How we can assist in cases where a commercial property obtains a low EPC rating

Our clients are often faced with low EPC ratings. This has the potential to stop the property from being let out, or can discourage potential investors from making a purchase based on the cost implications of improving the property to the required standard. By the required standard, we mean to either an E rating or above. As anything below an E rating would mean that the property falls below the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards – implemented on 1st April 2018 (for commercial property).

A question that we are constantly asked is, “what improvements should we make to the property to achieve an E rating?”

The Recommendation Report, which accompanies the EPC, makes this question particularly difficult to answer.

Unlike the domestic EPC, which clearly defines the EPC rating after each recommendation has been implemented, the Recommendation Report accompanying the commercial EPC, is much more difficult to interpret.

It begins by providing a recommendation, and then specifies its likely impact – that impact being either low, medium or high. But what is low, medium or high? These classifications offer very little clarity/certainty for the property owner. Also, what it fails to provide is a list of recommendations and the compounding improvements after each has been implemented. Let’s take an example where the recommendation report in the EPC states that the owner could choose to replace the single glazed windows with new double-glazed windows (‘medium’ impact), or, improve the loft insulation (‘low’ impact), and/or fit wall insulation (also ‘low’ impact). In this event, how does the property owner know which combination of improvements to make, to achieve an ‘E’ rating? The amount of variables, and differing cost levels, makes this decision near impossible. Now add the the way in which the ‘U’ values of certain building elements are affected by changes in the ‘U’ values of other elements, and the property owner has a very difficult situation to contend with.

There is no simple solution when trying to tackle the above issue, as the problem stems from way that Commercial EPCs are produced using the current software. Which, incidentally, was initially designed for Part L regulation compliance, and then later adapted to be used for EPCs

CJ Bloor Property Consultants can, however, assist in making life easier for the property owner. For example, we can run through hypothetical scenarios, to help them understand how certain improvements will affect the EPC rating, whilst giving them an idea of costs, etc.

The following is part of the service we offer as part of any new commercial EPC instruction:

If your property is rated F or G, we can offer advice on how to improve the rating to an E (or above) to ensure compliance with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).

We would then identify ways to improve the energy efficiency of the property to the required standard i.e. to an EPC rating of E or above.

Next, we would provide a draft EPC, which would show the EPC rating based on our recommendations.

Finally, after the alterations/improvements have been made, we would inspect the property to ensure the works have been completed in accordance with our recommendations.

We would then lodge the final EPC.

Taking this approach provides you with a guaranteed EPC rating as per the initial draft EPC.

If you would like to discuss your EPC requirements, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our telephone number is 07590 765284 and our email address is info@cjbloor.co.uk.