Legislation Updates

Northern Territory to finally adopt Section J?

The Northern Territory government is considering adopting Section J of the National Construction Code (NCC), which will set out new energy efficiency requirements for commercial buildings.

The National Construction Code prescribes the minimum standard for buildings in Australia. Although it is a national code, each state and territory may decide whether or not to adopt it. This was the case in Western Australia last year, where the government decided to postpone the adoption of NCC 2019, despite protests from a broad coalition of industry groups.

Currently the Northern Territory maintains a variation in relation to Section J Energy Efficiency in Volume 2 of the National Construction Code (NCC), which states that Section J does not apply to Class 3 and 5-9 buildings.

The Northern Territory government is seeking to examine the potential adoption of Section J energy efficiency requirements for commercial buildings. It ran an industry consultation early in 2020, and has now moved into a cost-benefit analysis, which was recently tendered.

The cost-benefit analysis will examine the impact of the potential adoption of either the energy efficiency provisions in the NCC 2016 or NCC 2019 from both owner-occupier and NT economy-wide perspectives.

Certain areas in the Northern Territory are declared building control areas. Construction in these areas must meet the standards for building in the National Construction Code and Building Regulations.

The cost-benefit analysis will cover both Climate Zones 1 (hot humid summer, warm winter) using a Darwin weather file and 3 (hot dry summer, warm winter), using an Alice Springs weather file. These locations are within declared building control areas.

The Northern Territory government is now assessing tender responses for the cost-benefit analysis. Any decision regarding the adoption of Section J will only be made after the analysis is completed. At this stage the government has not provided timeframes for making that decision.

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