Do you need a NABERS rating and a registered Building Energy Efficiency Certificate in respect of your commercial property? This alert takes you through some of the key information.

The Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 came in to operation on 1 November 2010. There has been a 12 month transitional period which ends on 31 October 2011 and therefore building owners will need to ensure they are complying with the legislation from 1 November 2011.

The Act has application to buildings used or able to be used as offices with a net lettable area of more than 2000 square metres*.

Before marketing an affected building for sale or marketing space within such a building for lease the owner (or sublessor in the case of a proposed sublease) must register a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate on the Building Energy Efficiency Register. However, it is not necessary to have a certificate registered in respect of a proposed lease of portion of an office building if the portion being marketed for lease is less than 2000 square metres in area.

The register is run by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

If the building or relevant area of the building is newly constructed, has undergone major refurbishment and a certificate of occupancy has been issued which is less than 2 years old or the building or relevant area is held under a strata title, community title or other body corporate system then the Act does not apply.

There are some further exemptions including where the characteristics of the building mean it is not possible to assign an energy efficiency rating or assess the energy efficiency of lighting in accordance with the assessment methods, but it is necessary to apply for and obtain the relevant exemption.

The NABERS energy star rating of the building or relevant area needs to be disclosed in any advertisement about the sale, lease or sublease of the building or relevant area.

The building energy efficiency certificate must include a NABERS energy star rating for the building, an assessment of tenancy lighting in the area of the building that is being sold or leased and general energy efficiency guidance.

A building energy efficiency certificate remains valid for 12 months from its date of issue.

*In the case of an office building with lettable area of 2000 square metres or more, a building energy efficiency certificate is only needed at this point in time if (1) the building is being offered for sale or (2) an area within the building of at least 2000 square metres in size is being offered for lease (assuming none of the other exemptions apply).