Business

11th hour reprieve for owners who need to obtain building energy performance certificates

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) has extended the deadline for the mandatory display and submission of energy performance certificates (EPCs) for buildings by three years.

The extension has been welcomed by the SA Property Owners Association (Sapoa), which had applied for an urgent interdict suspending the implementation of the National Energy Act regulation that requires non-residential building owners to have EPCs for their buildings. The matter was due to be heard in the Pretoria High Court on Tuesday (29 November).

Ben Groot, a director of GVS Law, Sapoa’s attorney of record for this application, said on Friday the matter will now be removed from the urgent court roll, with costs to be decided at a later stage.

Prior to the DMRE’s announcement, building owners could face a fine of up to R5 million and/or imprisonment for up to five years for failing to obtain and display the EPC for any applicable building by 7 December.

Read:

Sapoa CEO Neil Gopal said on Friday the association “noted with appreciation” that Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe had signed an amendment to the regulations to extend the deadline to publicly display EPCs for three years to 7 December 2025.

The regulations form part of the goals set out in the post-2015 National Energy Efficiency Strategy, which aims to get owners to reduce the energy consumption of their buildings by 16% by 2030 and make them aware of the consumption levels of their buildings.

Gopal said the amendment was gazetted on Friday and gives property owners another three years to comply with the regulations.

He added that the gazette published other proposed amendments to the regulations, with comment due by 25 December, and said the Sapoa team will study the proposed amendments and ensure that its comment is provided timeously.

Guarding against complacency 

Gopal said Sapoa will continue with its efforts to work with the DMRE and to establish the proposed joint technical committee to deal with all the other technical matters raised by its members.

“Sapoa once again reiterates its call on the property industry to continue supporting various climate change initiatives and to continue with projects which reduce greenhouse [gas] emissions in support of government’s obligations to comply with COP26 commitments.”

Read:

The South African National Energy Development Institute (Sanedi), which administers the national building energy performance register, confirmed earlier this month that more than 450 certificates have been issued to date but this represented only a fraction of the 250 000 to 350 000 buildings that need to ensure they are compliant.

Compliance challenges

Sapoa had highlighted in discussions with the DMRE and Sanedi many of the practical issues experienced by its members that made compliance with the regulations more difficult, or might even prohibit members from obtaining EPCs.

These include:

  • To date, only nine inspection bodies have been accredited with the last such body having been accredited as late as 12 September 2022;

  • The portal for the uploading of EPCs on Sanedi’s website is currently non-operational, which means it is impossible for landlords to submit their EPCs to Sanedi as required.

  • A very limited number of EPCs have been issued to date, and a conservative estimate of the number of buildings still requiring certificates meant the nine accreditation bodies would each have had to issue at least 472 EPCs a day, seven days a week before the 7 December 2022 deadline, which impossible.

Sapoa also highlighted a number of technical problems.

A shopping centre or mall is not required to have an EPC under the current regulations.

Occupancy classes that are subject to the EPC process are entertainment and public assembly, theatrical and indoor sport, places of instruction, and offices.

Buildings that are subject to the EPC process:

  • Public sector buildings greater than 1 000m2;

  • Private sector buildings greater than 2 000m2;

  • Buildings that have been in operation with a particular use for a minimum of two years; and

  • Buildings with no major renovations carried out for the past two years of operation.

Listen to Suren Naidoo’s interview with GBCSA CEO Lisa Reynolds in this episode of The Property Pod, on the exponential growth of green building (or read the highlights here):


Source link

Related Articles