The updated National Construction Code (NCC) 2019 is now available online and will be adopted from 1 May. It features the most significant changes to the Code since it was introduced in 1996, including 20 new verification methods and an overhaul of energy efficiency requirements. Here’s an overview of what you can expect.
The NCC 2019 will have a greater focus on performance solutions than deemed-to-satisfy solutions. There will be 20 new verification methods introduced, which aim to reduce non-compliances resulting from the poor application of performance solutions.
The main areas covered by the new verification methods are artificial lighting, natural lighting, energy efficiency and private bushfire shelters. They include:
- Fire safety
- Room height
- Bushfire protection
- Class 9C noise
- Natural lighting
- Inbuilt overflow of vessels
- Combustion appliances.
The NCC has also overhauled its approach to commercial energy efficiency (Section J), with new verification methods that will help organisations achieve NABERS and Green Star certifications. It’s part of a broader government initiative to reduce commercial energy consumption by up to 35 per cent.
By shifting from energy-based metrics to greenhouse gas emission metrics, the NCC 2019 will place an equal focus on heating and cooling, which will improve the performance of buildings. There are also more stringent compliance requirements for glazing, insulation, lifts, fans and pumps, chillers, boilers, PAC Units, cooling towers and lights.
The energy efficiency provisions will have a transition period of one year. Before 1 May 2020, either the NCC 2016 or NCC 2019 can be used.
Another focus of NCC 2019 is providing higher levels of fire safety for those who often fail to react to alarms, such as young children and older people. It includes requirements for sprinklers to be installed in apartment buildings and other residential buildings over four storeys and under 25 metres in effective height.
To make the Code easier to understand and implement, the Australian Building Codes Board has revised the wording, structure and terminology of the NCC. General requirements have also been changed to governing requirements. These are all significant changes that we believe will lead to a safer built environment for all Australians.
For more information on these changes, or to find out whether they will affect your development, get in touch with our Accredited Certifiers.