FAQs – Commercial EPC’s

What is an EPC? – An EPC is a document that details the asset rating of a building based on its energy performance.  The asset rating is banded from A-G, where A is very efficient and G is the least efficient.

Where can I get an EPC? – Only accredited assessors can produce EPC’s, which are based on detailed surveys of a building’s fabric and services (such as heating, ventilation and lighting).  The calculations are performed by entering the information into Government approved software developed by the Building dev

search Establishment (BRE) called the Simplified Building Energy Model (SBEM).

What buildings require an EPC? – Any commercial building over over 50m2 that has a roof and walls that uses energy to condition the indoor climate through fixed services that heat, ventilate or cool it.

What buildings are exempt? – Places of worship.  Temporary buildings with a planned use of less than two years.  Stand alone buildings that are not dwellings with a floor area of less than 50m2.  Industrial sites, workshops and agricultural buildings with low energy demand.  Buildings that are due to be demolished, and the site redeveloped. Any building, which has been listed by English Heritage (or its Welsh equivalent) is exempt from the requirement to have an EPC on its sale or rent.

When do I need to have an EPC? Before a building is put on the market the seller or landlord must commission an EPC for the building if no valid EPC exists already for it. A person acting on behalf of the seller or landlord (for example, the estate or letting agent) must be satisfied that an EPC has been commissioned for the building before it is put on the market.

The seller or landlord or a person acting on their behalf must use all reasonable efforts to ensure the EPC is obtained within seven days. A further 21 days is allowed if after using all reasonable efforts the EPC cannot be obtained within seven days.

An estate or letting agent may on occasions provide a prospective buyer or tenant with a copy of the EPC. However, it remains the responsibility of the seller or landlord to make sure that a valid EPC has been given free of charge to the person who ultimately becomes the buyer or seller.

The energy performance indicator of the building as shown on the EPC, for example, C, must be stated in any advertisements in the commercial media. Failure to do so could result in a fine of £200 per advertisement.

EPC on sale or rent

When existing buildings are sold or rented out, the seller or landlord must make available an EPC at the earliest opportunity and no later than when a person:

  • requests information about the building, the time at which the seller or landlord first makes available any information in writing about the building


  • or makes a request to view the building, the time at which the person views the building.


And must give, free of charge, a valid EPC to the person who ultimately becomes the buyer or tenant.

Where a building is modified to have more or less parts including the extension of fixed services for heating, mechanical ventilation or cooling.  It would be the responsibility of the person carrying out the modification work to provide an EPC to the building owner.

When is an EPC not required? – Lease renewals, lease surrenders or compulsory purchase orders.

How long does an EPC last? – An EPC is valid for 10 years, unless a more recent EPC is issued, in which case the more recent certificate is the one that is valid.

How long does a survey take? – It depends on the complexity of the building, and the amount of information available in the form of existing plans and specifications.  Where this information is not available the building will have to be measured accurately and plans drawn.  The time spent on site carrying out the survey can be relatively short in terms of hours, but the analysis, calculation, data entry and report preparation can take from a number of hours to a number of days, depending on the number of activity zones.

How much will a survey cost? – Cost is dependent on the length of time taken to carry out the survey and process the information.  This will vary depending on the number of activity zones identified, the complexity of the building fabric and services.  Where there are multiple types or sizes of light fittings, external doors and windows, it will inevitably take longer to collect and enter the data than a building with uniform features.  Some indicative pricing is given on the costing page, but please contact us to arrange a visit for a detailed quote and to discuss your individual requirements.

What is a level 3 building?  – A level 3 building has a heating system with a capacity of less than 100kW and a comfort cooling system of up to 12kW.  These heating systems are often similar or the same as domestic boiler systems, with cooling provided by individual or linked standalone air conditioning units.

What is a level 4 and level 5 building? – A level 4 building is generally a larger building with more complex heating system with a capacity of above 100kW.  These buildings typically have centralised air conditioning plant.

A level 5 building would generally be of a recent and more complex construction with curved walls and atria and very complex heating, lighting and ventilation systems, usually controlled by a building management system (BMS).  This type of building possesses attributes that mean it can only be analysed using Dynamic Simulation Modelling (DSM) rather than SBEM.

What are the penalties for not having a valid EPC? – 12.5% of the rateable value of the building, with a minimum of £500 and a maximum of £5,000.  There is a default penalty of £750 where the rateable value formula cannot be applied.

Useful Links

Non Domestic EPC Register

A guide to energy performance certificates for the marketing, sale and let of dwellings April 2014

A guide to Energy Performance Certificates for the construction, sale and rental of non-dwellings (Guidance Booklet No. 1) June 2013

Listed Building Exemption Guidance

Energy Savings Trust

Domestic EPC Register