Commercial Building Disclosure Has Arrived

The Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 (Cth) (the Act) commenced on 1 July 2010 as part of the Federal Government’s national initiative on advancing energy efficiency. PETER LOVETT from Green Pass explains the implementation of the scheme – the transition period begins on 1 November this year.

Commercial property owners and managers must now prepare for new disclosure obligations and start to take action to ensure their buildings meet the Act’s requirements. The Act is implemented through the Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) program – a national program designed to improve buildings’ energy efficiency and provide greater transparency in the marketplace by ensuring that credible energy efficiency information is available to prospective purchasers and lessees of commercial office spaces. The Act requires owners and lessors of affected commercial premises to obtain and register a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC) before initiating any sales or leases of a building or tenancy. Disclosure must be made in all advertising material and made available to all potential buyers, tenants and sub-tenants when requested.

Transition Period Requirements

There will be a transition period for the first 12 months of the CBD program (1 November 2010 – 31 October 2011), during which building owners and lessors can satisfy their disclosure obligations by registering a current National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) energy rating instead of a full BEEC.

Full BEEC Requirements

From the end of the transitional period (i.e. from 1 November 2011), a full, valid BEEC must be disclosed and made publicly accessible on the Building Energy Efficient Register. The BEEC, which is valid for 12 months, must be prepared by an accredited assessor and

  • a NABERS energy rating
  • a tenancy lighting assessment (benchmarked against best practice)
  • general energy efficiency guidance.

Who Must Disclose?

The Act requires disclosure from:

building owners who sell or lease an office with a net lettable area (NLA) of 2000 square metres or greater
building owners who sell a whole building with a NLA of 2000 square metres or greater
tenants who sub-lease a space with a NLA of 2000 square metres or greater
building owners who sell an office area less than 2000 square metres, though part of building with a NLA of 2000 square metres or greater.

Exceptions and Exemptions

The Act prescribes exceptions and exemptions from the requirements of the CBD program. Initially, disclosure obligations do not apply in the case of:

  • newly constructed office buildings where the certificate of occupancy is less than two years old
  • strata titled buildings
  • short-term leases of 12 months or less.

The Act provides for several circumstances of exemption. An application for exemption from a CBD obligation can be made in writing (for a fee) to the secretary of the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.


NABERS is a performance-based rating system for existing buildings (including offices, hotels, shopping centres) managed by the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW). A NABERS rating (calculated as a 0-5 Star rating) is an assessment of a range of operational benchmarks including energy, water, waste and indoor environment quality.

The Process – What to Expect

A NABERS assessor conducts off-site and on-site data collection and validation and performs quantitative is collated for submission to the DECCW and a certified rating result is issued.

Preparing for a NABERS Rating

Generally, well maintained, energy efficient infrastructure will achieve the best rating outcomes and reduce costs. Heating, cooling and lighting will be among the first items to be addressed. NABERS data collection process is dependent on the availability and validity of information provided, so for building owners advanced preparation of information and ensuring good record keeping procedures are pivotal to a cost effective and streamlined rating process. This will avoid delays in any planned sale or lease transactions. CBD Shop UK

By Admin

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