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Retail Shop in Leyton – Going From a G to a C

Retail Shop in Leyton – Going From a G to a C

We recently helped a client in Leyton, East London who had a very low rated EPC. On the face of it, they were really worried that the whole property was unrentable and that it would cost thousands of pounds to get that E rating they needed (according to the MEES regulation). They should not have been worried, we were on the case!

Initial Low Rated EPC

We arrived at the Leyton retail unit in July, and did an initial EPC. The property has electric heaters only and a combi boiler for hot water. The shop has a ground floor and basement, with a residential property above. Lighting throughout the property was halogen, which was an immediate red flag, and sure enough, the rating produced when the EPC was entered into the software was a G. This means that the new lease that was due to be signed could not go ahead until improvements were made to the efficiency of the building.

How We Improved Their EPC Rating

In some cases, there is quite a bit of work involved figuring out how to get the rating up, but in this example our years of experience told us that dealing with just one aspect would get the rating up significantly. Let’s call it a light bulb moment.

Lighting is really important for both office and retail spaces. The lights are likely going to be on all day long, which means any improvement in the efficiency of the lighting is going to save money and make the building much more efficient. We ran a simulation through our software whereby the client installed LED lighting throughout the building – the good news is that by installing LED lighting the property suddenly went from a G to a C rating!

The Final EPC Rating

We held off lodging the EPC as it was, and the owners of the retail unit decided to go away and get the new lighting installed. They contacted us a month or so later once the work had been done in order to arrange a revisit to Leyton. The good news is that, because we hadn’t lodged the original certificate, we could offer a discount for the revisit and we only charged a call out fee to collect the evidence we required in order to lodge a revised certificate. A simple short visit to collect this photo evidence was done, and the next day the EPC was issued at the C rating.

The client can now be content with a property that more than meets the current regulations, and indeed they will be covered for most conceivable increases in the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards as well. The certificate I valid for 10 years on any future leases the client takes out on the property.

How to Get a Commercial MEES Exemption

How to Get a Commercial MEES Exemption

Do the MEES apply to my property?

Whereas in the domestic sector, where every privately let property in England and Wales is subject to an EPC, the commercial side of MEES has a few types of let that are not covered. If your commercial property falls under any of the following then you do not require an EPC and therefore no exemption is needed:

  • Properties rented with leases lasting 99 years or more
  • Properties rented with leases lasting 6 months or less
  • Properties that are do not require an EPC:
    • Listed or officially protected buildings where the minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter it
    • A temporary building only going to be used for 2 years or less
    • Buildings used as a place of worship or for other religious activities
    • Industrial commercial sites, workshop or non-residential agricultural buildings that doesn’t use much energy (this generally amounts to including any warehouse space with no attached office or heating system)
    • Any detached building with a total floor space under 50 square metres
    • Any property due to be demolished by the seller or landlord and they have all the relevant planning and conservation consents

How can I get a MEES exemption for my commercial property?

To be exempt from commercial MEES rules, your property must be filed with the Private Rented Sector Exemption Register. The register is the same regardless of whether your property is a pub, a warehouse, a theme park, or a shop. There are several ways to get on the register, but each comes with it’s own necessary paperwork.

Below we’ve run through each exemption and what is needed for filing for it. Unless indicated otherwise, all of the exemptions are valid for 5 years from the date of issue:

A recommended wall insulation measure would have a negative impact on the building

  • The written opinion of a relevant expert that the property can’t be improved to an E rating because a recommended wall insulation measure would have a negative impact on the property


All relevant improvements have been made and the property remains below an E

  • A recommendation report that shows any energy efficiency improvement recommended for the property. This could be an EPC report, a report prepared by a surveyor, or a Green Deal report.
  • Details of all recommended energy efficiency improvements which have been made at the property, including the date of installation.


The property is below an E and there are no improvements which can be made

  • A recommendation report that shows that no improvements can be made. This could be an EPC report, a report prepared by a surveyor, or a Green Deal report.


A recommended energy efficiency improvement does not meet the seven year payback rule

  • Three quotes from qualified installers for the cost of purchasing and installing the energy efficiency improvement
  • Confirmation that you are sure that the improvement does not meet the seven year payback rule, including the calculations made to show this


Consent to an energy efficiency improvement was refused or made subject to unreasonable conditions

  • Evidence that consent for an energy efficiency improvement was required and that this was asked for, and that consent was refused or granted subject to unreasonable conditions


The installation of specific energy efficiency measures will devalue the property by more than 5%

  • A report from an independent RICS surveyor that provides evidence that the installation of a relevant measure would devalue the property by more than 5%


You have recently become a landlord under circumstances that qualify the property for an exemption

  • The date that you became the landlord
  • To explain which of the qualifying circumstances apply

Is it worth getting a commercial MEES exemption?

The process for commercial MEES exemptions can be both time consuming and complicated, and even once completed it doesn’t provide quite the guarantee you might expect. Given that MEES are a locally enforced piece of legislation, local authorities are open interpret it in different ways, with some viewing the commercial exemption register as effectively non-binding. A standard commercial MEES exemption is set for 5 years, but unless your local authority is willing to honour this you may find yourself in trouble down the line.

While exemptions are certainly possible for commercial buildings, our advice at London EPC is to first explore how you might be able to reach the E-grade minimum requirement first. In many cases it is much easier than you might first imagine for a commercial property to reach this level, especially with the assistance of our expert surveyors, who are committed to producing the best possible certificate for your property.

If your first EPC does not reach the required grade, our surveyors will take you through all the cheapest and most effective ways to increase your points without finding yourself out of pocket. This can be as simple as paperwork and changing out some light bulbs. On most occasions, the low cost upgrades recommended by our surveyors will get your property to a MEES compliant grade at a much lower cost than the necessary paperwork for the exemption register would have been.

If you have any questions about how or if you should apply for a commercial MEES exemption, feel free to send us an email or give us a call.

EPC Retail Unit in Catford

EPC Case Study: Retail Unit in Catford

This client contacted us needing an EPC for their small retail unit in Catford. The unit is only around 30m² with a toilet and shop floor.

What does London EPC charge for retail EPC certificates?

For any retail unit under 100 and all on a single floor, we charge £120+VAT. This covers any commercial unit inside the M25, with a small excess for travel if we need to travel further out.

Heating and water

Arriving at the property in Catford, we see a simple mid-terrace shop with a flat roof. The only external walls are at the front and rear; clearly there is no external wall or cavity insulation as these are standard 9 inch brick walls. The roof also has no insulation as far as we can tell, which will again negatively impact the EPC.

The lighting is always going to be crucial for a commercial spaces and retail units, because the lights are going to be on pretty much all day everyday in your typical shop. The good news is that these lights were all LED, which improves the rating significantly on this type of commercial property.

Construction and lighting

There is no fixed heating in the retail unit, and because the space is retail, we therefore have to enter the worst case scenario in to the EPC software for the heating, which is an electric room heater. If the space was a workshop or a warehouse, it could be entered as an unheated space in the software because heating is not considered a necessity for that kind of space. However under these circumstances the lack of fixed heating system in the retail unit had a negative effect on the final EPC score.

There is also an electric water heater at the rear – these small units are actually great for smaller spaces like this. They don’t take up much room, and they are also quite efficient because they don’t store much hot water in them, instead only supplying hot water when required. This limits the heat loss and helps bring up the EPC.

Retail EPC in Catford: Final Rating

The retail unit was very simple to enter into the software. It had some good things going for it – namely the hot water and the lighting – but also some not so good points in terms of the heating and insulation. The final EPC rating was a D. This was mostly due to the lighting. Indeed, if the property had halogen lighting or another inefficient system, the rating would have been much lower, and perhaps even unrentable as per the MEES regulations.


How London EPC can help your business conform with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

How London EPC can help your business conform with Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)

What are the commercial MEES?

MEES stands for Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards and were bought in by the Government to help improve the energy efficiency of privately rented commercial and domestic properties.

MEES is specifically targeting older properties since newer properties, provided they were built in accordance with building regulations, should automatically achieve the required levels of energy efficiency.

How does the commercial MEES exemption register work?

MEES states that if a commercial building has an EPC rating of F to G, then it cannot be rented out unless the landlord registers the property on the National PRS Exemptions Register. The problem is that the criteria to get on the exemption register are very tough, and once on it the property will only be there for 5 years before you need to apply for it again on the exemption register.

You can learn more about the 7 different types of exemptions here.

How can London EPC help you conform with commercial MEES?

At London EPC, we can help you get on the exemption register however in our experience there is a far simpler way. One that allows you to rent out your property for 10 years without having to go through the pain of compiling the required evidence to appear on the exemption register.

It is all to do with the commercial EPC and the level of detail that can be entered into the commercial EPC software. If an assessor cannot enter the specific details of the commercial property in to the EPC software then they must enter ‘default’ values. The problem with default values is they are significantly worse in terms of the final EPC score than entering the specific values.

As a result, an inexperienced EPC surveyor will quickly do the site survey and not record the information that will significantly improve the EPC rating – so typically the final EPC certificate will fall within the F to G range.

At London EPC, our assessors know the exact details that can take this EPC from an unrentable F or G to a rentable E rating, forsaking the need to go the exemption route.

Typically, the additional detail will relate to lighting, heating systems and HVAC systems, but all our assessors know exactly what to look for. Even if after we have completed the survey and the building doesn’t quite make the ‘rentable’ grade, then we work closely with the landlord to ensure the cheapest way to get it to the required level. 99 times out of 100, these improvements are still cheaper (and quicker!) than going down the exemption route.

That is why our client base is growing on a daily basis. London EPC have carried out thousands of commercial ECP’s, working with a huge range of of different businesses for the last 8 years to help them achieve the required EPC certificates to be able to rent their properties with a minimum of fuss.

If you require commercial EPCs and want to avoid the costly and time-consuming exemption route then give us a call!

epc warehouse and workshop in barking

EPC Case Study: Warehouse and Workshop in Barking

Warehouse and Workshop EPC in Barking

These two commercial units were having their leases renewed and as part of this process required an EPC. As you may be aware, as part of the MEES legislation any properties with new leases need an EPC, and furthermore require at least an E rating to be rentable.


Pricing the Barking units

The units were around 150m², with only a few zones in each. This means we priced both the warehouse and workshop at £140+ VAT each. The good news is that this is pretty common; most warehouses and workshops are not complicated buildings, so even larger buildings will not be as expensive as a similar sized office or retail unit.


Do workshops and warehouses need an EPC?

If a property is unheated, and wouldn’t generally require heating (like most workshops and warehouses), then an EPC may not be required. We often get asked to provide an EPC even in situations like these however, and this is usually because the bank or solicitor has requested an EPC. It is often easier to get the certificate done rather than try to find a way around it. As we will see, the final rating may be better than you first might think, because of this very fact that it is an unheated space.

epc warehouse and workshop in barking

Heating in warehouses and workshops

Normally with commercial units that have no heating present, the assessor will have to enter a default heating system into the software; the default is electric heating, which lowers the final rating significantly. Fortunately, because warehouses and workshops are often unheated and heating is largely unnecessary, there is an exception in the EPC for them. This means that an unheated space like this can still achieve a good EPC rating, provided the other elements of the building are up to scratch – particularly the lighting.


What did we see on the visit to Barking

The workshop was over 2 floors and was clearly just a workshop with no office or other spaces. The lighting was standard T8 fluorescents throughout and there was no heating or hot water heating in the property. T8 lighting performs well in comparison to halogen and incandescent lighting, but isn’t as good as LED fittings.

Although there was no insulation in the buildings, this was irrelevant. Where there is no heating, there is obviously no need to insulate.


The Final Rating

Both of the Barking units ended up achieving a D rating, which meant they had no issues being rented out to their tenants.


Getting an EPC for a pub

Do you need an EPC for a pub?

If you are planning to sell your pub or indeed let it out, you will require a commercial EPC on the premises. We recommend organising the EPC on the pub prior to marketing the building since it can be an unnecessary hold up further down the line.

If you need an EPC for a pub in the London area, call us at London EPC on 0208 8192166. Over the last 5 years, we have carried out hundreds of commercial EPC assessments on pubs. Our team of qualified energy assessors can fulfil an EPC for a pub normally within 48 hours of first contact.

As part of our service we also include a recommendation report on your Pub, these reports can assist both the owner and prospective purchaser/tenant to understand the recommendations within the governments recommendations report.

Obviously the by their very nature, the layout of pubs in London is very diverse, however our assessors tend to be able to complete the commercial EPC on the pub within 2 hours and then get the report back to you next day.

We also now that pubs tend to busy places – our assessors will carry out the EPC survey on the pub with the minimum of fuss, trying to minimise disruption for staff.

How much does a commercial EPC on a pub cost?

It is very difficult to pin down a price, just because each pub is different from the next. Pubs are often pretty old, and sometimes unusually-shaped, as they’ve been changed and re purposed over the years. These non-standard layouts mean there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ estimate for the cost of surveying a pub, and it can be tricky to quote for.

For the reasons above, getting a commercial EPC on a pub can be pricey – but we will make sure to give you the fairest price possible. If you have rooms above the pub, this will add to the cost. The reason is that EPCs must be ‘zoned’, so each room and each en suite will be a separate zone in the software. Surveying, and then inputting all this information into the report software, is a time-consuming process, so the more rooms you have, the more expensive the EPC will be.

So if you need a quote for a pub EPC, make sure to send us as much info as possible! Any floor plans, dimensions or photos will help us to give you an accurate quote.

Our prices for commercial EPC surveys start at £99 + VAT, but for a mid size pub the price will be more likely £180 – 250 + VAT. For a bigger pub the price of the EPC might be a little higher than this.

Our assessor will provide a quote for the EPC prior to the visit and this price will not change regardless of what we encounter when we arrive at the premises, but sometimes these prices are slightly highballed by ourselves to ensure our costs are covered.

To get a more accurate price for both you and us here at London EPC, you can supply us with floor plans prior to us quoting for the commercial EPC survey – then the price will defiantly be more accurate.

So there you have it, if you would like London EPC to carry out a commercial EPC on your pub, please call us. Our assessors are all Government qualified and polite and efficient. We can turn around an EPC for a pub normally within 48 hours from first contact.

Landlords – 5 tips to conform with new energy efficiency legislation

Most landlords will now be aware of the new energy efficiency legislation coming into play in 2018. The legislation is called MEES – which stands for the ‘minimum energy efficiency standard’ and it was introduced in March 2015 by the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015. Most landlords will now be aware of the new energy efficiency legislation coming into play in 2018. The legislation is called MEES – which stands for the ‘Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards’ – and it was introduced in March 2015 by the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.

Basically, this new legislation stipulates that from 1st April 2018, landlords of buildings in scope of the MEES regulations must not renew existing tenancies or grant new tenancies if the building has less than the minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of E.

This means that if they rent a property in the private rental sector it basically needs to have a rating of E or better or else they won’t be able to rent it out!
So, the first thing you need to do is get your EPC rating – this can be found on the first page of the EPC report. It is likely if you are renting your property already, there will be an EPC already lodged on the government software. You can check for this by clicking here and entering your postcode and address.

If there is no valid EPC for your property, you will need to get a new one. An EPC report is valid for 10 years and we have assessors all over the country who can complete the EPC report for you – all at a fixed cost depending on the number of bedrooms – you can find more details on our residential EPC services by clicking here.

Once you have established your EPC rating – this will determine whether or not you need to take any action. So, should the number on the EPC report be 38 or less (i.e. Band F or G) then you will need to improve the energy efficiency of the property in question. If the rating is 39 or more (so band E or better) then you don’t need to do anything else to meet the legislation.

So, should you be in a position where you need to improve the energy efficiency of the property, which energy improvements will give you the biggest bang for your buck?

1. The biggest bang for your buck comes from updating an old heating system – it is pretty easy to gain a double digit improvement by installing a modern heating system. That means new storage heaters or a new condensing gas boiler. Most new boilers come with a 10 years warranty if you opt for a decent make like Worcester Bosch or Valliant – so opt for one of these if funds allow.

2. Swap all the lighting in the property for LED bulbs – this is really cheap to do since an LED bulb can cost as little as £1 now, but should you be hovering on an EPC score of 37 or 38 then it might just get you to a Band E (39 points).

3. Loft insulation is a really easy DIY job. Even if you buy the insulation online, the material prices will work out at just £5-10 per m2. This again can make significant improvements on your EPC score.  It is worth mentioning though if you already have 150mm or more of loft insulation then adding an extra layer of insulation won’t really bring the rating up that much. If you have less than 100mm of loft insulation then this should definitely be considered.

4. There are still a few grants floating around for energy improvements so you can essentially get them installed for free. This is because the Government are very keen for overall energy demand to drop – so our advice here is get cavity wall insulation if possible. This is normally fully funded by ECO funding, and is a quick and easy way to boost the EPC rating on the property – again you can get double digit increases in the EPC rating if you can get this done.

5. The last suggestion might seem a bit strange, but get a decent company in to carry out the EPC survey. A decent surveyor will be able to input specific details about your property giving you potentially a higher rating. For example – did you ever put insulation under the floor, or insulate one particular wall? While most assessors will ignore this, a decent surveyor will be able to enter this detail into the Government approved software which will therefore give a more accurate (and normally higher) energy rating.

If you are interested in getting an EPC carried out on your property, or you would like London-EPC to help improve the energy efficiency of your property portfolio please get in touch. We work with TheGreenAge, which has a network of qualified installers up and down the country all approved and ready to provide quotes for energy improvement works.

Getting an office EPC: What you need to know

Commercial EPCs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes – from small shops to huge warehouses and everything in between. In this blog, we are going to take a look at how office EPCs differ from the norm, and some for the things you need to bear in mind.

Multiple occupancy and office EPCs

Offices, more than any other type of commercial property, tend to have multiple tenants in a building. You could have 10 different companies operating over 10 floors, for example. When organising your EPC, it is really important to decide what parts of the building need the EPC – do all the floors need to be included, or can you just do the EPC on the floor being sold/let? This is something you can discuss with our team over the phone, as it really depends on the purpose of the EPC and the way the building is laid out.

Access is key for an office EPC

The other issue with multiple occupancy properties like this is the question of access. There have been a few times where we visit an office building at the request of the landlord, only to find that some of the companies have not been informed and cannot provide access to their floor/area. This may mean that the EPC cannot be completed, so ensure that all parts of the property are accessible for the assessor.

This goes for things like the boiler room and air handling units as well. The boiler room may not be accessible for the tenant, so alternative access may be required. The air handling units are often located on the roof, so make sure that the roof is accessible if this is the case.

What rating should you expect with an office EPC?

Offices use a lot of heating and cooling, as well as lighting on a day to day basis. They have a high occupancy, which means they use a lot of space heating and cooling to get the occupants comfortable. If you have efficient lighting, a modern heating and conditioning system, and some insulation present, then you can expect a good rating on the EPC. Usually the easiest way to improve the rating is to add LED lighting in the property, as lighting is used very often in an office environment and the software accounts for this.

How much do office EPCs cost?

This will vary by the size of the office. The best way to get a quote and a great price is to send any plans you have for the building to us – we can then get a very clear idea of what will be involved in the EPC. Prices start at £120 for a small office floor, with some larger office blocks costing several hundred pounds.

How do I get an A on a commercial EPC?

We have looked at how to get an A on a domestic property, but now we take a look at commercial buildings and how to get the energy rating up here.

Typical A-rated property

To give you some idea of a commercial property that reaches an A, you will need the following as a minimum:

  • Current building standard levels of insulation in the walls, roof and floor.
  • Current building standard windows and doors.
  • Documentation proving all of the above meet these criteria, preferably with u-value calculations.
  • Modern heating system with heating controls.
  • LED or equivalent lighting, ideally with a lighting design for the building identifying the wattage and lux values for each space.
  • Some renewable energy installation. The size will be relative to the size of the building.

Getting an A on a commercial property is fairly standard for a new build – it is what’s expected. Retrofitting a property to these levels is going to be very expensive, however.

New Builds and A Ratings

In order to pass their Part L sign off, a new build has to meet some very high energy efficiency standards. We regularly carry out Part L surveys for new builds and can tell you that passing this is pretty much equivalent to getting an A rating. Even where the building regulations have been followed precisely, there are times when we have to go back and forth with the client trying to add every detail into the software in order to get over the line and reach that A rating.

In order to retrofit a building up to these standards, you are going to have to make some very big increases in insulation as well as changes to the heating and lighting in many cases. Solar or wind is going to be required as well, and probably fairly significantly to make up for any areas that cannot be upgraded elsewhere.

Recommendations Report

Just like with a domestic property, we can produce a recommendations report to let you know exactly what you need to do to reach your desired efficiency levels. Because commercial properties are a little more involved, we can produce a more in depth report for you with various scenarios analysed and costed to give you the best path to efficiency.

Is it worth getting a higher rating?

Whilst it is admirable to strive for better energy performance, and savings are likely to be made in many places, you will need to carefully consider how you want to go about any upgrade work. There are several approaches: you can take a purely economic view and only make upgrades that pay for themselves in a given payback period, you could go beyond this and make upgrades that may not payback quickly but will befit the company or building in other ways, such as PR for example, or you could make wholesale changes to the building and incorporate energy saving measures as part of a larger project, making the payback better than with specific standalone upgrades. Again, this can be discussed with an assessor as part of a recommendations report survey.

How can I get an A rating on my domestic EPC?

Getting an A on your EPC is incredibly difficult, and may even be impossible for some properties. In this blog, we want to give you an idea of what it takes to get an A rating on a domestic property, and what, if anything, you can do to get your home near that level.

The average UK rating

The typical property in the UK is rated at around 60, which comes out to a D rating. A B rating requires a score of 81, whilst an A needs 92. New build properties hitting the market today should be up at the A level or just below at B. Most older properties will be much lower than this.

Improving the rating with documentation

If you have an existing property with a low rating, it is sometimes possible that the existing EPC has used some default values in the calculations. This usually happens when an EPC is carried out quickly and with little communication or disinterest from the client. If model numbers and insulation values can be added to the report, then the rating is likely to go up, in some cases by large margins. To add this information, documentation proving what has been installed needs to be made available to the assessor.

Renewable technology

Whilst insulation and model numbers are likely to get you up to a better rating, in order to get the very best ratings there is very little room for poor performance. The following will need to be in place as a starting point to get to the very highest rating:

  • High thicknesses of insulation throughout the property, in the roof, walls and floor. This is essential, and the levels will need to likely surpass even the most stringent building regulations.
  • High performance heating system – you will need either a modern condensing gas boiler with a good control system, or a renewable heating system if you are off grid.
  • Windows will need to be modern double or triple glazing.

All this is likely to get you up to a B rating, if fully installed and documented throughout the building. To get up to an A, you are likely going to need some renewable energy generation – this means solar or wind energy in practicality. If you live in a rural area then wind might be a good option, but for the majority of people solar is the best way to product your own electricity.

Can your EPC go over 100?

In theory, the EPC scale goes up above 100. In practice, there are probably only a handful of properties in the whole of the UK that achieve this sort of rating. They would require considerable renewable generation, creating more energy than the building itself requires to run

Get a recommendations report

If you are in any doubt as to whether the improvements are going to be enough to get to the required rating, you can always get an energy assessor out to carry out an EPC without lodging the resulting report. The information gathered can then be used to work out exactly what is required to get to the desired rating.