The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has outlined some key changes to the National Construction Code (NCC) 2019. The NCC sets the minimal requirements in the design, construction, performance and livability of new buildings (and new building work in existing buildings) throughout Australia.
AIRAH’s Executive Manager – Government Relations and Technical Services, Phil Wilikinson, F.AIRAH, recommends the HVAC&R industry specifically focuses on the energy efficiency and condensation updates.
“The energy efficiency requirements are going to be transformational for the built environment sector, so make sure you’re across them,” he says. “Other general updates of interest will include readability and quantification.”
The changes outlined on the ABCB website include:
The most significant change to the NCC since the performance-based code was introduced in 1996 is an estimated 40 per cent of the code’s performance requirements will be quantified either directly or by an NCC Verification Method (VM). This work stems from the board’s increased and competent use of performance initiative aimed at assisting the reduction of non-compliance caused by poor application of performance solutions.
It is intended that the remaining performance requirements will be quantified in the same manner for NCC 2022.
The commercial building energy efficiency provisions have undergone their first major overhaul since 2010, consistent with the COAG National Energy Productivity Plan. A package of measures for Volume One focuses on reducing energy consumption by a potential 35 per cent, representing a step-change for commercial buildings. Additionally, new VMs (verification methods) will be introduced to demonstrate compliance with the relevant performance requirement by way of NABERS and Green Star.
New heating and cooling load limits for the NatHERS compliance pathway will be introduced for Volume Two.
Provisions to reduce the likelihood of risks associated with condensation within buildings will be introduced to help deal with potential health risks and amenity issues.
The NCC has undergone significant structural change to improve access, awareness and understanding. This included introducing consistent governing requirements across all three volumes and changes to the format and structure of NCC online.
NCC Volume Three has been redrafted consistent with a new information architecture that aims to improve access and readability of the document in a digital environment, as well as in preparation for a consistent volume structure in 2022.
NCC 2019 will be available for public preview in February 2019 and will be adopted from May 1.
Wilkinson says this is a good step forward and that AIRAH will continue to advocate for a low-emissions future.