An unprecedented number of changes came with the release of the National Construction Code (NCC) 2019 and none with more impact than the energy efficiency requirements for houses, apartments and commercial buildings.
With such a significant shift there has been plenty of speculation about its effects. Some argue this will mean substantial impacts to industry while others say it will be minor in nature. However, what can’t be argued is that the provisions will alter how buildings will be designed and assessed for energy efficiency performance going forward.
For houses and apartments there are new requirements for sealing buildings, for the additional assessment of capped heating and cooling loads under the star ratings (note this is not applicable for all states), as well as changes to the verification reference method. Commercial buildings, including communal areas of apartments, have seen far reaching changes with substantial stringency increases, new assessment methodologies for facades (including to determine combined wall and glazing performance), and even restrictions on what roof colours you can use.
Given the scope of what will now be required and to help industry adapt, the ABCB provided an additional 12-month transition period from the adoption of these provisions. This transition period expired on 30 April with the new provisions taking effect 1 May 2020 for all states except Western Australia. Some states have existing variations to the NCC which remain in place.
Helping industry prepare
Off the back of HIA’s successful NCC seminar roadshow in 2019, which saw more than 2000 attendees, HIA has been supporting the building industry to understand the new energy efficiency changes with our latest series of NCC webinars. More than 500 people tuned in throughout April, including targeted seminars for Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and the ACT where the provisions for houses and apartments will be felt most. Following this, HIA also held a national webinar on the NCC Volume One Section J (commercial buildings) energy efficiency changes.
These sessions brought together a range of experts to provide a more detailed understanding of these new requirements, which included case studies and worked examples. The webinars also covered information on the upcoming NCC 2019 out of cycle amendment due to take effect 1 July 2020 and some of the commonly asked questions HIA’s Building Services team receives from members.
HOUSING caught up with webinar presenter Brian Haines, director of Energy Lab, about what these changes mean for builders. As one of Australia’s largest energy efficiency assessment companies, Energy Lab caters to small or volume builders for all types of residential and commercial projects that require mandatory energy efficiency certifications.