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Skip Navigation LinksDepartment of Housing and Public Works > Facilities management > Facilities for government > Office Accommodation Management Framework > Guideline 2: Space > 5.0 General office space procedures

 5.0 General office space procedures

5.1 Processes

Acquiring office space refers to the process of:

  • acquiring new or additional space in a government-owned or ‘Major Leased’ building
  • acquiring new or additional leased space in a private sector (‘Other Leased’) building.

Reducing space refers to the process of:

  • reducing space in government-owned and ‘Major Leased’ buildings through downsizing and rationalisation as well as the consolidation or collocation of multiple tenancies into fewer tenancies or locations
  • reducing leased space in ‘Other Leased’ buildings during the term of the lease
  • vacating office accommodation in government-owned, ‘Major Leased’ and ‘Other Leased’ building
  • sub-leasing and/or assignment of space leased from the private sector in ‘Other Leased’ buildings.

Varying space refers to the process of reconfiguring layouts and/or fitout within existing office accommodation tenancies.

5.2 Acquiring new or additional space

There are two ways to initiate the process of acquiring new office space or adding office space in government-owned, ‘Major Leased’ and ‘Other Leased’ buildings:

  • provide verbal or written advice to the Accommodation Office, Department of Housing and Public Works that a requirement for new or additional office accommodation is likely
  • submit a formal Request for additional office accommodation (DOC, 68KB) to the Accommodation Office, Department of Housing and Public Works.

The Department of Housing and Public Works will respond to agencies' requests or advice in a consultative and constructive process incorporating options (when available) and a preferred option. More options are generally available when appropriate advance notice of the requirement is provided.

If the agreed option involves new or additional space to be leased in a private sector (‘Other Leased’) building, then all lease negotiations are to be undertaken by the Department of Housing and Public Works. Proposed tenant agencies will be consulted and kept fully informed in this process.

5.3 Reducing or vacating office accommodation in government-owned and ‘Major Leased’ buildings

When agencies propose to reduce or vacate office accommodation in government-owned or ‘Major Leased’ buildings, then this process can be initiated by:

  • providing verbal or written advice to the Accommodation Office, Department of Housing and Public Works, that a requirement to vary office accommodation is likely
  • submitting a formal Notice of proposal to reduce or vacate office accommodation (DOC, 108KB) to the Accommodation Office, Department of Housing and Public Works.

The Department of Housing and Public Works will respond the agencies' requests in a consultative and constructive process incorporating options, a preferred option and the conditions under which the reduction can proceed. When agencies' requests can be incorporated into office accommodation strategies with whole-of-Government benefits, then the Department of Housing and Public Works will endeavour to contribute project funding from the Office Accommodation Program.

If a replacement tenant cannot be found to ‘backfill’ the vacated space, then the vacating agency must continue to pay rent until a replacement tenant is found or for a reasonable period, usually not exceeding 12 months.

5.4 Reducing or vacating space leased from the private sector in ‘Other Leased’ buildings during the term of the lease

Agencies need to notify the Accommodation Office, Department of Housing and Public Works as soon as any proposal to reduce or vacate such space arises.

Agencies that occupy space leased from the private sector in ‘Other Leased’ buildings do so under a formal financial commitment to pay all rent and charges associated with each lease for the term of the lease and also for option periods if options are exercised. It is the agencies’ responsibility to ensure that financial appropriation is available to commit to the lease.

Agencies that reduce or vacate space in ‘Other Leased’ buildings must continue to pay rent for the full lease area until the lease expires unless another tenant occupies the space and commences to pay full rent. Any shortfall in rental or lease charges must be paid by the vacating agency until the lease expires.

Please refer also to section ‘5.5 Sub-leasing and/or assignment of space leased from the private sector in ‘Other Leased’ buildings’.

5.5 Sub-leasing and/or assignment of space leased from the private sector in ‘Other Leased’ buildings

Agencies may not sub-lease nor assign space that is leased from the private sector in ‘Other Leased’ buildings without the formal approval of the Department of Housing and Public Works. Agencies need to consult with that department if sub-leasing or assignment is under consideration because:

  • the Department of Housing and Public Works is the legal entity nominated in the lease as lessee of the space and has specific legal obligations to fulfill under the lease
  • tenant agencies have an ongoing financial obligation to continue to pay rent and lease charges for the whole of the leased area for the full term of the lease
  • the landlord's formal approval to sublease or assign is a standard legal requirement of commercial leases. Failure to obtain this approval could lead to the tenant being in default under the lease, and possibly being exposed to a claim for substantial damages
  • a change of use can trigger substantial changes to occupancy conditions and potentially, to the building's classification under the Building Act
  • if the sub-lessee or assignee is a private sector tenant, then certain additional obligations will apply over and above the terms and conditions imposed on a government tenant
  • irrespective that a tenancy has been sub-leased or assigned, certain legal obligations remain with the original tenant.

The Department of Housing and Public Works will provide assistance if agencies need to sub-lease or assign space because of changed service delivery circumstances. However, the financial obligations of agencies, agreed in their financial commitment, remain unless and until a replacement tenant can be found to occupy the space and pay the full costs of occupying the space. Additional conditions may apply according to the lease conditions and the nature of the replacement tenant.

5.6 Reconfiguring office accommodation in government-owned, ‘Major Leased’ and ‘Other Leased’ buildings

Reconfiguring office accommodation refers to changing the layout, fitout or functional use of an existing tenancy without changing the tenancy area.

If agencies propose to change the layout, fitout or functional use within an existing tenancy, then building-owner approval is required. This approval is required in order to satisfy the building's owner that the proposed changes meet statutory and regulatory requirements are within the terms of the occupancy agreement or lease, and they will not adversely affect the building or its services. The building owner may choose to impose reasonable additional requirements as a condition in granting consent.

Expert advice should be sought if such work is proposed to ensure legal compliance and technical competence is achieved in relation to design, construction and use. Please refer to Guideline 4: Occupancy for further information.



Last updated 17 August 2012    Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)


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