Attention Commercial Landowners!

By Naomi Schulte • In Commercial LawComments Off on Attention Commercial Landowners!

Commercial building owners should be aware of their obligations under the energy efficiency disclosure regime that has been established by the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 (Cth) (“Act”).  This regime provides that the energy efficiency of certain commercial buildings must be disclosed in a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (“BEEC”).

WHAT IS A BEEC?

A BEEC is made up of the following components:

1. National Australian Built Environment Rating System (“NABERS”) energy rating

This system measures the environmental performance and sets out energy efficiency ratings of buildings and tenancies.  In arranging a NABERS assessment, building owners may need to provide:

  • Utility bills (electricity, gas, LPG, coal, oil) for the previous 12 months;
  • Data related to energy consumption by all central services such as common lighting, lifts and air conditioning;
  • Data related to energy consumption by tenants e.g. lights, equipment and air-conditioning; and
  • Documents that verify the net lettable area of the building.23

2.Tenancy lighting assessment

This assessment measures the power density of the installed general lighting system of the building by calculating the lighting power density of the functional space in the building and the capacity of installed lighting control systems.

3. General energy efficiency guidance materials

WHEN MUST A BEEC BE DISCLOSED?

A BEEC must be disclosed before an owner sells or leases a property or advertises a property for sale or lease that has a Disclosure Affected Premises.  A property will have a Disclosure Affected Premises where:

  1. It has a net lettable area of 2,000 square metres or more (which will be changing to 1,000 square metres or more from 1 July 2017);
  1. 75% or more of the net lettable area is used for administrative, professional or similar information based activities; and
  1. The building is over two years old.

ARE THERE ANY EXEMPTIONS?

Certain buildings are exempt from these disclosure requirements, including new or substantially refurbished buildings, strata-titled buildings and mixed use buildings where total office space comprises less than 75% of the net lettable area of the building.

CHANGES IN 2017

As set out above, the area threshold of a Disclosure Affected Premises is being lowered from 2,000 square metres to 1,000 square metres as at 1 July 2017.  This means that owners and lessors of smaller commercial buildings may be affected by the energy efficiency disclosure regime.

CONSEQUENCES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE

Failure to comply with the Act can attract civil penalties of up to $180,000 for the initial act of non-compliance and up to $18,000 for each subsequent day of non-compliance.  The Department of the Environment and Energy is also entitled to issue infringement notices to offenders of up to $18,000 for the first day and up to $1,800 for each subsequent day of non-compliance.

RECOMMENDED ACTION

We recommend that owners of commercial buildings assess their properties to determine whether they need to comply with the regime, taking into consideration the changes as at 1 July 2017.

For more information or advice in relation to the regime, including disclosure requirements and specific disclosure exemptions, please contact us on (07) 5597 3336 or email nschulte@belllegal.com.au

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