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The National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 release of the Stage 1 changes was recently released and one of the most significant changes includes the new Livable (accessible) housing provisions.
These provisions will apply to all houses (Class 1a) and apartments (Class 2 buildings) and have been included in both Volumes One and Two and the addition of a new referenced ABCB Livable Housing Standard.
The provisions are based in principle off the silver level of the livable housing design guidelines, though in the ABCB converting the guideline into NCC provisions there has been minor changes to provide more prescriptive requirements, and changes to ensure the provisions don’t contradict or cause inconsistencies with other parts of the NCC.
The livable housing provisions will require the following key elements:
Each of these elements have detailed provisions that need to be followed that are quite prescriptive in nature and much more involved than they may seem at first glance at a headline level.
As such careful consideration, understanding and application of the corresponding provisions is critical.
For Class 1 buildings, as an alternate to providing a step free access path from the boundary to the front or entrance door, a design can use an entrance door from a connecting garage or carport into the dwelling. The door in this situation would still need to be step free and provide a clear opening of the door of 820mm.
In this situation it would still mean that the connecting garage/carport slab would need to be set at the same floor height as the house floor level or satisfy the maximum threshold heights for an entrance door.
Additionally the garage/carport in this situation would need to be a minimum of 3.2m wide and 5.4m long.
The step free access requirements of Part 1 of the livable housing standard do not apply to Class 2 buildings and rather there are existing provisions based on the accessibility requirements of NCC Volume One and the Premises Standards, that prescribe the applicable entrance and accessibility requirements to Class 2 buildings.
In recognition that not all sites and house configurations would be able to readily achieve the step free access path requirements of the Part 1 requirements of the Livable Housing Standard, the provisions of Part H8 of Volume Two prescribe a range of exemptions to the step free access requirements.
These exemptions include:
The application of these exemptions and who and when these are determined is still being worked through with Governments and HIA will produce a specific resource on these exemptions and some guidelines around them once confirmed.
It is also important to note that these exemptions are only applicable to the step free access requirements, and even if a house is exempt from the step free access path , all other elements of the Livable Housing Standard would apply to those dwellings.
Whilst the technical NCC provisions for the new ABCB livable housing provisions – has now been settled and has been released.
However, there’s continued uncertainty on:
At the recent Building Ministers Meeting, Ministers asked the ABCB and senior officials to draft a coordinated transition and implementation plan for NCC 2022.
Ministers will meet next in July and post that meeting Ministers, it is expected that the confirmation on each of the above matters regarding adoption, transition periods and whether there will be further building exemptions and concessions enacted, will be made post that meeting.
HIA will be undertaking a range of activities to support the industry adapt to the new livable housing provisions. We are producing a HIA guide to the livable housing provisions to break down the individual elements, in the coming months where we will provide more content and detail.
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HIA will run information sessions on the proposed changes to the NCC in August and September.
Register your interest in attending one of these sessions.