Navigating the 2022-23 NCC Changes: What to Expect by October 1

August 17, 2023

The National Construction Code (NCC) serves as Australia's performance-based building code, encompassing guidelines and compliance requirements for constructing buildings, building elements, and plumbing systems. Notably referred to as NCC 2022, it has recently introduced changes to bolster sustainability, energy efficiency, and comfort in residential construction. While some changes are already in motion since May 1st, 2023, others will take effect by October 1st, 2023. Here we explain what to expect from this date. 

We have been notified via HIA that mandated Basix changes will take a phased approach. This means that clients that have shown intention to build before 1 October 2023, that is a HIA contract signed before 1 October 2023, will not be mandated under the new regulations, saving significant cost of upgrades. Should clients wish their build to have these additional standards applied, this can be cost in at contract stage.

Liveable Housing Design (ACT ONLY) 

Granny_Flats_For_Wheelchairs

One notable update revolves around the implementation of Liveable Housing Design requirements, championed by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB). These changes are poised to enhance design and construction to cater to Australians with disabilities, the aging population, and their families. While alterations and additions to existing dwellings may not require compliance if they constitute less than 50% of the dwelling's floor area, this will be further confirmed by our ACT Building Certifier. 

Key aspects of the Liveable Housing Design include: 

  • At least one step-free entrance into the dwelling. 
  • Internal doors and corridors designed to facilitate smooth movement. 
  • Ground-level accessible toilet. 
  • Bathroom featuring a hobless shower recess. 
  • Reinforced walls around essential areas for future grab rail installations.
  • Stairways designed for safety and potential adaptation. 
  • For a deeper dive into these changes, we recommend checking out the Livable Housing Design handbook from the ABCB. 

Our construction team is exploring optimal construction methods to ensure compliance. It's important to note that many requirements are already met in secondary residences adhering to adaptable housing standards. 

Housing Energy Efficiency (NSW & ACT)

A significant energy efficiency upgrade is on the horizon. New dwellings will be required to achieve a thermal performance rating of at least 7 stars. Additionally, an annual energy use budget will apply to air conditioning, hot water, lighting, and photovoltaics (solar panels).

The objectives of these changes include curbing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing household energy costs, and enhancing occupant comfort during extreme weather conditions.

To meet these efficiency goals, we're considering strategies such as:

  • Enhancing window orientation.
    Utilising double glazed windows and doors.
  • Employing insulation with improved R values.
  • Incorporating ceiling fans in living spaces and bedrooms.
  • Selecting lighter roof and external wall colours (excluding Alpine areas).
  • Minimising ceiling penetration.
    Exploring photovoltaic systems (solar panels).

For a comprehensive understanding, consult the Housing Energy Efficiency handbook from the ABCB.

Our estimations team is hard at work researching cost-effective ways to meet the new energy requirements, which will soon become standard across all our designs. 

Solar panels on the roof of a house on a bright, sunny day.
Condensation on an old window of a home

Condensation Management (NSW & ACT)

Another critical alteration involves condensation management, targeting the prevention of mould growth within walls and roof spaces. 

Key changes include: 

  • Use of vapor permeable membranes based on climate zones. 
  • Mandatory use of specific membrane classes for different climate zones. 
  • Ducting all exhaust fans to outside air (excluding roofs). 
  • Installation of timed fan and light systems in bathrooms and laundries without external ventilation. 
  • Ventilation requirements for roofs (excluding properties with a Bushfire Attack Level – Flame Zone). 

To grasp the nuances of these adjustments, refer to the Condensation in Buildings handbook from the ABCB. 

Our construction team is prepared to integrate any necessary changes in construction methods by the October 1st, 2023 deadline.

We understand that these changes might appear complex, but we assure you that we are working to make the best decisions to ensure the continued high quality of our projects. Should you have any questions or concerns regarding the impending NCC 2022 changes, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

See also our blog: 2023 National Construction Code Changes in Australia

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.