Since 4 January 2009, it has been a requirement in Scotland to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for a building when it is sold or rented.  This requirement stems from the EC Directive 2002/91/EC on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD) which was implemented in Scotland through The Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008, and also through the Building Standards Regulations.

Following on revision of EPBD by the European Parliament, which resulted in a recast Directive 2010/31/EU the Scottish Government is now consulting on the implementation of Directive 2010/31/EU in Scotland.

Consultation on the implementation of Directive 2010/31/EU

EPCs will continue to be required on the construction, sale or rental of buildings (subject to a series of exemptions, which the Consultation does not intend to amend) and will continue to be valid for a period of not more than 10 years. Much of the recast considers the technical detail of such things as performance requirements and methodologies.  However some of the high level proposals that will be of interest to property owners are summarised below.

The Consultation clarifies the duty of the owner or landlord to provide a prospective purchaser or tenant with an EPC. Whereas the current 2008 Regulations require the EPC or a copy of it to be made available to the purchaser or tenant, the Consultation confirms that the amended Regulations will require the owner or landlord to show the EPC or a copy of it to the prospective purchaser or tenant and thereafter to deliver it to the purchaser or tenant. The Consultation does not consider whether or not a landlord will be required to provide an EPC to an assignee of the tenant's interest under a lease, which was an area where there had been some debate following the introduction of EPCs in 2009.

The 2010 Directive introduces a minimum standard to be complied with across the EU, with individual Member States being entitled to introduce higher standards if desired, including the following provisions specifically relating to EPCs:

  • Property advertisements are to include the energy performance indicator of the EPC.

The Consultation proposes that only the A-G performance indicator given on the EPC is to be stated in such advertisements in commercial media, which includes any particulars advertising a property for sale or rent in electronic or hard copy format.

  • EPCs are to be more detailed in relation to each building being certified.

This will include information on the on the cost-effectiveness of recommendations together with guidance as to how to implement the recommendations.

The Consultation confirms that each EPC will remain valid for 10 years and should remain in the same format as is currently used. This is on the grounds that the A-G (excellent to very poor) rating system can be easily interpreted. The standard language used is to be considered for ease of interpretation by the purchaser or tenant. A revised form of EPC is now available for review by Consultees. The Consultation requests views on the new form of EPC.

  • EPCs are to be issued and displayed in buildings larger than 500 square metres, which are occupied by a public authority and are frequently visited by the public.

The current Regulations require display in such buildings larger than 1000 square metres. After five years this threshold will reduce to 250 square metres. The Consultation proposes that Scotland will implement the amended provisions, with the reduction in the threshold to 250 square metres coming into force in 2018.  The Consultation suggests that the public sector should set an example by undertaking the recommendations detailed on the EPC and recommendation report.

  • EPCs are to be displayed in commercial premises larger than 500 square metres that are frequently visited by the public and where an EPC has previously been issued.

The Consultation proposes that guidance should be made available to clarify the meaning of buildings "which are frequently visited by the public". It suggests that the threshold should apply to non domestic buildings where access to all or part of the building by members of the public is integral to the daily operation of the building and where members of the public would expect to be able to enter - such as shops, cinemas, health centres etc. The Consultation requests views on the interpretation of this definition.

  • A statistically significant percentage of EPCs to be checked by independent experts for quality assurance purposes.

The Consultation proposes the appointment of a Government body to randomly check a sample of a minimum of two percent of all Certificates. This figure is considered to be a "statistically significant percentage" in terms of the Directive and will be assisted by the creation by the Scottish Government of an electronic register for the recording of all non-domestic EPCs.

A consultation on the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009: Section 63 Regulations and Guidance for Non Domestic Buildings is running in conjunction with the Energy Performance of Buildings Recast consultation.

To view the Consultation on the implementation of Directive 2010/31/EU on the Energy Performance of Buildings Recast in Scotland click here.