Why residential buildings should take advantage of fee-free NABERS Ratings?

NABERS Application fees are being waived for a limited time

NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating System) is currently offering fee-free NABERS Ratings for buildings across various sectors, including apartment buildings. This is a great opportunity for Councils of Owners across Australia to get insights and have a better understanding of their building’s energy and water consumption in their common areas; while benchmarking against similar buildings.

Additional Government offer for NSW Buildings

In addition to this, the NSW Government will pay a significant contribution towards the related NABERS Accredited Assessor fee for NSW buildings that meet the eligibility criteria.

This means that some apartment buildings in NSW could benefit from the NSW NABERS Starters Offer and obtain a NABERS rating for their apartment building for free, or in some cases paying only the remaining cost of the NABERS Accredited Assessor

What is a NABERS Rating?

To answer this question, we are going to ask you to think about the different ratings that you may see often, which are there to help the community and guide consumers in their purchasing decisions by comparing key information of various alternatives of the same product. Clear examples of this are:

  • The Health Star Rating System: A 5-star rating system that can be seen at the front-of-pack label of several food products, providing an easy way to compare similar products and make healthier choices.
  • Energy Rating: A 6-Star rating system that can be seen in home appliances such as fridges, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, etc. This rating helps users compare the energy efficiency of like-for-like appliances (based on the star rating) while also providing its energy consumption per year, which can guide the decision-making process when choosing between products that are similar and might have the same star-rating. This information can help estimate annual energy costs of appliances and compare them in a more transparent manner.

Similarly, NABERS Rating is the Australian tool that measures sustainability for the built environment using a 6-star system. These is what the NABERS Rating’s results represent:

  • 1-Star: Poor
  • 2-Stars: Below Average
  • 3-Stars: Average
  • 4-Stars: Good
  • 5-Stars: Excellent
  • 6-Stars: Market Leading

Although this rating might be unknown by some apartment owners, this Australian rating system has been around for over 20 years and it’s available across many sectors (apartment buildings, office buildings, office tenancies, shopping centres, data centres, hotels and public hospitals) with various types of ratings (energy, water, indoor environment, waste and carbon neutral).

NABERS is administrated by Australia’s NSW Government and is currently available in three countries: Australia, New Zealand and most recently the UK (Since November 2020).

Residential strata buildings
Having a lower environmental impact is a win-win for the planet and for the building (apartment owners); as this is directly linked with lower running costs.


  • Measure: Compare sustainability performance against similar buildings
  • Track & Improve: A NABERS Rating is a great tool to measure sustainability performance. They often highlight where there might be room for improvement, which can lead to implementing strategies aiming to lower the use/costs related to energy & water in the building. The effectiveness of any implemented actions can be measured by undertaking annual NABERS Ratings and comparing the results.
  • Be competitive: Having a lower environmental impact is a win-win for the planet and for the building; as this is directly linked with lower running costs.
  • Communicate it-or not: In some cases (i.e. commercial buildings), obtaining and publicly sharing a building’s NABERS Rating is mandatory, however as it isn’t mandatory for apartment buildings (yet), the Council of Owners can decide whether to share their NABERS Rating publicly or not. This can be used to the building’s benefit in these two scenarios:
    • Apartment building that obtains a high NABERS Rating: This is a great achievement that should be shared with the community. It could be highly beneficial for owners trying to sale their property.
    • Apartment building that obtains a low NABERS Rating: In this scenario the Council of owners might decide to keep the results privately while working on improving the building’s footprint. The building can then undertake annual ratings and share their progress when they feel comfortable doing so. (Improvement journeys are also exciting and great stories to share!)

Be quick! – This offer expires soon

In response to the many challenges imposed by COVID, NABERS has partnered with the Commonwealth Government to offer Fee-Free NABERS for ratings lodged between the 1st of July 2020 and the 30th of June 2021 for certain sectors (including apartment buildings).

A NABERS Rating can only be lodged by a NABERS Accredited Assessor, which means that during the time of this offer, building owners will save the government component and will only need to pay the NABERS Accredited Assessor’s fee.

Various steps must be completed by the client and the NABERS Accredited Assessor before the NABERS Rating can be lodged, so the sooner you get started, the better!

HFM has one of the largest teams of NABERS Accredited Assessors across Australia! Some of our team members have been performing NABERS ratings since the tool was launched over two decades ago.

Commonly asked questions

This article (written when the NABERS for Apartments tool was launched) answers some commonly asked questions about NABERS for Apartment Buildings.

Click here to read NABERS’ official statement. For more information regarding HFM’s solutions, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email at: [email protected] or calling us on 1300 021 420.
Consult a CBD or NABERS Accredited assessor today!

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