Various changes to the NCC are being implemented with new general requirements under the NCC 2022 to come into effect from 1 May 2023.
Some of the main changes include new liveable housing requirements, new residential energy efficiency and updated condensation mitigation, new fire performance requirements and the use of lead-free plumbing products.
Does the NCC 2022 Apply to My Construction Works?
The NCC 2022 will apply to construction contracts with applications for construction certificates issued on or following 1 May 2023 (subject to the transition periods outlined in the timeline below) and will be adopted by all states and territories (subject to any state and territory variations).
The NCC 2022 staged timeline is as follows:
1 October 2022: NCC 2022 Optional Adoption
- Full NCC 2022 published.
1 May 2023: NCC 2022 Mandatory Adoption
- General provisions come into effect (Except new energy efficiency and condensation and liveable housing).
1 October 2023: Transition Period Ends
- New liveable housing requirements come into effect; and
- New energy efficiency and condensation mitigation requirements come into effect.
1 September 2025: Transition Period Ends
- Lead-free plumbing product requirements come into effect.
What Does This Mean for the Construction Industry?
Following their regulatory impact assessment, the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) have concluded that there are cost-effective improvements that will be implemented in the new code.
There will also be an improved structure and clause referencing system adopted which will include a Section-Part-Type-Clause system to improve consistency, user experience and online accessibility.
There will be new energy efficiency requirements with a new minimum standard of thermal performance at 7 Stars NatHERS rating, compared to the previous 6 Stars NatHERS rating, to improve the thermal comfort of homes year-round.
There will also be a new annual energy use budget that provides a flexible approach to encouraging the selection of more efficient equipment. The annual energy use will be measured using a new ‘Whole of Home’ rating out of 100 which indicates whether the home meets the NCC budget. This rating will be separate from the NatHERS star rating assessment out of ten.
The options for demonstrating compliance with the performance requirements include using NatHERs accredited software, Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) elemental provisions, verification methods and performance solutions.
There will also be changes implemented with regard to fire safety and the fire performance rating of building elements. The ABCB has considered stakeholder feedback in creating opportunities to integrate practical concessions whilst maintaining building safety. The main changes are additional concessions for minor, combustible building elements in section C2D10 (equivalent to section c1.9 in the 2019 code).
Changes have also been made to Volume Three of the NCC (Plumbing). These changes followed Macquarie University’s Lead in Plumbing Products and Materials Report which indicated that there is a possibility that Australia’s drinking water is currently susceptible to leaching from copper alloy drinking water products.
In response, the new code will require copper alloy plumbing products in contact with drinking water to contain less than 0.25% lead contact.
This will lead to major long-term health improvements for all Australians. Though, during the transition period between 1 September 2022 and 1 September 2025, plumbers may continue with the installation of existing products, provided that the products are certified under the WaterMark Certification Scheme.
Further, the new code aims to create more accessible housing and is based on the Silver Level of the Liveable Housing Design (LHA) Guidelines. The new rules aim to make Class 1a buildings (houses and townhouses) and Class 2 sole-occupancy units (individual apartments) easier to access and live in as well as being more cost-effective.
It is important to review and consider the changes that are to be implemented in the new code. The NCC 2022 may apply to your construction contract if the application for a construction certificate was made on or following the date on which the new code takes effect, which will be 1 May 2023 in the majority of cases.
For further information regarding the changes implemented in the new code, the preview of the NCC 2022 may be accessed through the following link: NCC 2022 .