New energy efficiency rules to be separate for Scottish commercial buildings

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New regulations requiring commercial property owners to carry out energy efficiency improvements before selling or leasing will not form part of the EPC regime…

New rules aimed at improving the efficiency of non-domestic property before sale or lease will be published separately from the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) regime, it has emerged.

In 2013, the Scottish government discussed combining the two areas. However, a new proposal has suggested both will be considered separately.

According to an explanatory note published alongside the latest version of the regulations this would “enable implementation of domestic and EU policy on emissions and energy reduction to be managed more effectively”.

The new regulation has been produced under section 63 of the 2009 Climate Change (Scotland) Act, which introduced a general requirement to improve the efficiency of non-domestic buildings with a floor space of more than 1,000 sq metres that do not meet the 2002 building standards or later.

The new regulations will mean property owners will be required to assess the emissions and energy performance of the building. Measures will then need to be taken to “improve the energy performance of such buildings and reduce such emissions”.

Speaking about the regulations, Pinsent Masons’ property law expert Alan Cook said: “The property industry has been awaiting these regulations for some time, following the Scottish Government’s consultation on a previous draft version of the regulations in 2013.

“There are a few questions over details in the draft, and we now await the publication of guidance notes to accompany the regulations which will hopefully clarify the approach in a number of respects.

“Property owners will now need to take account of the requirements for energy efficiency measures when they sell or lease their properties in Scotland from 1 September 2016, and it remains to be seen what impact this will have on the market for older, less energy efficient premises,” he said.

The new regulations will need to be acted upon in the event of the commercial property owner selling or granting a new lease on the building. It will not apply to the renewal of an existing lease or short-term lets.

The property owner will be required to provide the new owner or tenant with an Action on Carbon and Energy Performance (ACEP). The action plan will set out improvement work needed to meet efficiency standards.

Once agreed, the owner will have up to 42 months to carry out the work. This takes into account the duration of a building warrant plus six months planning time.

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