It is fair to say that domestic EPC‘s are pretty well understood – most houses have had one carried out by now because quite a few properties have exchanged hands (rented out or sold) as well as being produced for Government approved energy saving funding schemes (Green Deal or ECO). Commercial EPC‘s are less widely carried out, mainly because the reasons for having them crop up much less often, but also the levels of avoidance are much higher (currently being monitored and stamped out by the local authorities).
When is a Commercial EPC required?
You will need a commercial EPC on your premises if you are trying to carry out one of the following:
- Selling the property
- Renting out the property
- Building a property
- Claiming government funding for Feed in Tariff’s
- Signing off the construction of a new build property
Commercial vs. Domestic EPC
The obvious point is that a commercial EPC is carried out an a commercial property rather than residential and there are some fundamental differences in how the survey is carried out.
A commercial EPC looks at how each area of the building is used or ‘zoned’. For example by zoning the property you can allocate the activities such as office space, dining areas, storage or production areas to the EPC report. A domestic assessment purely looks at the fabric of the building – what type of wall and the area of the space with assumptions about activities, average temperature and occupants. This means that a commercial EPC can fundamentally change in value depending on its used, whilst a domestic EPC will not change with different occupiers. Slightly aside unlike a domestic Green Deal Assessment the commercial EPC makes no inferences on energy usage.
Commercial EPCs look into all types of building structures – as long as they have a shell and core and can be conditioned it can be assessed. On the other hand a domestic property always has a bathroom, bedrooms, a living room and kitchen. A commercial property could have any number of different possible rooms, some the size of aircraft hangers and some little cubicles, some heated and some only partially heated. This huge variety makes the assessment process much broader with many more things to consider. It means there is a much wider range of possible heating, ventilation and cooling systems.
Key information on Assessor Qualifications
The variety means that there are assessors for different types of building – the accreditation goes from level 3 to level 5 non-domestic energy assessors. The vast majority of assessors are qualified to level 4, which allows them to produce EPCs for most properties in the country. Level 5 assessors are the only ones allowed to produce certificates on complex properties with large atria and curved structures. For most customers this won’t be an issue, but if you have a very unusual property, you may need to pay more for a level 5 assessor – there aren’t that many around the country as the demand is not very high!
Producing the Commercial EPC output is not the same
The process to produce a commercial EPC is much less automated. Over the years, the domestic EPC has been refined by the various accrediting bodies, and various streamlined software produced to allow the EPC to be carried out quickly and simply. The commercial EPC is currently a smaller market, and that has meant the various software and support has lagged behind. Consequently commercial EPCs are much more time consuming for the assessor and will cost more to produce. You could expect your assessor to be on site for hours, and in some cases may need to revisit another day.
They will also ask for a number of different types of documentation on the building and the building services, so be prepared to provide specs on the HVAC systems, floor plans, planning documentation, details on any renewable installations and any number of other pieces of information that the assessor may not be able to ascertain themselves from a site visit.
Cost of a Commercial EPC
Cost is one really big difference. Domestic EPCs, even for the biggest of properties, should cost well under £100, with some companies offering them for under £50. Commercial EPCs are much more expensive, with starting prices for smaller properties starting at £100-150 and larger properties costing several hundred. The largest and most complex properties could cost you thousands. You are much more likely to find wildly different prices in the commercial sector also, with the competition not quite the same.
Differences in Quality of Commercial EPC Assessors
So there are a few things to consider with a commercial EPC that you wouldn’t have to think about with a domestic assessment. The key thing is to make sure you provide your assessor with as much information as they require, and allow them access to the whole property. This will ensure that you get a more accurate reflection of your property. The more information you provide, the less the assessor will have to assume default values (these are always poor and will produce a much lower rating on your EPC) and the higher your EPC is going to be.
Give us a call if you have any queries about your commercial premises – or simply fill out the form on the top right of the page. We also carry out a fantastic commercial EPC service and we believe you won’t go wrong in choosing London-EPC to be your assessor.