Since the 1st of September 2016, building owners of commercial properties in Scotland have been required to undertake a ‘Section 63 Action Plan’ for energy efficiency improvements. The Section 63 regulations require the energy performance and greenhouse gas emissions of non-domestic buildings in Scotland to be assessed, and steps taken to reduce carbon emissions and improve the overall energy performance. The legislation was brought in to address the many commercial properties throughout Scotland that were running in a less than environmentally friendly way and in response to growing concerns over climate change.
What exactly is an Action Plan?
An Action Plan is produced to meet the regulations set out by Section 63. It is required on top of an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). As is the case with an EPC, the Action Plan must be made available free of charge to all prospective tenants or buyers, and passed onto the new owner or tenant. The Action Plan identifies targets to reduce carbon emissions and gives advice on what improvement measures can be made to the property in order to meet these targets.
An Action Plan can only be produced by someone registered as a ‘Section 63 Advisor’ – someone who has demonstrated competence in the assessment procedure and the provision of improvement advice to property owners. The Action Plan is finalised with the building owner. Once agreed, it is lodged to the Scottish EPC register.
Once you have the Action Plan for your property, you’ll have 42 months to carry out the improvements to meet the targets set in the first action plan. If you don’t wish to make the changes in the set 42 months, then you can defer improvements by lodging a Display Energy Certificate (DEC). This must be lodged with the property yearly right up until the improvements are made.
Once the improvements are completed, a new EPC and Action Plan are produced. These are lodged on the Scottish Central Register to provide evidence that the building owner has met the requirements of the Section 63 regulations.
Who does it affect?
The new regulations apply to any applicable buildings in Scotland. Properties that are non-domestic and over 1000m2 have to provide both an EPC and an Action Plan. The Action Plan must be provided upon sale and rental, and contain a 42 month time scale improvement plan for the property. Anyone who owns or lets a non-domestic property over 1000m2 must therefore have an Action Plan. This is the case for all commercial buildings in Scotland. Property owners can find out more about Section 63 and check if the building regulations apply to them here.
Are there any exceptions?
The following buildings qualify for an exemption from the legislation:
- Buildings that have a floor area of less than 1000m2.
- Buildings that have met or exceed the equivalent energy standards of the 2002 Scottish building regulations.
- Temporary buildings – those with an intended life of 2 years or less.
- Prisons and young offender institutions.
- Buildings participating in the Green Deal scheme.
What happens if I don’t comply with the regulations?
Failure to provide an up-to-date Action Plan upon sale or rent, or failure to carry out the recommended improvement measures within the required timescale, could result in a £1000 fine for each failure.
Are there any other benefits of having an Action Plan?
Aside from staying compliant and avoiding expensive fines, an Action Plan can also help you save money. The most obvious way in which an Action Plan helps you to save money is by indicating ways in which you can make your property more energy efficient. This may include measures such as replacing old insulation or inefficient lighting. The more energy efficient your property is, the less energy you use and the less money you have to spend on utility bills.
Section 63 Action Plans basically ensure continual improvements in terms of energy efficiency for all commercial properties over 1000m2. With the right advisor, an Action Plan can be produced quickly and be hassle-free. Having an up-to-date Action Plan will make sure that you comply with regulations, and advice on how to improve your properties energy performance will also save you money in the long run.
Contact us today to book your survey with one of our fully-qualified energy assessors.