The Victorian government has announced that some requirements in the National Construction Code that were due to come into effect in October 2023 may be delayed, including those around energy efficiency.
In 2022, industry stakeholders advocated strongly to lift the minimum energy efficiency requirements for new homes from 6 to 7 NatHERS stars – the first major increase in more than a decade. This was finally agreed by state and territory building ministers in August.
A new annual energy-use budget has also been included in NCC 2022. This is applicable to major appliances such as space conditioning, hot water, lighting, pool and spa pumps, offset by any onsite renewable energy generation.
The NCC sets the minimum required level for the safety, health, amenity, accessibility and sustainability of different building types. It is updated by the Australian Building Codes Board on behalf of the Australian government, and each state and territory government. But it is up to individual jurisdictions to adopt the code.
Inconsistent adoption of the NCC has long been a challenge across Australia. Western Australia allowed the provisional use of the National Construction Code (NCC) 2016 until May 2021. The Northern Territory is only adopting energy-efficiency provisions under NCC 2019 for new non-residential buildings on October 1, 2023.
Now, it is understood that economic pressures are causing Victoria to reconsider the timing of some requirements in NCC 2022.
“Builders are currently experiencing significant global economic challenges, including rising supply chain costs,” reads the government statement.
“After consultation with the sector, the government will consider providing an extended transition for some new National Construction Code requirements that are currently scheduled to commence in October.”
It is understood that the provisions that may be delayed relate to energy performance and liveable housing. NSW has also indicated that it will not adopt the liveable housing provisions in NCC 2022, a move that has been criticised in mainstream media.
Industry bodies are in talks with the Victorian government to clarify the situation and advocate for the adoption of the October provisions as planned.