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In brief - Measures apply to all relevant sale, lease or sublease premises

The federal government has recently announced two significant changes to the commercial building energy disclosure regime. The change to lower the disclosure threshold for commercial buildings from 2,000 square metres to 1,000 square metres will take effect in July 2017, but the change to the threshold for Tenancy Lighting Assessment is operative in less than three months. 

Applicable area to decrease, threshold for Tenancy Lighting Assessment to increase 

The commercial building energy disclosure regime has been in place for some time and deals with disclosure of certain information in relation to energy and lighting efficiency rankings for commercial office buildings having an area of greater than 2,000 square metres. 

Two significant changes have recently been announced by the federal government.

The first is that from 1 July 2017, the relevant measures will apply to commercial office buildings having an area of 1,000 (rather than 2,000) square metres.

The second measure is to significantly change the assessment of energy efficiency for Tenancy Lighting Assessment (TLA). TLA now has a threshold change from one to five years and this measure comes into effect from 1 September 2016.

These measures apply to all relevant premises that are being offered for sale, lease or sublease.
Obviously, if a party is a sublessor, it will need to co-operate with the building owner to obtain the information needed to comply with its statutory obligations.

NABERS office energy rating must be included in sale or lease advertising

At the time of advertising space for sale or lease, a current NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating System) office energy rating must be included in all relevant advertising.

The appropriate Building Energy Efficiency Certificate is valid for up to 12 months from issue.

Premises exempted include new and strata title buildings

Certain types of premises are exempted from these requirements as follows:
  • where the owner is not a constitutional corporation
  • where the office space component of the building is less than 75% of the net lettable area of the property
  • if the building is new (i.e. it has been less than two years since an occupation certificate has issued)
  • if the building is a strata title building
  • if a lease arises by virtue of an exercise of an option
Documentation is required to obtain the NABERS performance rating which looks at energy efficiency measured over a 12 month operational period.

Building owners should be gathering energy efficiency information, particularly if planning to sell or lease

Whilst the change with respect to the area to which the rate the energy efficient disclosure regime applies is 12 months away, the new TLA is operative in less than three months. 

In addition, as energy efficiency information needs to be gathered over a 12 month period, you have to start planning now where there is a likelihood of sale or leasing of commercial office premises over 1,000 square metres from 1 July 2016.

This is commentary published by Colin Biggers & Paisley for general information purposes only. This should not be relied on as specific advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories. © Colin Biggers & Paisley, Australia 2024.

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