{{ propApi.closeIcon }}
Our industry
Our industry $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Economic research and forecasting Economics Housing outlook Tailored market research Economic reports and data Inspiring Australia's building professionals HOUSING The only place to get your industry news Media releases Member alerts Submissions See all
Business support
Business support $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Become an apprentice host Hire an apprentice Why host a HIA apprentice? Apprentice partner program Builder and manufacturer program Industry insurance Construction legal expenses insurance Construction works insurance Home warranty insurance Tradies and tool insurance Planning and safety services Building and planning services How can HIA Safety help you? Independent site inspections Solutions for your business Contracts Online HIA Tradepass HIA SafeScan HR Docs Trusted legal support Legal advice and guidance Professional services Industrial relations
Resources & advice
Resources & advice $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Building it right Building codes Australian standards Getting it right on site See all Building materials and products Concrete, bricks and walls Getting products approved Use the right products for the job See all Managing your business Dealing with contracts Handling disputes Managing your employees See all Managing your safety Falls from heights Safety rules Working with silica See all Building your business Growing your business Maintaining your business See all Other subjects COVID-19 Getting approval to build Sustainable homes
Careers & learning
Careers & learning $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
A rewarding career Become an apprentice Apprenticeships on offer Hear what our apprentices say Advice for parents and guardians Study with us Find a course Get your builder's licence Learn with HIA
HIA community
HIA community $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Join HIA Sign me up How do I become a member? What's in it for me? Get involved Become an award judge Join a committee Partner with us Get to know us Our members Our people Our partners Mates rates What we do Mental health program Charitable Foundation GreenSmart
Awards & events
Awards & events $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Australian Housing Awards Awards program National Conference Industry networking Events
HIA products
HIA products $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Shop @ HIA Digital Australian Standards Contracts Online Shipping and delivery Purchasing terms & conditions Products Building codes and standards Hard copy contracts Guides and manuals Safety and signage See all
About Contact Newsroom
$vuetify.icons.faTimes
$vuetify.icons.faMapMarker Set my location Use the field below to update your location
Address
Change location
{{propApi.title}}
{{propApi.text}} {{region}} Change location
{{propApi.title}}
{{propApi.successMessage}} {{region}} Change location

$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Getting a positive resolution

{{ tag.label }} {{ tag.label }} $vuetify.icons.faTimes
Among the raft of significant and far-reaching NCC 2022 changes, HIA has been leading the charge on a range of other reforms through the NCC and Australian Standards. These reforms will minimise the impacts and get positive reforms for members and the residential building industry.

Simon Croft

HIA Executive Director – Building Policy

In previous Housing articles and at industry events, HIA has been forewarning the unprecedented volume and significance of National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 changes. On a more positive note, upcoming changes now offer a range of amendments that industry has been calling for over a number of years. These changes will provide greater certainty of compliance, making Volume Two more useable. They will also provide more compliance solutions for builders, designers and product manufacturers.

HIA led the charge on progressing these reforms through the NCC and relevant Australian Standards. This was off the back of members and committees’ feedback on issues they’ve been encountering on-site, when bringing products to market or when dealing with challenges. 
 
Some of these issues, for example on external walls and cladding compliance for Class 2-9 buildings, has resulted in non-approvals, need for costly and time-consuming Performance Solutions and uncertainties, disagreements and disputes. 

Many of these have derived from relatively straightforward matters. However, the lack of NCC clarity and a risk aversion for acceptance of anything that’s not explicitly prescribed has resulted in voluminous email chains. Practitioners were passed from various government agencies without getting definitive answers. This halted many projects in the process and added unnecessary costs. Housing Code’s modern approach.

The first edition of a standalone BCA (now NCC) for Class 1 and 10 buildings – i.e. BCA Volume Two (the Housing Provisions) – was published in 1996. It was written mainly as a standalone document that could be used to construct a house or outbuilding, such as garage or carport.

This was reflected in the original drafting of Volume Two. This was little different to Volume One – basically a self-contained, simplified document with tailored provisions for houses. 

For Volume Two under the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions, there were two alternate paths to demonstrate compliance, i.e. the acceptable construction practice (the prescriptive provisions written into Volume Two itself) and acceptable construction manuals (the referenced Australian Standards).

However over time, as technology advances, further research and new products and systems developed. In lieu of new provisions being incorporated into the BCA itself, new or amended Australian Standards were developed and became referenced documents within the BCA/NCC.
This was a worrying trend, as it meant Volume Two moved away from its original intent of being a simplified and self-contained housing code for builders to use onsite. This change in approach resulted in the removal of many of the acceptable construction practice provisions previously included in the BCA and rather reliance primarily on referenced Australian Standards.

Many HIA members expressed their concern on this approach by the ABCB. At this point, HIA initiated a project to get the content in Volume Two reviewed, as well as reinstating and adding new compliance solutions. It was also updated to reflect contemporary compliance solutions.

This project has been running for a number of years and saw improvements to Volume Two for NCC 2016 and NCC 2019. For NCC 2022, the new or revised parts include:
  • New Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions for waterproofing of internal wet areas, similar to those previously in BCA 1996-2010
  • New Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions for double brick and single-skin masonry
  • Revised gutter and downpipes, slabs and footings, heating appliances and attachment to decks and balconies.

External walls and cladding on Class 2-9 buildings

Following the Lacrosse apartment building fire in Melbourne in 2014 and other international building fires associated with the use of combustible aluminium composite panels, changes were made to the relevant NCC provisions in Volume One in 2018 for the external walls and cladding of Type A and B Construction. This was to clarifiy and ensure the provisions are being interpreted as intended. This resulted in the provisions more explicitly listing out elements that are considered part of the external wall or are permissible as minor ancillary elements.

For context, a building of Type A and B Construction (generally Class 2-9 buildings greater than two storeys) means the external walls of that building, including the cladding, framing, insulation and internal lining of the wall, needs to of non-combustible construction under the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions. It also prescribes some other acceptable materials for use in external walls (coated steel, bonded laminated panels, fibre cement sheeting, etc). 

Performance-based building solutions that adequately demonstrate compliance with the relevant NCC Performance Requirements for fire spread of external walls can also be used.
The changes in 2018 clarified the application of the provisions but they’ve created significant confusion for minor elements of a wall which are critical for its construction. Examples are brackets, clips, fixings, jointing strips, packing, blocking, tapes, articulation joints, waterproofing membranes, damp courses, paints, renders, etc. 

Given they are minor in nature, and are usually within the cavity of the wall and shielded from outside, the ABCB has expanded the list of permitted minor and ancillary elements (i.e. excluded from the non-combustibility requirements) for NCC 2022.

Another welcome change is that the provisions will now list out under the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions a range of commonly used cladding and external wall materials. This includes brick and blockwork, steel, concrete, tiles, autoclaved aerated concrete and more that can be accepted without the need for additional testing and verification.

 

This will hopefully overcome the issues due to the uncertainties on approval of external walls and cladding where people had requested test reports and certificates for the likes of bricks and concrete. However, their inherent nature and manufacture meant they were known non-combustible materials and used safely for decades. In addition, these materials weren’t explicitly stated in the NCC as being non-combustible, hence the confusion.

HIA progressed these change as we were receiving a significant number of calls and feedback from members on the current challenges on approvals and uncertainty.

More important changes

Alongside these amendments, HIA progressed a range of changes throughout Volume One and Two and in a range of Australian Standards including:

  • Introduction for the first-time DTS Provisions for certain wall cladding materials for Class 2-9 buildings
  • Transitional periods to a range of changes
  • Revision of acceptable BMT thickness for metal framing
  • Clarification changes to the waterproofing and masonry for small buildings standards including expanding on acceptable solutions
  • Overcoming ambiguous drafting on the application of external waterproofing provisions
  • Interpretational issues in a number of areas of the code
  • Limiting the impact on a range of new NCC changes and the scope of application.
So all in all, NCC 2022 will be one of – if not the most – significant NCC/BCA amendments since its introduction. This will include the likelihood of new accessible housing provisions, more stringent condensation management provisions, and stringency increases on energy efficiency. 
It’s equally important to see the positive changes for NCC 2022 and the importance of member and committees feedback to inform changes to NCC and Australian Standards where these are causing you concerns. 

Join a committee

When HIA committees come together, they have the chance to help make significant changes in the home building industry. For example, they’ve actually helped influence NCC and Australian Standards changes, as seen in this article. 

Meet Cathy Inglis, an HIA director and Brickworks’ general manager – technological and innovation. Apart from being an experienced materials engineer and a technical expert, she’s also a member of different HIA committees. She explains the value of being involved and seeking changes.

Q: What are some of the important works HIA does on behalf of our members? 

HIA does an incredible amount of work to ensure that reforms and changes not only minimise the impact on members, but also provide a positive benefit to the housing industry. HIA plays a significant role in lobbying the Australian Building Codes Board and the government, both at federal and state level on behalf of members, but also in representation on the many Standards committees. Currently with so many changes proposed, we need an educated and practical voice representing the housing industry.

Q: How do our HIA committees help influence NCC and Australian Standards changes?

HIA committees are an important conduit for members when dealing with day-to-day challenges on site and the impacts of changes to regulations. The regional and national committees provide feedback and valuable insight from members. They have a broad range of experience to assist with responding to proposed building and regulatory reforms. 

Q: How do our committees keep abreast of changes ahead?

The service committees have spent significant amount of time reviewing the proposed changes to the NCC which has informed the industry response. Many of the amendments are a result of the ongoing work of the committees and HIA staff, and will provide more acceptable construction practices and compliant solutions.

HIA committees are the foundation of the Association. Our committees work to bring real industry expertise to HIA’s voice and seek changes to the things that matter to you and your business.

Keen to join a committee? Click here.