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New climate change regulations under Section 63 - Legislation

Posted: Monday 3 October 2016

Section 63 - Legislation

Section 63 might not mean much to you but if you have a building that is for sale/to let (of more than 1000m2), then one element under the new climate change regulations is that you will have to have an Energy Action Plan. The Mabbett team includes Accredited Section 63 Advisors and if you want some advice on these new regulations, we’d be happy to help you.

Section 63 - Legislation

Under the Section 63 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, the Scottish Government has introduced the ‘The Assessment of Energy Performance of Non-Domestic Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2016’.  These have come into effect on the 1st September 2016.

The new regulations apply to buildings, or separate units within them, with a floor area of more than 1000m2, which are being made available for sale or let. To put this in perspective, the type of building likely to exceed 1000m2 is going to be the largest retail units, such as a High Street department stores, large industrial units, and warehousing and or commercial offices. The regulations also apply only to buildings which do not comply with energy standards set out in Scottish Building Regulations from 2002 – so, modern property or property altered within the last 14 years may not be impacted. This means only a small proportion of the current commercial stock – around 5% or so – will be affected.

Action Plan

Sellers will have to have an Energy Action Plan prepared and act upon that plan. The Action Plan attaches to the property in question rather than the person paying for it. Improvements and associated emissions targets are calculated by a “Section 63 Assessor” using approved software. Within the report there are seven “prescribed improvement measures” listed below:

  • Draught-stripping windows and doors, to reduce heat loss from unwanted ventilation.
  • Upgrading lighting controls to include occupancy or photoelectric sensors, if absent.
  • Adding central timer controls to the heating system, if absent.
  • Adding insulation to any hot-water storage cylinder present, if uninsulated.
  • Improving lighting, replacing low efficiency incandescent lamps where present.
  • Improving insulation in poorly insulated roofs, where roof space is accessible.
  • Replacing the boiler if it is older than 15 years

However, there will also be ‘alternative improvement measures’, which the assessor in consultation with the Building Owner can take into account in meeting the target emissions saving.  There is flexibility to take into account measures that may already be planned and timescales for lease expiries or planned common parts works.  Alternative measures may also include introduction of low energy technologies, e.g. solar or thermal PV, wind turbines, ground source heat pumps, etc.

Following consultation on the content of the Action Plan, the Building Owner and Section 63 Assessor then finalises the Action Plan and lodges the Plan with the Scottish Government, via the EPC register.

Timescale for Completion of Action Plans

There is a 3.5 year time period for completion of an Action Plan.  As an alternative, the Building Owner may defer implementation of the Plan by obtaining a Display Energy certificate on an annual basis.  The first DEC must be obtained within the first year after the Action Plan is lodged.

Display Energy Certificates

A DEC is an occupational assessment of energy use in the building.  The production of a DEC will require comprehensive information on metered/billed energy use within the preceding year to show the annual consumption of the building through a 12-month period. The methodology also allows adjustments to be made for longer hours of occupation, variations to weather and climate and allows certain activities to be separate if they are not typical of the type of building. The DEC is then displayed in a prominent place that is clearly visible to those working in or visiting the building, such as a reception area. A DEC maybe accompanied by an Advisory Report. The Advisory Report highlights recommendations to improve the energy performance of the building such as the fabric or the building services, heating, ventilation and lighting. If the landlord wants to continue to defer for another year, a new DEC needs to be carried out.

A useful summary leaflet: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0050/00502919.pdf

A comprehensive guide for building owners: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0050/00503633.pdf

To speak to one of our Accredited Section 63 Advisors for any advice or clarification, please call Kevin MacLennan on 0141 227 2312 or email: maclennan@mabbett.eu.

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