Building standards technical handbook 2020: domestic

The building standards technical handbooks provide guidance on achieving the standards set in the Building (Scotland) Regulations 2004. This handbook applies to a building warrant submitted on or after 1 March 2021 and to building work which does not require a warrant commenced from that date.

6.9 Energy performance certificates

Mandatory Standard

Standard 6.9

Every building must be designed and constructed in such a way that:

  1. an energy performance certificate for the building is affixed to the building, and *

c. the energy performance certificate is displayed in a prominent place within the building.


  1. This standard does not apply to:

    1. buildings which do not use fuel or power for controlling the temperature of the internal environment

    2. non-domestic buildings and buildings that are ancillary to a dwelling that are stand alone having an area less than 50 square metres

    3. conversions, alterations and extensions to buildings other than -

      (aa) alterations and extensions to stand-alone buildings having an area less than 50 square metres that would increase the area to 50 square metres or more, and

      (bb) alterations to buildings involving the fit-out of the building shell which is the subject of a continuing requirement, or

    4. limited life buildings which have an intended life of less than 2 years.

  2. Standard 6.9(c) only applies to buildings:

    1. with a floor area of more than 250 square metres

    2. into which members of the public have an express or implied licence to enter, and

    3. which are visited by members of the public on at least a weekly basis

* Standard 6.9(b) removed by the Building (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2008 (

6.9.0 Introduction

Article 12 of Directive 2010/31/EU on the Energy Performance of Buildings requires that, when buildings or building units are constructed, sold or rented out, an energy performance certificate (EPC) or a copy thereof is shown to the prospective new tenant or buyer and handed over to the buyer or new tenant. Standard 6.9 ensures the continued presence of such information for buyers and tenants by also making EPCs fixtures within buildings.

EPCs must be produced in an independent manner and be carried out by qualified/accredited experts. With the exception of EPCs produced in relation to a building warrant applied for before 9 January 2013, EPCs must be produced by members of an Approved Organisation. Scottish Ministers have appointed a number of Approved Organisations (AO) to deliver certification services, with each AO following an Operating Framework which is published on the Building Standards Division website. Information on this framework and Approved Organisations can be found at

Scottish Ministers have directed local authorities to apply Standard 6.9 (a) to existing buildings using Section 25 (2) of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003. The direction limits the description of the buildings to which this standard applies to those that are being sold or rented out, in support of duties imposed by The Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008

Definitions in application of this standard 'energy performance certificate' has the same meaning as given in The Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations 2008

Guidance leaflets are available on the BSD website ( explaining the action that building owners need to take in order to comply.

Conversions - in the case of conversions, as specified in regulation 4 Standard 6.9 does not apply.

6.9.1 Calculating the carbon dioxide emissions for a certificate

The EU Directive allows energy performance to be reflected in one or more numeric indicators. For this to be done in a transparent manner that is meaningful in terms of Scottish building regulations, the measure to be used is carbon dioxide.

Simplified approach - the certification must be carried out using the Directive compliant methodology and the calculation tool which was used to assess compliance with Standard 6.1. In most cases SAP 2012 will have been used for the new dwelling. However if the simplified approach referred to in clause 6.1.6 has been adopted for the new dwelling, the construction specification for the building, as constructed, will require to be input in full to enable generation of the EPC.

Use of actual values - for the purpose of establishing a rating for the energy performance certificate for a new dwelling, the values and specifications used to obtain building warrant (as varied by any subsequent amendments to warrant) should be adopted. Where a domestic building contains multiple dwellings, a rating is required for each individual dwelling. For certification purposes the rating is calculated with the percentage of low energy lighting and the type of heating as installed. Note, there will be no need to assume 10% electric secondary heating if secondary heating is not present.

Non-domestic use within dwellings - accommodation up to 50m2 used by an occupant of a dwelling in their professional or business capacity should be considered as a part of the dwelling.

6.9.2 Information to be provided for buildings

The energy performance certificate must display the following information:

  • the postal address of the building for which the certificate is issued

  • a unique reference number (other than for an EPC produced in support of a building warrant applied for before 9 January 2013)

  • the date of the assessment

  • the date of the certificate

  • the dwelling type

  • the type of assessment used for certification

  • the conditioned floor area of the building

  • the main heating and fuel type

  • a primary energy indicator

  • the current and potential energy efficiency rating expressed on seven band scale representing the following bands of running costs; A, B, C, D, E, F and G, where A = excellent and G = very poor

  • the current and potential environmental impact rating expressed on a seven band scale representing the following bands of carbon dioxide emissions; A, B, C, D, E, F and G, where A = excellent and G = very poor

  • a list of the top applicable recommendations for cost-effective improvements

  • a statement indicating that more detailed information on the recommendations made in the EPC is contained in the recommendations report, and

  • a statement to the effect that the EPC must be affixed to the building and not to be removed unless it is replaced with an updated version.

The recommendations report, which must accompany the EPC, but which does not have to be affixed to the building, includes the following additional information:

  • a summary of the energy performance related features of the dwelling

  • estimated energy costs (based upon standard use patterns), and

  • a list of all improvements identified for the dwelling and further information on each measure.

An example of the EPC and recommendations report is available on the Building Standards Division website.

Cost-effective improvement - there are cost-effective, low-cost, energy efficiency improvements that can be made to most dwellings (when no other work is proposed) such as upgrade insulation in an accessible roof space or fit low energy lamps throughout the dwelling. Measures presented on the certificate and recommendations report must meet Scottish building regulations, relevant to the individual dwelling and should be technically feasible.

Additional advice - a piece of advice that is worthwhile including is that a conservatory (where one is installed) is only an energy efficiency benefit to the dwelling if it remains unheated and is not mechanically cooled.

The recommendations report may give additional advice on protected energy costs and improvements that are cost-effective only when additional work is being carried out e.g. providing insulation when replacing flat roof coverings.

Some experts providing certificates may wish to add extra value and give additional advice to their clients. All of this is welcome, but in every case, such information should be clearly explained in the addendum section of the recommendations report and be accompanied by advice on relevant warrants and building regulations. Sources of further energy saving advice and funding options are also noted in the recommendations report.

6.9.3 Location of an energy performance certificate

The energy performance certificate should be indelibly marked and located in a position that is readily accessible, protected from weather and not easily obscured. A suitable location could be in a cupboard containing the gas or electricity meter or the water supply stopcock.

6.9.4 Conservatories and other stand-alone buildings

For conservatories and for other ancillary stand-alone buildings of less than 50m2 floor area, an energy performance certificate need not be provided. For those buildings of a floor area of 50m2 or more, the guidance in the Non-domestic Technical Handbook should be followed and an additional certificate supplementing the one for the dwelling should be provided.

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