New National Construction Code
The second consultation stage on proposed amendments to the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 is underway.
The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) is seeking public feedback on proposed amendments to energy efficiency and condensation technical provisions before its potential inclusion in the NCC 2022.
Stage one of the consultation process was held between 10 May and 11 July 2021, and is now closed.
Some of the more significant amendments proposed in this final stage of consultation include:
- A stringency increase in the thermal performance of homes from the current level, equivalent to six stars NatHERS, to the equivalent of seven stars
- Introducing whole-of-home annual energy use requirements (noting differences between class one and two buildings)
- A new set of Deemed-to-Satisfy elemental provisions for class two buildings
- New provisions designed to allow easy retrofit of on-site renewables and electric vehicle charging equipment for class two to nine buildings
- Enhanced condensation management provisions, including additional ventilation and wall vapour permeability requirements
Senior Lecturer in the Sustainable Building Innovation Lab in the School of Property, Construction and Project Management at RMIT University, Dr Trivess Moore, said, “The likely increase from six to seven stars as a minimum performance requirement is a critical step on the path towards near zero carbon/energy housing.
“An increase from six to seven stars would result in an average reduction in energy for heating and cooling of 24 per cent across Australia.
“The performance of new Australian housing is at least 40 per cent worse than many other developed countries in similar climate zones. While the move to seven stars will close this gap, there is much more that we could be doing right now.”
RMIT Senior Industry Fellow, Alan Pears, said Australia has relied too heavily on regulation as the main driver for building energy performance, and noted that the pandemic has made these regulations even more critical.
“COVID is driving greater focus on the tensions between indoor air quality, high ventilation rates and energy efficiency. These can be resolved by energy recovery ventilation, which preheats or precools incoming air using exhaust air, or by high efficiency air purifiers.
“The 2019 NCC introduced separate requirements for summer and winter, which was a step forward. 2022 will see updated climate data, but not data reflective of conditions that will exist over the life of a new dwelling.
“We need much more focus on summer performance. This should include performance in late summer and autumn, when the sun is lower in the sky but extreme heat will be more likely. This will require more focus on adjustable shading.
“New home buyers deserve better information to guide their decisions. For example, existing rating tools can show how each room performs in extreme hot and cold weather. Regulations should require that this information be provided before a buyer signs up.”
The ABCB has produced a range of resources to support stakeholders in providing informed comment on the proposed amendments. This includes a summary of changes document, case studies, calculators and reports. Responses to the final stage of consultation are invited until 11:59p.m. AEDT, Sunday 17 October 2021.
The resources are available via the Related Documents section on the consultation Overview page.