Buying or Selling a Pharmacy and the importance of Asbestos Management, EPC and Fire Risk Assessment

There are several legal requirements that pharmacists must comply with, however the below relate to those that affect the use and occupation of the pharmacy property itself and are important to consider when buying or selling a pharmacy. Pharmacists are required to comply with all of the below. So, if you are looking to sell your pharmacy, please note that any purchaser will insist on evidence of compliance of the below before the sale completes and vice versa, if you are looking to buy a pharmacy, please ensure that you obtain evidence of compliance before you complete the purchase.

Asbestos Management

  • Is there a statutory requirement?

    • Yes, under s. 4 Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.

    • Requirements to be managed by the “duty-holder”, i.e. the pharmacist.

  •  What is the requirement?

    • Take reasonable steps to ascertain presence of asbestos in the pharmacy; if there is, where and what condition it is in;

    • Presumption of presence of asbestos until the contrary is proven;

    •  Keep an up-to-date record of location and condition of asbestos and/or material containing it;

    • Risk assessment of anyone exposed to asbestos from contaminated materials;

    • Prepare a detailed plan of risk management of contaminated materials;

    • Take necessary steps to put risk management plan into action;

    • Keep the plan up-to-date through periodical review; and

    • Keep anybody involved with the materials informed about their location and condition.

  • Time Frames

    •  Update asbestos register whenever work on asbestos materials is carried out; and

    • Check these materials at least once a year to make sure they have not changed condition/deteriorated.

    • Failure to comply constitutes a criminal offence with penalties ranging from a fine up to £20,000 and up to six months imprisonment.

EPC – Energy Performance Certificate

  • Is there a statutory requirement?

    • Yes, under The Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012.

  • What is the requirement?

    • Duty to put the EPC rating in any adverts of the sale or letting of the property;

    • Make valid EPC available to prospective buyer/tenant. This includes where a pharmacist sublets part of their property;

    • EPC must be displayed in a property which:

      o   is not a dwelling and is not an exempt property;

      o   has a total useful floor are of more than 500 sqm; and

      o   is visited frequently by the public.

    • EPC must be displayed in a prominent place, where it is clearly visible to members of the public who visit the property.

       

Time Frames.

  • Valid for 10 years;

  • No obligation to obtain a first EPC for existing property which is neither being sold, rented out, or significantly altered;

  • No obligation to obtain EPC just because the existing one is more than 10 years old;

  • No obligation for landlord to replace expired EPC if there is no change of tenant;

  • When property is marketed:

    o   Obtain EPC within 7 days of property first being put on the market;

    o   If impossible, EPC must be issued within a maximum of 21 extra days, with no further extensions allowed.

  • ·Failure to comply with the regulations when selling or renting a pharmacy is generally set at 12.5 per cent of the rateable value of the pharmacy, with the minimum penalty being £500 and the maximum, £5,000.

Fire Risk Assessment

  • Is there a statutory requirement?

    • Yes, fire safety duties are set out in the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

  •  What is the requirement?

    • Pharmacists are responsible for fire safety in relation to both the internal and external areas of the pharmacy.

    • Under Part 2 Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005:

o Take out general fire precautions;

o Produce a fire risk assessment of the property and keep it up-to-date;

o  Make and give effect to fire safety arrangements;

o  Take measure for fire-fighting and fire detection;

o  Ensure that property, fire safety equipment, emergency routes, and exits are maintained and in order;

o  Appoint competent persons to help discharge duties;

o  Provide information and safety training to employees;

o  Assess risks coming from any dangerous substances at the property and reduce them.

Time Frames.

  • There is no grace period for the responsible person in relation to general fire safety duties;

o   Responsible person is defined as:

  • The employer in workplaces, if workplace is under his control, or

  • Person in control of the property and in control of own trade, business, or other undertaking, or

  • The owner, if person in control of property has no control over trade, business, or other undertaking.

  • Obligations start as soon as the responsible person takes ownership, occupation, or control of the property.

Disclaimer

This content is not intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice or opinions. No recipients of content from this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of content of the site without seeking appropriate legal advice.