Section 63 Action Plans

Section 63 Action Plans – Legislation

Commercial energy assessment legislation in Scotland has changed with effect from the start of September 2016 with the introduction of measures set out in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009.  The changes have serious implications for owners of commercial buildings, their tenants and agents alike as the Scottish Government seeks to enforce implementation of improvement measures to the energy performance of existing commercial buildings.  The responsible parties will be compelled to address building energy issues within a fixed timescale and fines are set to be imposed on those who fail to comply.

In its initial phase the legislation demands that, where qualifying commercial buildings exceed 1,000 m2 GIA, a Section 63 Action Plan be obtained.  This new document will be in addition to the existing requirement for an Energy Performance Certificate or EPC.  It will also require preparation and lodgement on the public register prior to the commencement of any marketing for sale or lease.

What is a Section 63 Action Plan and how do I obtain one?

Section 63 Action Plans are documents that are developed by further review of the output data from EPC software by commercial energy assessors that have completed additional training and accreditation.  DHKK assessors are fully qualified and accredited to provide this service.  The Action Plan will contain a list of improvement measures whose implementation will set the reduction targets for the building’s emissions and energy consumption.

The Action Plan is initially produced in draft for agreement with the building owner or person responsible for its commission.  At this point the person responsible is required to choose between two options:

  1. Reviewing, refining and adopting the Action Plan with acceptance of liability for improvement measures that will be completed within a period of 3.5 years (42 months). There is no requirement for the person responsible to implement the improvement measures prior to marketing but the Action Plan must be made available to prospective tenants or owners in order that they may implement the changes.
  2. Electing to set aside the Action Plan and opt instead for annual assessment of the Operational Rating of the building until such time as a future Action Plan is agreed and implemented. Where the responsible person elects to follow this route a Display Energy Certificate (DEC) must be produced.  NB electing to take the DEC route to compliance is only valid if selected, prepared and published within 12 months of the first Action Plan being produced.

Exemptions to Section 63 Obligations

There are a number of categories of building that are exempt from Section 63 and do not require preparation of an Action Plan for marketing to be undertaken.

Alternatives to Prescriptive Action Plan Improvement Measures

Where the responsible person elects to adopt and refine an Action Plan, they may choose to replace some or all of the prescriptive improvement measures listed in the draft Action Plan with alternative measures.  Replacement of prescriptive measures with optional measures is conditional on the resulting package of measures achieving savings in CO2 emissions and energy consumption that are equal to or better than the Target Savings identified in the draft Action Plan.