The position regarding Building Energy Efficiency Certificates (BEEC) in Australia is in a transition phase as a result of changes to the Commercial Building Disclosure Program (CBDP), which exists under the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010. Currently, lessors are required to provide energy efficient information when they lease or sell commercial office space of 2,000 square metres or more. This position is set to change on and from 1 July 2017. The threshold will be reduced to 1,000 square metres. Given that commercial buildings consume a great deal of energy, the aim of this change is primarily to promote the energy efficiency objectives of commercial office buildings and to better inform potential buyers and lessees of the energy efficiency of a given commercial office space which they may be considering buying or leasing. On a larger scale, this change to the BEEC threshold is being implemented to aim to reduce greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere. An estimated $50 million in energy savings is what the government hopes to achieve by implementing these changes to the CBDP over a five-year period.
Important note: A BEEC must also be applied for by a lessee who intends to sublease part of its premises comprising 2,000 square metres or more.
Quick Facts about BEEC – What lessors need to know?
On and from 1 July 2017, a lessor must obtain a BEEC for any commercial office it intends to sell or lease with an area of 1,000 square metres or more;
The BEEC must be obtained prior to the building being listed for sale or lease;
A BEEC is valid for up to one year and includes a NABERS energy rating (valid for one year or less) and a Tenancy Lighting Assessment (TLA);
BEEC must be applied for annually (along with NABERS energy rating). Note that on and from 1 September 2016, TLAs are now valid for five years (prior to September 2016, these were also only valid for 12 months); and
A BEEC must be available to be given to a prospective buyer or lessee at the time of sale or lease of the property and NABERS information must be incorporated in any advertisements for the sale or lease.
It is important to note that some buildings are excepted from the CBDP, for example strata-titled buildings or new buildings with an occupation certificate which has not been issued (along with other exceptions).
Application for a BEEC – What lessors need to know?
If you are required to obtain a BEEC (i.e. selling or leasing office space more than 2,000 square metres, or more than 1,000 square metres on and from 1 July 2017), some of the information and documents that will be relevant for your application will include (but not limited to):
Energy bills for the building (12-month period);
Tenancy documents for the building;
Survey plans for the building setting out the NLA of the building; and
Information regarding meters for the building, energy consumption of tenants.
An application for a BEEC must be made by engaging the services of an accredited Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) assessor. A register of accredited assessors can be accessed via: http://cbd.gov.au/registers/find-a-cbd-accredited-assessor. The assessor will carry out the NABERS assessment and the TLA and will make the BEEC application to the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy on behalf of the lessor. The costs for the assessor will be dependent upon the specifics of the particular building (e.g. size). It can take up to 28 days for a BEEC application to be processed and approved. Before applying for a BEEC, a lessor should check if the building already has a BEEC. To access this information, please visit: http://cbd.gov.au/registers/find-a-rated-building.
For further information on anything in the above article, please contact Mike Ellis on (02) 9261 5900.