Australian Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Law Imminent

AUSTRALIAN landlords who are selling or letting large office spaces, must comply with the Commonwealth Government's building energy efficiency disclosure laws by the start of next month.

This measure means that many commercial building owners proposing to sell or let large office spaces must provide not only a NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating System) Energy rating but also an assessment of tenancy lighting and prescribed energy efficiency guidance - a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) from November 1.

The Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 has been in force since 1 November 2010, but only in transitional mode. It's the centrepiece of the Government's Commercial Building Disclosure Scheme.

An owner or tenant cannot offer to sell or lease a building for more than 12 months, either a whole building which is used or capable of being used as an office and has a net lettable area of 2000m2 or more, unless they have a valid and current BEEC registered with the Building Energy Efficiency Register.

A BEEC is required from the day the building/space is first offered for sale or lease, until the time when it is no longer offered for sale/lease. This includes the requirement that all advertisements must display the energy efficiency rating for that building in the applicable BEEC.

There are two pre-requisites to obtain a BEEC:

  • A current NABERS energy for offices rating,
  • A current lighting assessment for the building/tenancy,
  • BEEC will also contain a general energy efficiency guidance statement.

A BEEC is valid for up to 12 months, but is only valid during the time that both the NABERS energy rating for offices and the lighting assessment remain current. The moment one ceases the BEEC ceases validity.

With this in mind, vendors and landlords should need to consider how long it may take to sell or lease the premises, and whether their NABERS rating or lighting assessment will expire during the time the office space is offered for sale or lease. Without anticipating this issue, vendors and landlords might find that their BEEC runs out or nears its validity before a purchase or lease has been finalised.

Following industry consultation the Australian Government has made several changes to the way in which the Act operates, to deal with two major concern with the Act, the mixed use buildings (warehouses, medical centres, hotels, retail outlets) and major refurbishments.

Commercial building owners need to act now to improve the energy efficiency of their properties.

Picture of Australia Melbourne Princes Bridge by FreeAussieStock reproduced under CCL.

Friday 14th October 2011


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