Situations where EPCs are not required

This update has been posted due to uncertainty from clients as to what instances an EPC is required in relation to buildings less than 50 sq m and unconditioned buildings. This snapshot does not represent legal advice and in legal advice should be sought.

A building for the purposes of an EPC

For the purposes of the regulations, a building is defined as “a roofed construction having walls, for which energy is used to condition the indoor climate, and a reference to a building includes a reference to a part of a building which has been designed or altered to be used separately”. In this situation a kiosk unit with no walls in a shopping mall would not require an EPC as it is not considered a building. * Reference Elmhurst Energy/Scottish Government.

The Heating Rule

For a building to fall within the requirement for an EPC it must have a roof and walls and Use energy to ‘condition’ the indoor climate. Services that are considered to condition the indoor climate include heating, mechanical ventilation or air-conditioning. Although the provision of hot water is a fixed building service, it does not “condition the indoor environment” and would not therefore be a trigger for an EPC. The same argument applies to electric lighting.

The ‘conditioned’ rule does not make all buildings without heating exempt from the regulations. Where a building is expected (for instance retail type uses, office or leisure) to have heating, mechanical ventilation or air conditioning installed, it will require an EPC based on the assumed fit out in accordance with the requirements in Section 6 of the Building Regulations.

The 50 sq m Rule

Stand-alone buildings with a total useful floor area of less than 50 sq m do not require an EPC. A stand-alone building is defined as a building that is free standing i.e. entirely detached. Retail tenement buildings with an area of less than 50 sq m are therefore not exempt from the legislation.

A typical example of a building that qualifies for this rule may be a petrol filling station kiosk if the Gross Internal Area is less than 50 sq m.

Low Energy Demand Rule

Workshops and non-residential agricultural buildings with low energy demand.

Buildings that are termed industrial sites and agricultural workshops with low energy demand include buildings, or parts of buildings designed to be used separately, whose purpose is to accommodate industrial activities in spaces where the air is not conditioned.

To be demolished

On sale or rent of a buildings due to be demolished. The vendor or landlord should be able to demonstrate that the building is to be sold or let with vacant possession, the building is suitable for demolition and the resulting site is suitable for redevelopment, there are reasonable grounds to believe that a prospective buyer or tenant intends to demolish the building (eg on evidence of an application for planning permission).

Other exemptions are non-residential agricultural buildings with a low energy demand, ie cow sheds and temporary buildings with a planned time of less than 2 years.


There are very few buildings that do not trigger a requirement for an EPC.

Note: The above relates to the situation in Scotland. An EPC is not required for places of worship in England. The relevant legislation is The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007.