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fresh power efficiency improvement rules for Scottish commercial buildings now in force


The regulations apply to commercial and public sector buildings with a floor area of more than 1,000 square metres that are not constructed to 2002 building standards or later. They require owners of those properties to “assess” their greenhouse gas emissions and power performance, and set out the circumstances in which steps to “improve the power performance of such buildings and reduce such emissions” will be required.

Known as the Assessment of power Performance of Non-Domestic Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2016, they possess been introduced to grant effect to the general requirement to improve the power efficiency of non-domestic buildings set out in section 63 of the 2009 Climate vary (Scotland) Act. Similar rules come into force in England and Wales on 1 April 2018, although these do not apply to sales.

“Those purchasing or leasing property in Scotland from 1 September will require to be alive to these fresh rules,” said property law expert Alan Cook of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com. “Simply filing away an power performance certificate (EPC) is no longer an option, and strategies will require to be adopted to ensure compliance with the fresh rules within the confines of existing lease arrangements.”

“The property industry will possess to acquire to approach the fresh regime constructively. The Scottish Government will be watching how this goes and, if following the first three years, there isn’t evidence of improvement in overall power efficiency levels in commercial properties, they may well propose stricter requirements in the future,” he said.

The fresh regime will be triggered once a commercial property owner wishes to vend the property or grant a lease to a fresh tenant. They will not apply on renewal of an existing lease, or to short-term lets as defined by the regulations. When either event occurs, the property owner will now be required to provide the incoming owner or tenant with an Action on Carbon and power Performance (ACEP), made up of an EPC and an ‘action plan’.

EPCs already had to be produced on the sale, letting or construction of buildings, and provide an indication of that building’s power performance. The accompanying action plan, which is fresh, must set out the improvement works required to bring the power performance of the building and its associated greenhouse gas emissions into line with the 2002 building standards. The action plan and recommendations should be produced by a ‘section 63 adviser’ using computer modelling, and the document registered in the Scottish EPC register for non-domestic properties.

Once the action plan is agreed, the owner will possess up to 42 months to tote out any recommended building improvements. Alternatively, it can choose to defer the improvements and instead report annual operational power operate through production of a display power certificate (DEC). Improvement measures which may be identified in the action plan are specified in the regulations and include: installing draught stripping to doors and windows; upgrading heating or lighting controls; upgrading low power lighting; replacing a boiler; and insulting an accessible roof space or hot water tank. These require only be carried out where identified as “practicable” by the section 63 adviser.

The liability to comply with the action plan passes from the seller to the buyer on completion of the transaction. As with the rules governing EPCs, local authorities will be responsible for enforcing the fresh action plan requirements. Owners that fail to provide an action plan on sale or rent, or that fail to complete improvement works within the required timescale, may be fined £1,000 for each offence.

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fresh power efficiency improvement rules for Scottish commercial buildings now in force


The regulations apply to commercial and public sector buildings with a floor area of more than 1,000 square metres that are not constructed to 2002 building standards or later. They require owners of those properties to “assess” their greenhouse gas emissions and power performance, and set out the circumstances in which steps to “improve the power performance of such buildings and reduce such emissions” will be required.

Known as the Assessment of power Performance of Non-Domestic Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2016, they possess been introduced to grant effect to the general requirement to improve the power efficiency of non-domestic buildings set out in section 63 of the 2009 Climate vary (Scotland) Act. Similar rules come into force in England and Wales on 1 April 2018, although these do not apply to sales.

“Those purchasing or leasing property in Scotland from 1 September will require to be alive to these fresh rules,” said property law expert Alan Cook of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com. “Simply filing away an power performance certificate (EPC) is no longer an option, and strategies will require to be adopted to ensure compliance with the fresh rules within the confines of existing lease arrangements.”

“The property industry will possess to acquire to approach the fresh regime constructively. The Scottish Government will be watching how this goes and, if following the first three years, there isn’t evidence of improvement in overall power efficiency levels in commercial properties, they may well propose stricter requirements in the future,” he said.

The fresh regime will be triggered once a commercial property owner wishes to vend the property or grant a lease to a fresh tenant. They will not apply on renewal of an existing lease, or to short-term lets as defined by the regulations. When either event occurs, the property owner will now be required to provide the incoming owner or tenant with an Action on Carbon and power Performance (ACEP), made up of an EPC and an ‘action plan’.

EPCs already had to be produced on the sale, letting or construction of buildings, and provide an indication of that building’s power performance. The accompanying action plan, which is fresh, must set out the improvement works required to bring the power performance of the building and its associated greenhouse gas emissions into line with the 2002 building standards. The action plan and recommendations should be produced by a ‘section 63 adviser’ using computer modelling, and the document registered in the Scottish EPC register for non-domestic properties.

Once the action plan is agreed, the owner will possess up to 42 months to tote out any recommended building improvements. Alternatively, it can choose to defer the improvements and instead report annual operational power operate through production of a display power certificate (DEC). Improvement measures which may be identified in the action plan are specified in the regulations and include: installing draught stripping to doors and windows; upgrading heating or lighting controls; upgrading low power lighting; replacing a boiler; and insulting an accessible roof space or hot water tank. These require only be carried out where identified as “practicable” by the section 63 adviser.

The liability to comply with the action plan passes from the seller to the buyer on completion of the transaction. As with the rules governing EPCs, local authorities will be responsible for enforcing the fresh action plan requirements. Owners that fail to provide an action plan on sale or rent, or that fail to complete improvement works within the required timescale, may be fined £1,000 for each offence.

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