Australia: More commercial buildings to be captured by energy efficiency disclosure legislation

Last Updated: 1 December 2016
Article by Fiona David

More commercial buildings to be captured by energy efficiency disclosure legislation

Services: Property & Projects
Industry Focus: Property

What you need to know

  • The Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 (Cth) came into force in 2011, establishing a regime under which the energy efficiency of certain commercial buildings must be disclosed in a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC).
  • The regime is being updated, with one of the most critical changes being the reduction of the net lettable area threshold that will trigger the need for a BEEC to be provided; the result is that many commercial buildings which previously were not caught by the legislation will now be captured.
  • Owners of commercial buildings should assess their buildings/properties to determine whether they need to comply with the updated regime, and if so, be prepared to disclose the documents that will be required for a BEEC.

Many commercial building owners will be aware of their obligations under the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 (Cth) (Act), which commenced in 2011. What some commercial building owners might not know is that certain aspects of the energy efficiency disclosure regime established by the Act are changing.

The regime that has been in place since 2011 means that before an owner sells, leases or advertises a building or area in a building:

  • which has a net lettable area exceeding 2,000 square metres
  • where 75% or more of the net lettable area is being used for administrative, professional or similar information-based activities, including any support facilities for those activities
  • is over two years old (Disclosure Affected Premises).

The owner must disclose a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC). A BEEC has three components:

  • a National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) energy rating (exclusive of Green Power) disclosing energy efficiency ratings of the building or part of the building
  • a CBD tenancy lighting assessment
  • general energy efficiency guidance materials.

So what is it about this regime that is changing?

Commercial Building Disclosure Program

The Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program is an initiative of the Council of Australian Governments, established by the Act. It is in place to ensure energy efficiency information is provided to potential tenants and buyers of Disclosure Affected Premises, and it provides an incentive for Australia's larger buildings to improve their energy efficiency.

The CBD Program is being updated. While some changes are yet to take effect, others have already come into play for commercial building owners caught by the energy efficiency disclosure regime.

The most critical change for all commercial building owners to be aware of is that there will soon be a lower net lettable area threshold for buildings required to disclose a BEEC. This means that some building owners who have previously not been affected by the energy efficiency disclosure regime will now need to familiarise themselves with their obligations.

The table below summarises the changes and the impact that the Australian Government anticipates these changes will have:

Disclosure obligation Original position Revised position Impact anticipated by Australian Government1

Threshold net lettable area for BEEC

From 1 November 2011, 2,000m2

From 1 July 2017, 1,000m2

  • A reduction in emissions by a further 3.5 million tonnes over a five year period
  • More than $50 million in energy savings
  • Information disclosure between landlords / tenants and vendors / purchasers which means:
    • Purchasers and tenants can take into account the costs and other factors associated with the energy efficiency of the premises when making a purchase or leasing decision
    • Vendors and landlords are incentivised to promote greater energy efficiency levels
Tenancy Lighting Assessment Before 1 September 2016, 1 assessment must be conducted each year From 1 September 2016, 1 assessment must be conducted every 5 years
  • An estimated reduction of 24% in Tenancy Lighting Assessment costs for building owners
Equipment Energy Efficiency (E3) program Upon commencement in 1992, products considered for inclusion in the program varied on the basis of potential benefit to the consumer.

As of June 2016, the Australian Government has created a prioritisation plan, where resources will be focused on the priority products of lighting, non-domestic fans, swimming pool pumps, commercial refrigerated storage and display cabinets, air conditioning, and domestic fridges and freezers.

  • Increases in building and appliance energy efficiency will lower energy bills for Australian households and businesses
  • Estimated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by up to 29 million tonnes by 2030.

What do these changes mean for commercial building owners?

In reducing the net lettable area threshold for a BEEC from 2,000m2 to 1,000m2 it is anticipated that a further 1,000 commercial buildings will be captured by the legislation. Commercial building owners need to assess all their assets to determine whether a BEEC is required. Not only is it an offence to sell or lease property without a BEEC if one is required, but even marketing a property or premises for lease or for sale without a BEEC is also an offence if the CBD legislation applies to that commercial building.

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

More information on the CBD Program, including specific disclosure exemptions, can be found at:

Our previous update on the energy efficiency disclosure regime, published when the Act came into force in 2011, can be accessed here.

Key takeaways

Commercial building owners should regularly assess their commercial buildings to determine whether they are Disclosure Affected Premises and to keep records of relevant documents and information to enable NABERS Energy rating and BEEC applications to be made. If a BEEC application must be made and a NABERS assessment is required, the following documents may need to be provided:

  • all 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 building occupants such as tenants' light and equipment and tenants' own air-conditioning
  • documents which verify the net lettable area of the building (such as layout plans).

Commercial tenants should also be aware of these requirements, and recognise that their landlords may require more energy usage information from them in order to comply with disclosure and certification requirements.


1 Based on Australian Government information, including the CBD Program review final report accessible at

This article is intended to provide commentary and general information. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this article. Authors listed may not be admitted in all states and territories

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions