New Regulations Introduced Making Commercial Property Owners Improve Energy Efficiency of their Buildings

Author: Ross Leatham
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The Assessment of Energy Performance of Non-domestic Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2016 came into effect on 1 September 2016 making it the responsibility of owners of commercial property to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings on either a sale or the grant of a lease to a new tenant.

The owner of a property which is affected is required to provide any prospective purchaser or tenant with an action plan free of charge. The action plan will be prepared by an adviser as defined in section 63 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 who undertakes the assessment of the energy performance of the building using the data from the Energy Performance Certificate.

The action plan should set out any identifiable ways to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from the building and set out energy improvement aims. The Regulations point to certain potential improvement measures namely:

  • Installing draught stripping to doors and windows
  • Upgrading heating controls
  • Upgrading lighting controls
  • Upgrading low energy lighting
  • Installing an insulation jacket to a hot water tank
  • Installation of insulation in an accessible roof space
  • Replacement of a boiler

These improvement measures only need to be carried out if the energy savings over a 7 year period are more than the cost of the works.  These works need to be carried out within 3.5 years from the date of issue of the action plan.

Alternatively an owner can make arrangements to measure, report and display operational ratings of the building annually.  If an owner chooses this route they must obtain and exhibit a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) in a prominent place in the building and renew it every year.

The Regulations apply to existing non-domestic buildings with a floor area of over 1000 square metres and also units within non domestic buildings that are designed or altered to be used separately with a floor area of over 1000 square metres. There are a few exemptions, however, for example properties that have been improved under the Green Deal, temporary buildings and workshops, buildings that comply with the 2002 Building Standard and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand. No action plan is needed   for the renewal of a lease to the same tenant or where the lease is for less than 16 weeks or where the sale or lease takes place before construction has been completed.

The action plan, DEC and the document of confirmation of improvement must all be registered in the Scottish EPC Register.  The Local Authority can fine an owner £1000 for failure to follow the regulations.

If you are a commercial landlord and need advice on these new regulations please contact Ross Leatham on 0141 552 3422 or by email

About Ross Leatham

Ross graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2004 having spent 6 months of his studies as an international student at the University of Tilburg. He commenced his traineeship with Mitchells Roberton in 2005 and has been with the firm ever since. He is an experienced solicitor dealing in the purchase and sale of both commercial and residential property, acquisition and disposal of businesses, commercial leasing and property finance. He has acted for a wide range of clients including accountants, further educational establishments, hotels, restaurants, veterinary surgeons, dentists and charities. Ross firmly believes that each client is not just a case and he always takes the time to foster a genuine engagement with his clients to best understand their needs in order to provide focused commercial advice and pragmatic solutions to their problems. Ross only wishes he could find as an effective solution to enhance the performance of his beloved hockey team, East Kilbride. Email:

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