The IPAA January/March 2013 edition includes an interesting article on what a fixture is in its summary of the case Cancer Care Institutes of Australia P/L (Administrator Appointed)  NSWSC 37. Where an item is ‘affixed’ to the land to any extend other than simply resting by its own weight, I undestand that the common law regards this prima face as a fixture, which may be rebutted by evidence of intention to the contrary.
It is a common stance of a liquidator appointed over a building that he/she would argue that all fixtures are under his/her control. However, where an asset is fixed to a property by a tenant of a building, this assertion by a liquidator becomes more difficult. The PPSA does not cover fixtures.
The Cancer Care case involves $9m worth of medical equipment (linear accelerators used in radiation treatment) that had been installed at a property and the Administrator (who was the tenant) was arguing that the equipment was not an asset of the landlord despite them being installed on steel frames grouted into the floor. Of note was that the machinery was purchased on credit and a PMSI was granted by Cancer to the equipment supplier and that a written lease with the landlord had not been entered into prior to the installation of the equipment. The Court found that the equipment were not fixtures.