Energy Performance Certificates for commercial properties put back until January 2009

The government has extended the deadline for EPCs in the commercial sector to 4 January 2009 unless the building is sold or rented beforehand. The deadline was originally set for 1 October 2008.

A government spokesperson said: “The 1 October deadline does apply for domestic properties, sales and rentals although we are giving people a reasonable amount of time to get their EPCs. Those properties that are already on the market without an EPC will not all suddenly need to get one overnight between the 30 Sept and 1 October. They will need to obtain one from the 1 October but they have until January to get it.”

The spokesman also refuted the idea that the extension was due to a lack of assessors, suggesting that many assessors had previously complained of a lack of work. This has been called in to question by the sector.

Independent environmental consultancy Envos has criticised the decision, saying that it is tantamount to an admission that there aren’t enough qualified assessors to undertake the surveys and that more time was required to educate building owners about their responsibilities.

Envos managing director, Wade Barker, said: “This decision is not unexpected given the small number of assessors that are currently fully trained. Equally there are still far too many commercial property owners who are unaware of what an EPC is and how they get one and, while there are a few providers like ourselves who have fully trained assessors over the country, as a whole there certainly aren’t enough to assess every building before it is marketed and sold by 1 October.”

Despite the extension, CB Richard Ellis advises clients to begin assessment procedures as soon as possible to avoid a rush at the end of the year.

“The delivery time of 1 October may not have been practical for some institutions and could have caused delay to transactions,“ said Phil Evans of CBRE’s building consultancy team. “There is still a shortage of accredited assessors nationwide but consultancies such as ours have in-house service provision to avoid the rush and are ready to meet the demand across the UK.”

There has not yet been a change to the deadline of 1 October for the introduction of Display Energy Certificates (DECs) in public buildings. Proof of the inspection of air conditioning units which operate over 250kW is also required by 4 January.

“Changes in legislation can be confusing, so clients will need to choose a provider with a complete understanding of all compliance issues,” said Evans.