In response to the recommendations of the Shergold Wier Building Confidence Report, the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) and the Building Ministers’ Forum have undertaken an out of cycle amendment to the National Construction Code (NCC). While the NCC was not due for review until 2022, the amendment known as “NCC 2019 Amendment 1” will be adopted by all Australian jurisdictions on 1 July 2020.
The NCC is a performance-based code containing technical standards for the design, construction and performance of buildings as well as for plumbing work and drainage systems. It is published and maintained by the ABCB and adopted by each Australian jurisdiction through its own legislation. For example, in NSW the NCC is given effect by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW), the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2011 (NSW) and subordinate legislation.
The aim of the NCC is to create a uniform set of technical standards that apply to all Australian jurisdictions. However, as identified in the Shergold Wier Building Confidence Report, there have been a number of systematic issues with the implementation and enforcement of the NCC which has prompted NCC 2019 Amendment 1.
What will change?
Following a period of key stakeholder consultation last year, NCC 2019 Amendment 1 will introduce the following changes:
- a new provision regarding egress from early childhood centres (NCC Volume One);
- clarification of the concession that permits the use of timber framing for low-rise Class 2 and 3 buildings (NCC Volume One);
- clarification that anti-ponding board requirements only apply to roofs where sarking is installed (NCC Volume Two);
- an update to the Governing Requirements for all Volumes to require labelling of aluminium composite panels in accordance with SA Technical Specification 5344; and
- correction of minor errors, including the correction of typographical errors and errors in diagrams.
In addition to the above, the ABCB announced last month that NCC 2019 Amendment 1 will also include a provision mandating the process for developing Performance Solutions. This process is based on the ABCB’s existing Development of Performance Solution Guideline and requires that the process for documenting Performance Solutions be commensurate with the complexity and risk of the design.
Unlike the other amendments, this amendment will not commence until 1 July 2021. However, as the process is included in NCC 2019 Amendment 1 there is plenty of time for industry participants to prepare necessary documentation to encompass the process for Performance Solutions prior to the amendment taking effect next year.
Other changes expected
It was also proposed that NCC 2019 Amendment 1 would include the new defined term of “building complexity”. The draft definition proposes a risk-based system from levels 0 to 5 for classifying complex buildings, which assists to identify buildings where additional regulatory oversight is needed during the design, construction and certification processes.
The ABCB announced last month that this new definition would not be included in NCC 2019 Amendment 1, however it has been published on their website with a six month consultation period for comments and feedback.
A copy of the preview of NCC 2019 Amendment 1 is available on the ABCB website via the NCC Suite.
If you or someone you may know is in need of advice regarding NCC 2019 Amendment 1 or the NCC generally, please contact our office by phoning (02) 9248 3450 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.