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Assessing and improving our existing non-domestic buildings – section 63 of The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009


This page contains information on regulations made under section 63 of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 - The Assessment of Energy Performance of Non-domestic Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2016.  These regulations apply to owners of non-domestic buildings and require action to assess and improve energy efficiency and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with their building.

When do the regulations apply?

Regulations apply from 1 September 2016. They apply to larger buildings, those with a floor area of more than 1,000 m² and are triggered by either sale or by lease to a new tenant. Generally, owners of such buildings also require to provide a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) in such situations.  Buildings that meet energy standards equivalent to those introduced by the 2002 building regulations (these buildings are already reasonably energy efficient); or are already improved via a Green Deal (a UK Government funding mechanism) are exempted from the regulations.

What do the regulations require?

Where the regulations apply, the owner of the building must undertake further assessment to produce an ‘Action Plan’ which identifies targets for improvement of the carbon and energy performance of the building and how these targets would be met through physical improvements to the property.  Once an Action Plan is finalised, the owner can chose to improve or to defer the improvements by reporting operational energy ratings (actual measured energy use via a Display Energy Certificate or ‘DEC’) on an annual basis. All Action Plans and DECs are lodged to the Scottish EPC Register.

As is the case with an EPC, the Action Plan must be made available to prospective buyers or tenants and provided to the new owner or tenant.  Provision of the Action Plan is all that is required to enable marketing of the property. Building on the existing EPC assessor role, the Action Plan will be produced by persons also registered as a ‘section 63 advisor’ , who have demonstrated competence in the assessment procedure and the provision of improvement advice to building owners.

Requirements are discussed in detail in the document ‘Improving Energy Performance and Emissions in existing Non-Domestic Buildings– a guide for owners’, available via the link below.

Where can I find further information

Additional guidance on a range of topics, such as roles and responsibilities, software tools and systems and ‘frequently asked questions’ is published below.

If, after reading this information, you have further questions, these may be directed to buildingstandards@gov.scot (please use ‘Section 63’ as the email subject) or, by telephone, to 0131 244 6639.


Administrative documents

Technical documents


Background to policy  - The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009

As part of its contribution to the international effort required on climate change, the Scottish Government is committed to achieving an 80% reduction in Scotland’s emissions by 2050 and a 42% reduction by 2020 through The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 which received Royal Assent on 4 August 2009. Section 63 of the Act requires regulations to be made for:

  • the assessment of the energy performance of existing non-domestic buildings and greenhouse gas emissions from such buildings; and

  • for building owners to take steps to improve the energy performance of, and reduce emissions from, such buildings.

Following consultation undertaken between 2011 and 2013, regulations were laid in draft in Parliament on 18 January 2016, and passed on 8 March 2016.  Previous consultation documents on both ‘Section 63: Energy Performance of existing non-domestic buildings: Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009’ and ‘Regulations for section 63, Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009’ remain available on the Building Standards Division consultation webpage.

Related action and policies within Scotland and the rest of the UK

Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP)

Energy efficiency is fundamental to Scotland meeting its climate change targets. Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) will be at the heart of activities led by the Scottish Government and its partners to improve the energy efficiency of all buildings (domestic and non-domestic) in Scotland over the next 15 – 20 years.  Further information on SEEP is available at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Business-Industry/Energy/Action/lowcarbon/LCITP/SEEP

Scotland - Existing dwellings

Similar policy to require assessment and improvement of existing dwellings under section 64 of the Climate Change (Scotland( Act is also being developed. The Scottish Government has implemented the Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing (EESSH) and is currently developing proposals for consultation on the Regulation of Energy Efficiency in the Private Sector (REEPS).

Elsewhere - The UK Energy Act

Action to improve the energy and emissions performance of existing buildings in England & Wales is addressed through the UK Energy Act.

Chapter 2 of the UK Energy Act 2011 contains provisions on energy efficiency of properties offered for let only in the private rented sector in England & Wales. Regulations must be made before 1 April 2018 setting a minimum energy performance for buildings which must be met before letting, based upon the requirement to improve being achievable under the GB Green Deal or an alternative financial arrangement.  Following consultation in 2014, the UK Department for Climate Change has implemented a minimum energy efficiency standard for private rented sector properties within Part 3 of The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.

Chapter 3 of the UK Energy Act 2011 repeats the provisions of Chapter 2 for Scotland but as enabling powers, not requirements.  In implementing minimum energy standards for existing buildings, Scottish Ministers have chosen instead to use the earlier, broader powers under sections 63 and 64 of our own Climate Change Act rather than those offered by The Energy Act.  Action on non-domestic buildings is delivered through The Assessment of Energy Performance of Non-domestic Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2016 and the information and advice published here, at www.gov.scot/section63.