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HG News: Green Property Scene - 9 Jul 2010

Welcome to Green Property Scene!

Welcome to the fourth issue of the Green Property Scene.

HopgoodGanim will be holding two free seminars on sustainability issues in the next few months. The Beginners' Guide to Property Rating Tools will be held on 21 July 2010, and Sustainability for Bodies Corporate will be held on 1 September 2010.

Please contact Philipa Kehoe to register for one or both of these seminars.

Important mandatory disclosure changes

Mandatory disclosure is now law! On 24 June 2010, the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Bill was passed by the Australian Senate. It received Royal Assent on 28 June 2010 and came into effect on 1 July 2010.

Under the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010, a corporate owner of a large commercial office space must disclose the energy efficiency rating of the space (the NABERS rating) to prospective purchasers and tenants when it is first offered for sale or lease. Substantial penalties apply for non-compliance.

We expect that the obligation to disclose will commence in October 2010.

While there is a 12-month transitional period to begin in October 2010, this relates to the type of disclosure and doesn't excuse the obligation to disclose the NABERS rating.

Regulations to the Act, which will set out important details concerning its operation, are yet to be released. The type of buildings caught by the Act will be specified in those regulations. Based on the Explanatory Memorandum, it is likely that the Act will only apply to commercial office buildings and office spaces with an area greater than 2000 square metres. We expect to see the regulations in the coming weeks, and will let you know when further information is available.

If you plan to sell or lease commercial office space with an area greater than 2000 square metres after 1 October 2010, our strong recommendation is that you apply for a NABERS Energy for Office rating as soon as possible. In the current market, losing a buyer or tenant because you are unable to lawfully offer the building or space for sale or lease would be a devastating outcome. We understand that it is currently taking NABERS Accredited Assessors three to five weeks to issue a rating.

Our green property team can advise you on whether this legislation applies to you and, if it does, your obligations in order to comply. For a general overview of NABERS, come along to our seminar The Beginners' Guide to Property Rating Tools on 21 July. Please contact Philipa Kehoe to register for this seminar.

Changes to Green Star accreditation

Green Star Accredited Professionals take note: the Green Building Council of Australia has introduced changes to the accreditation program that mean you will need to take further action if you wish to retain your GSAP status.

The Council has introduced two levels of Green Star recognition:

  • a Green Star Accredited Professional; and
  • a Green Star Associate.

Green Star Accredited Professional (GSAP)

Because they will undertake a more intensive CPD program, it is intended that GSAPs have advanced knowledge of green buildings and the Green Star rating tool. This level of accreditation is appropriate for developers, architects and project managers who require comprehensive knowledge of Green Star.

If you were a GSAP at 1 July 2010, you must take the following steps to retain your status as a GSAP:

  • Sign up and pay your CPD program fee by 31 July 2010.
  • Within two years, complete a GSAP refresher course and 30 points of sustainability education.

If you would like to become a Green Star Accredited Professional, stricter accreditation criteria will now apply. You must:

  • complete the Green Star Foundation course;
  • pass the Green Star Accredited Professional exam;
  • pay the biennial fee;
  • provide documentation describing your involvement in Green Star or green building projects over the past two years for the Council's approval; and
  • within two years of accreditation, complete a GSAP refresher course and 30 points of sustainability education

Green Star Associate

This level of recognition is aimed at lawyers, accountants and IT professionals who need some knowledge of green buildings and the Green Star rating tool to understand documentation for Green Star projects. While there are still CPD obligations as a Green Star Associate, they are less onerous than for a GSAP.

To become a Green Star Associate, you must:

  • complete the Green Star Foundation Course; or
  • complete a Green Star refresher course if your last course was more than two years ago; and
  • join the CPD program and pay the biennial fee.

To retain Green Star Associate status, you must then complete 15 CPD points and the Green Star refresher course within two years of accreditation.

The next Green Star Foundation Course in Brisbane is scheduled for Thursday 15 July 2010. Contact the Green Building Council of Australia on 02 8239 6200 for more information.