The European Commission has published proposals to amend the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. This is the European legislation which underpins EPCs, DECs and air-conditioning inspections. Businesses in the UK which have only just come to terms with the existing requirements may find that the goal posts are about to change. The proposals include:

  • Changing the threshold for meeting minimum energy performance requirements when a building undergoes major renovation. Currently this only applies to buildings over 1000m². Under the new proposals, the requirements will apply to any renovation where more than 25% of the surface of the "building envelope" undergoes renovation, or where the cost of the renovation attributable to the building envelope or the technical systems (heating, cooling, lighting etc) is more than 25% of the value of the building (excluding the land).
  • Reducing the threshold for the display of a DEC by a public body from a building size of 1000m² to a building size of 250m².
  • Requiring DECs for all buildings occupied by a public body (subject to the size threshold above), regardless of whether or not the building is regularly visited by the public.
  • Requiring EPCs (where already available) to be displayed in buildings over 250m² which are frequently visited by the public (e.g. banks; shopping centres).
  • Requiring a property's EPC rating to be stated in all advertisements for the sale or letting of the property.

The Commission intends that the proposals be implemented in member states in respect of public authorities by 31 December 2010, and in all other respects by 31 January 2012. It would seem that this timescale is unlikely to be met, particularly given current economic conditions.

Comments on the proposals can be sent to the Department for Communities and Local Government at John.Bryan@communities.gsi.gov.uk