) and will necessitate the giving of a copy of the energy performance certificate to the Council where plans for the work were submitted to the Council on or after 30 September 2008.

Energy Performance Certificate required for new buildings completed after 30September 2008

After the 30 September 2008 the Council will not be able to issue a Completion Certificate for any such new building where the application was received on or after the 30 September 2008 in the absence of having received the required Energy Performance Certificate.

It should be noted that while the Building Regulations will require the Energy Performance Certificate only where the plans were submitted to the Council on or after 30 September 2008there is no such restriction in The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008. Those Regulations will require an Energy Performance Certificate in respect of all newly completed buildings after 30 September 2008.