Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act
The Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure("the Act") and accompanying Regulations commenced on 1 July 2010.
The Act prescribes new disclosure requirements which commenced 1 November 2010. The Act also established the Building Energy Efficiency Scheme "Scheme") which provides that:
- Corporations must not offer to sell, lease or sublease disclosure-affected premises without a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate ( "BEEC");
- Corporate owners, lessees and sublessees must provide prospective purchasers, lessees and sublessees with a BEEC upon request; and
- Corporations must not advertise disclosure-affected premises for sale or sublease without including a valid and current Energy Efficiency Rating in the advertisement.
Disclosure-affected buildings are commercial office buildings that:
a. comprise at least 2,000 square metres of space used for the types of activities that would usually take place in a commercial office;
b. are not strata titled; and
c. have been certified for occupation more than 2 years ago (in the case of a new building).
During the first 12 months of the Scheme, a building owner or landlord can register with the Department of Environment Climate Change & Water, and instead of disclosing a BEEC may disclose a National Australian Buit Environment Rating System ("NABERS") base building rating when selling, leasing or subleasing.
However, from 1 November 2011 a full registered BEEC will be required.
On 29 November 2010 additional changes came into effect with the commencement of the Building Efficiencywhich further Disclosure (Disclosure Affected Building) Determination 2010 (No.2) specified the types of buildings that will require a BEEC.
Some of the changes include the following:
1. Mixed use buildings
Mixed use buildings which combine office space with other functions such as warehouses, vehicle centres, hotels or retail outlets are now disclosure affected if the office component of the buildings is 75% or more of the net lettable area of the building.
A building which is 2,000 square metres or more, with less than 75% office space is an exception to the Act and therefore those buildings are not disclosure affected and no action is required.
Owners of buildings that are below the 75% threshold may of course, wish to voluntarily comply with the legislation.
Owners of buildings which have had major refurbishments that will have a substantial effect on the energy performance of the base building will not be required to disclose an Energy Efficiency Rating for 2 years from the date when the certificate of occupancy is issued.
Major refurbishments are those that involve substantial changes being made to the fabric, plant or equipment in the building and require a certificate of occupancy being issued under a law of a State or Territory prior to the building being occupied or reoccupied.
If a building has undergone major refurbishment it is classed as an exception to the Act for two years after the issue of the occupation certificate and no action is required during that time. However, after two years of occupancy, building owners will need to comply with the Act and disclose an Energy Efficiency Rating.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.