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NCC 2025 open for public comment

The Public Comment Draft for the next edition of the National Construction Code (NCC) is open for comment until 11:59pm AEST on July 1, 2024.

The 2025 iteration of the NCC focuses on commercial buildings and contains a number of updates that will be of interest to HVAC&R professionals. We’ve reviewed the most relevant proposed changes below.

Commercial building energy efficiency

According to the ABCB, the proposed changes to NCC Volume One provide “cost-effective, fuel and technology neutral ways for buildings to move towards a net zero future”. They also support the continued uptake of electric vehicles (EVs).

The changes cover commercial buildings (Class 3 and Class 5 to 9 buildings) and the common areas of apartment buildings (Class 2 buildings). They include:

  • Updates to the Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) Provisions
  • New infrastructure requirements to further support EV charging
  • Requiring photovoltaics (PV) to be installed
  • Measures that support broader government initiatives to transition towards a renewable electricity grid. For a building, this means changes to the NCC to enable gas-powered equipment to be easily changed to an electric replacement in the future (electrification).

In terms of the detail, there are proposed changes across most of Section J including to the Performance Requirements, Verification Methods and DTS Provisions compared to NCC 2022. 

Condensation mitigation

These proposed further changes to NCC Volume One and the Housing Provisions Standard would aim to better manage the risk of condensation in residential and residential-type buildings.

These include changes to four main areas:

  • External walls in climate zones 1 to 5
  • External walls in climate zones 6 to 8
  • Roof ventilation openings
  • Application of the requirements to hotels, hostels etc. (Class 3 buildings) and aged-care buildings (Class 9c buildings).

Improving fire safety Performance Solutions

The proposed changes are to Volumes One and Two of the NCC to improve the robustness of Performance Solutions for the fire safety of buildings. This includes removing Expert Judgement as an Assessment Method for fire safety Performance Solutions (A2G2). There is no proposal for any changes to the NCC fire safety Performance Requirements for the 2025 edition of the NCC.

Apartment energy efficiency – centralised heated water systems

These changes would increase the range of compliance options available for apartment buildings (Class 2 buildings) with centralised heated water systems.

At present, practitioners cannot use either the Deemed-to-Satisfy elemental or the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) compliance pathways to show NCC compliance in apartment buildings with centralised hot water systems. Instead, practitioners must use J1V5 or another Performance Solution to demonstrate compliance with Performance Requirement J1P3.

The proposed changes would affect J3D14(1), (2), and (3).

Housing energy efficiency – thermal breaks

These changes to the Housing Provisions Standard would clarify and align the thermal break requirements for roofs and walls. 

These changes include:

  • Updating the thermal break provisions for both metal-framed roofs and metal-framed walls (13.2.3(7) and 13.2.5(5))
  • Clarifying the requirements for walls constructed from insulated sandwich panels (13.2.5(6)).

Assisting future electrification and EV charging in homes

The following proposed changes to the Housing Provisions Standard referenced by NCC Volume Two would make it easier to replace gas-powered appliances in homes with electric-powered appliances at a low cost.

These changes include: 

  • Requiring more switchboard capacity for a new house (Class 1 building) (Clause 13.7.10)
  • Requiring infrastructure to support faster domestic charging of an EV in the garage (or carport, etc.) of a new house (Clause 13.7.11). 

AIRAH to provide target webinar

AIRAH is hosting a webinar on how the changes to NCC 2025 will affect HVAC&R professionals.

In the webinar Erica Kenna, M.AIRAH, from the Australian Building Codes Board (ACBC) will examine and explain the proposed changes. She will be accompanied by Brett Fairweather, M.AIRAH, and Ken Thomson, F.AIRAH, for a panel discussion on the proposed changes and their overall objectives. The webinar will also provide guidance on how you can make an impact through the public comment draft.

The webinar will be held from 12.30-1.45pm on Thursday, May 16, 2024. You can register via the AIRAH website until 10am on the morning of the webinar. The webinar is free for AIRAH members and costs $40 for non-members.

ABCB on the road

The ABCB is running a series of in-person and online roadshow events across Australia to provide information on the NCC Public Comment Draft and the proposed changes. The events will take place in all state and territory capital cities in May and early June.

You can find the full schedule of roadshow events and register to attend on the ABCB website.

Have your say

You can provide comment directly via the ABCB’s online portal. To do so, you will need to provide your name and the name of your organisation. You can choose whether or not to allow the ABCB to publish your comment.

You will then need to download the NCC Public Comment Draft Response Sheet, fill in the sheet, then upload the completed document to the ABCB’s portal.

Do you strongly agree or disagree with any of the proposed changes? Are there any other changes that you would make to the 2025 edition of the NCC? Let us know in the comment section below.

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