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What buildings are affected?

The Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program applies to most office space with a net lettable area of 1000 square metres or more.

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What types of buildings are covered by the CBD Program?

The Commercial Building Disclosure (CBD) Program applies to most office space with a net lettable area of 1000 square metres or more.

Generally, a building (including all area/s in that building) will be disclosure affected if:

  • the owner who is selling  or leasing is a constitutional corporation, or the tenant who is subleasing is a constitutional corporation
  • the total area for sale, lease or sublease is 1000 square metres or more
  • the total office space in the building comprises 75 per cent or more of space by net lettable area (or gross lettable area if net lettable area is not available)*
  • the building is not new—it has been two or more years since the certificate of occupancy (or equivalent) was issued
  • a major refurbishment has not just been completed—it has been two or more years since a certificate of occupancy (or equivalent) required for a major refurbishment was issued
  • the building is not held under strata title
  • the sale of the building, or a partial interest in the building, is not through the sale of shares or units
  • the lease or sublease is for 12 months or more.

* Note: The 75 per cent threshold for mixed use buildings is an interim measure and is being reviewed. We will provide clear advice and appropriate timeframes to adapt to any changes if this rule is changed.

To check what buildings are considered exceptions to the disclosure requirements, or may be granted an exemption, see Exceptions and Exemptions.

How is office space defined?

Office space is space that is used or capable of being used for administrative, clerical, professional or other information-based activities and includes any support facilities for those activities (such as break out areas and rest rooms). This includes spaces that are vacant at the relevant time. For more information, see the guidance note What is Office Space?.

What is net lettable area and gross lettable area?

Net lettable area (NLA) and gross lettable area (GLA) are the two most common measures of office space used in Australia. Both terms have the same meaning as that set out in 'Method of Measurement for Lettable Area 1997' published by the Property Council of Australia. See http://www.propertycouncil.com.au/ for more details.

If your building was measured under the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) method of measurement for gross and net lettable areas (either the 1989 or 1985 versions), you may use these measurements for the purposes of the CBD Program as they are generally identical to those in the Property Council of Australia’s ‘Method of Measurement for Lettable Area’.

What if my building has non-office space?

If the total office space in your building is 75 per cent or more by net lettable area (or gross lettable area, if net lettable area is unavailable) then your building is disclosure affected and must comply with the requirements of the CBD Program. For example, a building which contains 80 per cent office space and 20 per cent warehouse space by net lettable area is disclosure affected.

If the total office space in your building is less than 75 per cent of the building  by net lettable area (or gross lettable area, if net lettable area is unavailable) then the building is not disclosure affected and does not contain disclosure affected areas. This means the energy efficiency obligations of the CBD Program do not apply to the sale, lease or sublease of all or part of your building, and you do not need to take any action at this time. For example, a building which is 60 per cent office space and 40 per cent retail is not disclosure affected.

However, you can still voluntarily comply by including a National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Energy for offices rating in advertising and registering a BEEC on the CBD Program’s Building Energy Efficiency Register.

What about separate spaces in a building that have shared access?

According to the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure (Disclosure Affected Buildings) Determination 2016 (the Minister’s Determination) a ‘disclosure affected area’ includes physically separate spaces within a building where those spaces:

  • share access to the outside of the building (including via internal access between spaces), and
  • may be grouped together for the purposes of lease of sublease.

Shared access is intended to cover all scenarios where a person can access the relevant spaces by passing through the same entrance (whether or not they have to pass through other physically separate spaces).

The most common example is a classic office tower, with an entrance to a common foyer from which people can access every floor, either directly or by using the lifts or stairs. In such towers, separate floors are generally regarded as part of the same area if they may be grouped together for the purposes of lease or sublease. Other examples can include walkways and access doors between adjacent structures.

The practical effect is that building owners or lessees considering simultaneously leasing or subleasing more than one floor in such buildings should add together the net lettable area for office activities on each floor for the purpose of determining whether the area meets the 1000 square metres threshold.

For further information see guidance note, What is Office Space?.

What about separate spaces in a building that do not have shared access?

Physically separate spaces within a building that do not share access to the outside of the buildings are regarded as separate areas. A common example is in a large building in an industrial complex with multiple units separated by party walls with no internal access and each with separate access to the outside.

The practical effect is that building owners or lessees considering simultaneously leasing or subleasing multiple units in such buildings do not need to add together the total space across the different areas. Each unit will only be disclosure affected if the net lettable area for office activities is greater than 1000 square meters on its own.

What about separate office spaces in separate buildings on one title?

Where multiple buildings are contained within the one title, you do not need to add together the net lettable area of the office component of each office building.

For further information on what is considered a building for the purposes of the CBD program, see guidance note, What is a 'Building' under the CBD Program?.

Exceptions and Exemptions

A disclosure affected building may be an exception from the obligations of the CBD program because of the nature of the transaction or entitled to apply for an exemption. For further information see Exceptions and Exemptions.

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