Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Commercial Building Disclosure Program?
The Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program requires energy efficiency information to be provided in most cases when commercial office space of 1000 square metres or more is offered for sale or lease. The aim is to improve the energy efficiency of Australia's large office buildings and to ensure prospective buyers and tenants are informed. The CBD Program is an initiative of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). It was established by the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 and is managed by the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy.
The commercial building sector is responsible for around 10 per cent of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions and this figure is rising. Improving building energy efficiency is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help mitigate climate change.
Why is the reporting threshold being lowered to include smaller buildings?
On 21 June 2016, the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg, announced changes to the CBD Program to lower the mandatory disclosure threshold on commercial buildings from 2000 square metres to 1000 square metres, and increase the Tenancy Lighting Assessment (TLA) validity period from one to five years.
Changes to the program follow a comprehensive review of the CBD Program and public consultation in March 2016, which supported continuing the program and lowering the mandatory reporting threshold to include smaller buildings.
These changes will help inform purchasers and tenants of building energy costs at the point of sale or lease. It is anticipated to deliver more than $50 million in energy savings and around 3.5 million tonnes of emission reductions over five years. The changes to introduce mandatory energy efficiency disclosure on smaller commercial office buildings 1000 square metres and above came into effect from 1 July 2017, following a one year transition period. The changes to the TLA validity period came into effect from 1 September 2016.
What is a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC)?
From 1 July 2017, most sellers and lessors of commercial office space of 1000 square metres and more are required to obtain a BEEC before their building goes on the market for sale, lease or sublease.
BEECs are valid for up to 12 months and include:
- A building's National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Energy for offices star rating
- A TLA of the relevant area of the building.
What is a TLA?
A Tenancy Lighting Assessment (TLA) is an important component of a BEEC. It is based on a methodical survey of the general lighting system reasonably expected to be left in place after the tenant leaves and the tenancy fit out is removed. Where appropriate, a TLA may also cover proposed lighting systems.
It measures the power density of the installed general lighting system of affected buildings by working out the:
- Nominal Lighting Power Density of the relevant functional space in the building
- Capacity of installed lighting control systems
- It may also include a performance comment if appropriate.
Lighting assessments are completed by CBD accredited assessors. For more details, see Tenancy Lighting Assessments.
Changes to the TLA validity period from one to five years took effect for all new TLAs submitted from 1 September 2016. This means that building owners will now enjoy extended validity for their TLAs, which reduces their regulatory burden.
What should I do to prepare for my assessment?
Disclosure affected entities are only required to have a certified BEEC in place when selling, or leasing part of, a building with commercial office space larger than the disclosure threshold of 1000 square metres, unless the building has been granted an exemption/exception from disclosure obligations (see Exceptions and Exemptions and page). A certified BEEC includes both a certified base building or whole building NABERS Energy for Offices rating and a certified TLA. To begin to collect the data needed for these items you can:
- Collect and file all energy (electricity, gas, diesel) bills for your building as you will need 12 months of energy consumption data to complete a NABERS energy rating
- Confirm the metering setup for your building, are tenants and base building/house power separated?
- Confirm if you have certified survey plans showing the net lettable area (NLA) for office tenancies in your building
- Collect leasing documentation for your tenant(s)
- Discuss your specific building/situation with an accredited CBD Assessor.
Please note that completing a certified NABERS energy rating and CBD Tenancy Lighting Assessment (TLA), and then submitting a BEEC application, may take up to eight weeks (or more) from start to certification depending on the individual building circumstances.
Are there any exceptions to disclosure obligations?
Exceptions to disclosure obligations include strata title buildings and buildings which are less than 75% office space. The CBD website contains information on potential exceptions, and the CBD team can be contacted to provide advice on specific situations.
Where can I go to get more information about improving the energy efficiency of my building?
The Department is currently developing an online resource that will provide guidance on improving energy efficiency on commercial buildings. To keep informed of the progress of this online resource, you can subscribe to our newsletter.
Is upgrading my building mandatory?
Building owners are not required to perform upgrades to their building’s energy efficiency under the CBD Program. However, from 1 July 2017, it will be mandatory that owners of commercial office buildings covered under the program to display their building’s NABERS for Offices energy rating on all advertising associated with the sale or lease of that building.
Are other types of buildings being considered for mandatory disclosure?
The CBD Review highlighted options for expansion of the program to other building types. However, there are currently no plans to expand the scope of the program beyond commercial office buildings.
How many buildings/owners will be affected by these changes?
There is poor quality data available for commercial buildings smaller than 2000 square metres, however the CBD Review report estimates an additional 1.5 million square metres of commercial office space may become disclosure affected under the changes, a proportion of which undertaking voluntary NABERS building ratings. This also excludes strata title and mixed use buildings which may not be affected by mandatory disclosure obligations.
Will BEECs still need to be certified annually when the TLA is valid for five years?
A BEEC is valid for 365 days, and consists of a certified NABERS energy rating and a certified tenancy lighting assessment. NABERS energy ratings are also only certified for 365 days (or less) and will need to be reassessed annually to maintain certification. Under the program changes disclosure affected entities will be required to complete a NABERS energy rating and BEEC application annually to maintain BEEC constant coverage, while a TLA will last for five years and can be used for any number of BEEC applications in that period unless there is a major change in tenancy lighting.
How can I get in contact with the CBD Program?
The CBD team can be contacted through the contact page.