Upcoming changes to NCC 2019
With the new year quickly approaching, the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has outlined how the 2019 National Construction Code (NCC) differs from the 2016 edition.
The NCC provides the minimum requirements for the design, construction, performance and livability of new and existing buildings across Australia. There are three volumes in the NCC: Volume One covers the design and construction of multi-residential, commercial, industrial and public assembly buildings; Volume Two covers the design and construction of smaller-scale buildings; and Volume Three covers the design, construction and maintenance of plumbing and drainage systems in new and existing buildings.
According to the ABCB, some of the key changes include:
Since the performance-based code was introduced in 1996, ABCB said the most significant change to the NCC is an estimated 40% 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 use of performance initiatives aimed at reducing 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.
ABCB also stated the commercial building energy efficiency provisions have undergone their first major overhaul since 2010, consistent with the COAG National Energy Productivity Plan. A number of measures for Volume One focus on reducing energy consumption by up to 35%, which ABCB said represents a step-change for commercial buildings. New verification methods will also 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.
Energy efficiency provisions for both Volume One and Two will have a transition period until 1 May 2020, and either the NCC 2016 or 2019 provisions may be used during this time.
The NCC has undergone significant structural change to improve access, awareness and understanding, including introducing consistent governing requirements across all three volumes and changes to the format and structure of NCC online.
NCC Volume Three has been rewritten to meet readability objectives in a digital environment and prepare for a consistent volume structure in 2022.
In terms of plumbing changes, it also stated that some sections of NCC Volume Three that were only enacted in a minority of states or territories, such as on-site wastewater systems, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), and stormwater, will be relocated to the relevant state or territory appendix. Other key changes outlined by the ABCB covered rooftop spaces, fire safety and condensation management.
Seminars aimed at informing practitioners involved with designing, approving or constructing buildings about changes to the NCC will be held by ABCB and Standards Australia in capital cities through February and March.
NCC 2019 will be available for public preview in February 2019 and will be adopted from 1 May 2019.
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