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Helping you prepare

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NCC 2022 may seem bigger than Ben Hur, but we’ve broken down the latest information so you can get on top of it – before it gets on top of you.

Simon Croft

HIA Executive Director – Building Policy

If you aren’t yet aware that there are major changes coming to how you build, or the materials you can use, then now is the time to engage with HIA about what you need to know. We’re at the stage where the majority of NCC 2022 amendments have now been confirmed.

This means you will need to prepare yourself ahead of these taking effect. HIA will be undertaking activities over the next 12-24 months to support members to know what’s changing and what to do with your next building projects.

Don't miss HIA's upcoming NCC seminars near you. Book now.
Simon Croft's informative NCC session
What are the major changes?

Putting it simply, NCC 2022 is a substantial amendment. The changes include new requirements and changes to existing requirements across Volumes One, Two and Three. 

The changes will affect the design and construction of most houses and apartments and will require changes to many standard building materials you currently use.

While it’s difficult to put an exact dollar amount on how much construction costs will change, it’s clear there will be additional costs. We encourage you to spend time now reviewing projects that will not start or get approval in 2022.

Here’s a brief list of what’s coming:

  • New livable housing design features
  • Higher standard for energy efficiency 
  • Further condensation management measures
  • Complete restructuring of the code and re-ordering of Volume Two
  • Introduction of a new Housing Provisions Standard
  • Internal and external waterproofing changes
  • Weatherproofing changes for cladding on Class 2-9 buildings
  • Fire safety and cladding, and expansion of list of acceptable ancillary elements for walls
  • Lead in plumbing products changes which will affect many fittings and fixtures
  • Revised masonry, slabs, glazing, steel framing, gutters and downpipes and glazing
  • Performance Solution changes
  • Updates to a high number of referenced Australian Standards
  • and much more. 
Spend time now reviewing projects that will not start or get approval in 2022
In more detail
Livable (accessible) housing

Flagged in 2019 as a likely new requirement in the code, in April 2021, Building Ministers agreed to the inclusion of mandatory livable housing provisions for NCC 2022.

All types of houses (Class 1a) and apartments (Class 2) are included, meaning both Volumes One and Two have a new section which reference a new ABCB Livable Housing Standard. 

The new provisions will require:

  • A step-free path of travel from the boundary to the front or entrance door, which can incorporate either an access path or ramps. The path must satisfy minimum width and gradient requirements.
  • A step-free level entrance into the dwelling that can incorporate a step ramp or a threshold of a maximum height. A door sill can be used with restrictions on the height profile. A landing is also required at the entrance.
  • A minimum of 820mm clear width of opening for the entrance door and doors to habitable rooms, sanitary compartment and laundry (where located) on that entrance level. 
  • Level thresholds or a maximum 5mm lip to internal doors that require the minimum 820mm clear width.
  • Minimum clear width of one metre for corridors connecting doorways that require the minimum opening.
  • A toilet on the ground or entrance level with minimum width of opposing walls either side of the pan and 1.2-metre clear space to door swing in front of the pan. 
  • One shower in the dwelling that is step free and hobless. This shower does not have to be located on the ground or entry level. ‘Step free’ for the shower means a maximum 5mm lip or rebate (a shower screen can still be used).
  • Reinforcing to the framing surrounding the toilet, shower and bath, such as nogging or sheeting, to enable future installation of grab rails. 

While many of these changes are inside the dwelling, it’s important to understand how the provisions extend beyond the house, into things such as paths and landscaping, and the impact on internal room dimensions and layouts.

The changes will be in NCC 2022, but each state and territory is responsible for when the changes will start and whether any exemptions will apply.

HIA is running seminars across the country in August and September
Energy efficiency and condensation

Building Ministers are yet to sign off on the final form of the increased energy efficiency provisions, but it is expected this will happen in August. The expected new requirements are:

  • Increasing the thermal performance target from 6 to 7 stars for houses and an average of 7 stars for apartments (with no single apartment less than 6).
  • New energy usage budget provisions that apply a ‘whole of home’ approach for calculating the energy usage of fixed building services (where included) for heating and cooling, hot water, lighting and swimming pool and spa plant.
  • New thermal bridging provisions for steel framing.

Energy rating tools will be expanded to provide whole of home assessments combining the building fabric rating with the energy use budget. The elemental DTS Provisions have been updated to the equivalent of 7-star outcomes.

It’s expected there will be some variations to the thermal performance target between states to suit the local climate but again details of this are yet to be settled. In NSW, BASIX will continue to apply but the thermal fabric provisions are expected to increase.

The condensation provisions are likely to see:

  • More stringent building wall wrap permeability requirements, for climate zones 4-8 and specifically for climate zones 6, 7 and 8.
  • Mandatory external ducting and roof space ventilation requirements.
  • Prescribed flow rates for exhaust fans, rangehoods and provisions for make-up air in laundries and run off timers for bathroom exhausts.

These changes have been contentious in their own right with many conflicting views on their suitability.

Turn to HIA to discover NCC's major changes and a range of resources
Code restructure

Volume Two looks very different this year. This is due to the restructuring and renumbering of the full code. There are now two documents – Volume Two and the Housing Provisions. The Livable Housing Design Standard is a separate third document.

While this doesn’t affect compliance, it’s worth pointing out since it will take some time to get familiar with the new layout and clause numbering.

Waterproofing changes

Volume One and Two contain a range of waterproofing changes for both internal and external waterproofing including a complete restructuring of the provisions.

Volume Two includes a re-introduction of the wet area Acceptable Construction Provisions (ACP) that was last included in BCA 2011. This can be adopted as an alternate compliance option to AS 3740.
Other changes include:

  • Adoption of the revised AS 3740:2021 which includes changes to classification of different types of showers, updated figures for treatment of shower niches and strip drains.
  • Walls of a shower area must be waterproofed to a height of 1800mm.
  • Provisions for WCs with a hand-held bidet spray installation.
  • Fibre-cement sheeting supported on a structural floor as an allowable water-resistant substrate (as opposed to only compressed cement sheet in NCC 2019).
  • Concrete that has been treated to resist moisture can be used as a surface material and inclusion of cable floor heating treatment.
How can you get a copy of the changes?

Volumes One, Two and Three can be downloaded from ncc.abcb.gov.au. However, in an unusual step, this NCC 2022 is being finalised in two stages. The first stage covers the majority of amendments to all three volumes. The energy efficiency and condensation management provisions will be published following the next Building Ministers meeting.

Currently, the documents are titled ‘Preview’ though they reflect the NCC 2022 changes agreed so far and have been published ahead of the adoption date to provide industry with time to prepare.

HIA will be publishing hard copies of Volumes One and Two with sales expected in October 2022.

When will these provisions take effect?

Given the major changes in NCC 2022, the ABCB and Building Ministers recognised in 2021 that industry would require time to understand and implement the code and the ABCB required more time to complete the drafting. For this reason, an adoption date of 1 September 2022 was nominated, rather than the traditional May date. The federal election has now delayed Ministers making their decision on energy and transition times.

In terms of the transition period, HIA has called for a full three years to transition, but a minimum of 18 months to give industry the necessary time to adjust plans, change costs and prepare customers. Once this decision is made by Ministers, each state and territory will then decide whether further adjustments are needed.

HIA will advise members as soon as these matters are confirmed.

What has HIA been doing in response to the changes? 

HIA has worked tirelessly over the past five years to manage the scale and technical details of NCC 2022. We’ve reviewed and suggested changes, met with ministers and relevant government departments, and made substantial written submissions.

Engagement with members over this time has also been critical so that we knew your concerns and outlined these to governments as part of our advocacy.

In this, we’ve largely been successful, with many of the proposals removed or adjusted to ensure a more practical and technically sensible set of requirements. In some states and territories, we understand some changes will not be adopted at this time or will be varied to address the industry’s concerns.

HIA will continue to engage with the ABCB and governments to secure an appropriate transition for the adoption of the new accessible housing and energy efficiency changes.

Learn more on the changes and our advocacy on NCC 2022.

Want to know more?

HIA is running face-to-face seminars across the country in August and September to provide a detailed breakdown of the proposed changes (see below). Members and other interested practitioners are encouraged to attend to find out more.

HIA will also support industry with dedicated workshops on the major changes and a range of resources, including information notes and a HIA guide to the livable housing provisions.

Visit HIA's NCC 2022 updates.

HIA will be undertaking activities over the next 12-24 months to support members to know what’s changing.

NCC 2022 Seminars across the country

Gold Coast  18 August  Mantra Twin Towns, Tweed Heads
 Brisbane   19 August Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre 
 Darwin   23 August   Mantra Pandanas Darwin
 Canberra   26 August  Ainslie Football Club
 Sydney West   30 August   CommBank Stadium, Parramatta
 Sydney CBD  31 August  Hilton Sydney 
 Newcastle   1 September  NEX Newcastle Exhibition & Convention Centre
 Adelaide  2 September   Adelaide Convention Centre 
 Townsville   6 September HIA Townsville Office 
 Cairns   8 September Cairns Sheridan Hotel 
 Mackay   13 September South Leagues Club, Mackay 
 Melbourne   13 September  Melbourne Cricket Ground, Richmond
 Geelong   14 September  GMHBA Stadium, Geelong 
 Rockhampton   15 September  Rockhampton Leagues Club 
 Perth   16 September  Crown Perth 

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