Updates on National Construction Code of Australia (NCC)

27/06/19



The updated version of the National Construction Code of Australia (NCC) has been released in May 2019. Read on to find out about the changes.

Whilst the main changes are limited to revisions on definitions and terms to clarify and assist interpretation, the major changes will affect keys sections, regulation and formatting across the NCC.

Here are the key benefits of these amendments:
- Easier to understand
- Simpler to measure whether a construction complies with the NCC
- More flexibility
- Better performing buildings

You will find below a short summary of the significant changes implemented across the new edition of the NCC.
- New guidelines for quantifying Performance Requirements now appear in the code. From 2019, “40% of Performance Requirements will be measured either directly or through an NCC Verification Method”. This is part of the ABCB’s goal of reducing non-compliance “caused by poor application of Performance Solutions”. By 2020 the ABCB aims to have all Performance Requirements quantified.
- Fire Safety: An additional Verification Method (VM) will be introduced concerning Performance Solutions, while requirements have been made for Fire Sprinklers in Apartments and other residential buildings “four storeys and above.”
- Energy Efficiency: An increasing priority in recent years, Volume One will include measures on reducing energy consumption, particularly for commercial buildings. Heating and cooling load limits are a focal point, with introduction of a NatHERS compliance pathway for residential buildings. The “package of measures” in Volume One is aimed at “reducing energy consumption by a potential 35%… for commercial buildings.” New Verification Methods will be introduced as part of this measure, to aid in demonstrating compliance under Green Star and NABERS methods.
- Cladding: Arguably the most pressing issue in the industry, the 2019 NCC will include new entries for “External Wall Envelopes” which will significantly affect wall design processes moving forward
- Condensation Management: A new section to the NCC requiring active measures to ensure that condensation cannot pose a risk to occupants. This section focuses on water, condensation and vapor management among other considerations.
- Timber Construction Systems The effective height at which “Fire-protected timber construction systems” can be used has been increased to 25 meters.
- Acceptable Construction Practice (ACP) – Volume Two New inclusions have been made for “earth retaining structures, masonry and attachment of decks and balconies” along with additional improvements.
- PlumbingVolume Three: Several alterations and additions have been made across applications including “Heated Water temperature control, cross-connection control and rainwater harvesting and use requirements.”

For more information, visit the Australian Building Codes Board.

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