2023 National Construction Code Changes in Australia

August 17, 2023

The National Construction Code (NCC) is a performance-based code, containing all Performance Requirements for the construction of buildings in Australia. The NCC has both guidance information and compliance requirements. It includes requirements that buildings, building elements and plumbing and drainage systems must meet. It's often referred to as NCC 2022, with 2022 being the year it was agreed by States and Territories

The NCC 2022 has introduced some changes aimed at enhancing sustainability, energy efficiency, and overall comfort in the realm of residential construction. As of May 1st, 2023, some aspects of the code have already been set in motion, while will come into effect by October 1st, 2023. In this article we explore the key updates that are set to reshape the way we build homes.

Elevating Liveable Housing Design

Cooking. A girl on a wheelchair opening oven in the kitchen while cooking soemthing

One of the most inspiring shifts introduced by the NCC 2022 pertains to Liveable Housing Design requirements. These changes have an important goal: to increase housing accessibility for Australians with disabilities, the elderly, and their families. 

Aiming for inclusivity, the changes include: 

  • Incorporating at least one step-free entrance into every dwelling. 
  • Designing internal spaces and doors to ensure smooth, unimpeded movement. 
  • Ensuring the availability of a ground-level accessible toilet. Introducing bathrooms with hob less shower recesses for convenience. 
  • Strengthening walls for future installation of grabrails. 
  • Revamping stairways for safety and adaptability. 

While the details may seem intricate, these changes pave the way for more comfortable, accessible, and adaptable living spaces. 

Embracing Energy Efficiency

Australia's commitment to a greener future, shines through the NCC 2022's emphasis on housing energy efficiency. The changes require new dwellings to achieve a thermal performance rating of 7 stars or more. This, coupled with annual energy use budgets, targets a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and household energy costs.

  • A glance at the highlights:
    Elevating the minimum thermal performance of dwellings to 7 stars (ACT & NSW).
  • Introducing a comprehensive annual energy use budget for residences (ACT only).
  • Setting higher energy targets in the BASIX assessment (NSW only).

These adjustments encourage innovative approaches, such as optimising window orientation, incorporating double glazed windows and doors, and using advanced insulation. Additionally, ceiling fans, lighter roof and wall colours, and photovoltaic systems (solar panels) all play roles in creating energy-efficient homes. For more detailed guidance, peruse the Housing Energy Efficiency handbook from the ABCB.

Beautiful young mother sitting on window sill with her cute little daughter looking out of window
a plastic window with condensation of water on the glass. Double glazed PVC window. Concept: defective plastic window with condensation, temperature difference, cooling, humidity in the room

Conquering Condensation Challenges

A fresh focus on condensation management brings forth measures to combat mould growth within walls and roof spaces. 

Highlights include: 

  • Implementing vapor permeable membranes tailored to different climate zones. 
  • Mandating specific membrane classes for varying climate zones. 
  • Redirecting all exhaust fans to outside air (avoiding roofs). 
  • Introducing timed fan and light systems for bathrooms and laundries without external ventilation. 
  • Specifying roof ventilation requirements. 

These changes, while detailed, aim to create healthier living environments. For deeper insights, explore the Condensation in Buildings handbook from the ABCB. 

As we embrace these changes, we want you to know that our team is fully committed to excellence in design and construction. Our experts are meticulously researching and adapting to these new regulations, ensuring that our projects not only meet but exceed these requirements. 

Should any questions arise or concerns linger about the impending NCC 2022 changes, we're here to provide clarity. Feel free to reach out to us, and stay tuned for more updates as we move into a brighter, more sustainable future for Australian housing. 

See also our blog: Navigating the NCC 2022 Changes: What to Expect by October 

Need Some Expert Help?

Knowledge is non-negotiable. Our Design Consultant will measure out your site and help you fully understand the possibilities for your block, and be able to discuss in detail your options for a CDC or Development Application. When you’re planning to build, you want assurance that your site is suitable, and that you are not going to be impacted mid-build by unforeseen or surprise costs. We provide a thorough, free, upfront feasibility study for your Granny Flat which gives you an assured green light to build.

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About Vince Zinghini

Vince is Cubitt's Director of Planning. With two decades experience in NSW and ACT Council planning and a team of people covering the specific areas in which Cubitt's build, its rare to find a planning scenario we haven't been able to tackle.