The EPC Regulations set out new requirements for owners of non-residential buildings. The EPC Regulations also apply to state organs, but I will focus in this article on the obligations of non-state organs.
First, the EPC Regulations require that the owner of a building must, within two years of the EPC Regulations coming into effect, publicly display an energy performance certificate (“EPC”) at the entrance to their building2.
The second obligation on owners, in terms of the EPC Regulations, is that a certified copy of the EPC must be submitted to the South African National Energy Development Institute (“SANEDI”)3 within three calendar months of date of issue. SANEDI will upload it to a national register.
What is an EPC?
It is, simply put, a certificate that indicates the energy that is consumed by the occupants of the building. Note that valid certificates can only be issued by accredited bodies. Select “Inspection Bodies” on the following link for a list of the SANAS accredited bodies: https://www.sanas.co.za/Pages/index.aspx.
Do the EPC Regulations apply to all buildings?
You may know the book Animal Farm by George Orwell where the mantra is “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”. In the case of buildings, the same principle applies: some buildings are more equal, and the owner must obtain an EPC.
In order to fall within the operation of the EPC Regulations the building must comply with the following three requirements4:
- It must have a certain dominant occupancy classification,
- It must operate to meet a specific need related to the use of the building for two years or more and was not subject to major renovations5 within the last two years, and
- The net floor area is more than 2000m2.
Regulation A20 of the National Building Regulations6 provides for different classes of occupancy of buildings. The buildings affected by the EPC Regulations are the following classifications:
- Entertainment and public assembly7,
- Theatrical and indoor sport8,
- Places of instruction9,
- Offices10 11.
Buildings such as schools, universities, cinemas, banks, and consulting rooms will therefore qualify if all the other requirements are met. When you have a look at the other classifications in Regulation A20 it would mean that buildings like hospitals, places of worship, museums, parking garages, residential homes, etc. are excluded from the operation of the EPC Regulations.
How long do I have to get an EPC?
The EPC Regulations provide for a two-year window period to obtain and submit such a certificate, which means that 7 December 2022 is the deadline for obtaining your building’s EPC. Compliance with the EPC Regulations will be monitored by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy or its representatives.
If you fall short on compliance with the EPC Regulations you will have committed an offence in terms of the National Energy Act, 2008 and can be fined with an amount of up to R5 000 000, or imprisoned for up to five years, or a combination thereof. It is therefore important for all owners of non-residential buildings to ensure that they do not fall foul of these regulations and avoid a costly fine.
Ensuring you comply with all statutory obligations is a key cash flow driver as you don’t want to be paying fines that could impact the operation of your business.
- Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (South Africa). 2020. National Energy Act, 1998 (Act no. 34 of 1998): Regulations for the Mandatory Display and Submission of Energy Performance Certificate for Buildings. (Notice 700). Government Gazette, 43972:3, 8 December 2020.
- Regulation 3(2) of the Regulations
- Regulation 3(2)(a)-(c) of the Regulations
- “Major renovation” is defined as any changes to a building or structural changes that require planning approval from a relevant local authority in terms of the National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, 1977.
- Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (South Africa). 1990. National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act, 1977 (Act no. 103 of 1977): National Building Regulations (Notice R2378). Government Gazette, 12780, 12 October 1990.
- Occupancy where persons gather to eat, drink, dance or participate in other recreation.
- Occupancy where persons gather for the viewing of theatrical, operatic, orchestral, choral, cinematographical or sport performances.
- Occupancy where school children, students or other persons assemble for the purpose of tuition or learning.
- Occupancy comprising offices, banks, consulting rooms and other similar usage
- For a copy of the National Building Regulations follow this link: http://www.saflii.org/za/legis/consol_reg/rutnbrabsa1977693.pdf