Amendments to the National Construction code come into effect 1 May 2023. Policy makers like to tell us that the additional costs are minimal and the ultimate quality building is worth it. The jury is out on that but regardless, if you're considering building or entering a sales contract, be aware of what the changes are and the costs involved to have these included in your project. The cost of changes in the early stage of design are much cheaper than changes implements in construction. The changes to the NCC are the most significant since it was first implemented in 1988. In summary the amendments to the NCC, which come into effect 1 May 2023 include
Accessibility: All new houses (Class 1 and Class 2) will need to meet the Silver rating of the LIvable Housing guide. Principally step free access, larger doors, toilets on ground floor with additional access space and provision for future handrails. Step free access is going to be problematic on sloping sites and while there is provision for exemptions – we see them as ambiguous and causing delays. Keeping water out in a compliant manner will need clarification as it would appear that grated drains will be required in every house. All internal doors will need to be minimum 870 on the ground floor, shower frames are required to step free and be detached without damaging the wall. (not sure how they will be waterproofed and no doubt new shower frame systems will hit the market)
Energy Efficiency: Additional requirements for Energy Efficiency including housing to be seven stars. Condensation requirements have been increased as the current energy efficiency methods are resulting in increased issues with condensation and mould. Rangehoods and vented dryers will be required to vent to outdoor air, as will non ventilated bathrooms. New specifications for the permeability of wall membranes to allow condensation to dry.
Waterproofing. New requirements for showers, graded falls in structure meaning not in finishes or mortar beds
Removal of Lead in Plumbing Fixtures: A surprise to me but most plumbing fixtures have up to 6% lead content! Due to the extent of products impacted, this provision has transition arrangements until 2025
New wind loads for Housing Standard : Thunderstorms recorded in Southeast Queensland and Northern NSW have exceeded the wind speeds relating to Region A. It means that wind region B, which currently finishes in Bundaberg, will be extended to a point just north of Coffs Harbour. It means more costs in construction and detailing similar to what we would currently describe as cyclonic construction.
Bushfire: New provisions for occupants in non residential buildings with vulnerable occupants
Face mounted Balustrades: The clarification of an ambiguity to confirm that face mounted balustrades have a max opening of 40mm and not 125mm from the vertical face of the projection
As you can see quite a significant change to be considered and we haven’t really got into the detail yet. Lightwave is still working through the new provisions and how they are being interpreted by Certifiers. Any questions, issues and feedback are welcome.
Program for Implementation
Source - https://ncc.abcb.gov.au/