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EPCs: To display or not to display, that is the question!

22 February 2013
Remember last week we blogged about the new requirement to state the EPC asset rating in commercial advertising for sales and lettings?  Well, the story doesn't end there.  Another key change arising from the new EPC Regulations is that an EPC must now be displayed in commercial buildings that are frequently visited by the public and have a "total useful floor area" (the "total useful floor area" is the gross floor area measured to the internal face of the external walls, with the area of sloping surfaces, such as staircases, taken to be their area on a plan and excluding areas that are not enclosed) of more than 500m2.

The question on everyone's lips is: Who is bound by this new obligation? Unfortunately the Regulations do not help us with any explanation!  In a single-let building, where the tenant will normally have to comply with statutory obligations under its lease, the common sense interpretation is that the tenant should display the EPC.  But what about a multi-let building?  The position is less clear.  Applying common sense, the obligation should be for an occupier to display the EPC, but the Regulations are silent…

Does this obligation require anyone to commission a new EPC to be displayed in the building?  Thankfully not.  The obligation only applies once an EPC has been provided on a sale or letting or if initial construction or certain types of alteration works have been carried out under the Building Regs.

We also wonder what "frequently visited" means and who the "public" is.  Is an office building, where people frequently attend for meetings, caught by the obligation? Or is it excluded because the attendees are there by invitation? 

Wait a minute though.  There is no provision in the 2012 Regulations for this obligation to be enforced, and no penalty for any breach of it.  The Government has said recently that this is deliberate, as it is cutting down on red tape so, for the time being at least, self-compliance is the answer!

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