What’s New For The National Construction Code in 2019?

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What’s New For The National Construction Code in 2019?

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has released a preview document for the 2019 National Construction Code (NCC) earlier this month. The NCC is an industry-standard document that outlines building codes and regulations nationwide.

Table of Contents

Let’s talk about the 2019 National Construction Code (NCC)

This year’s edition of the NCC will be adopted on 1 May. The edition will include conditions related to the energy efficiency transition section of the document, ending on 1 May 2020.

The preview document lists the full range of updates and changes to last year’s edition. If you wish, you can read about it on the Australian Building Codes Board website.

Several changes consist of definition and term revisions within the NCC to aid ‘clarity and readability’ and assist interpretation. However, major changes will affect key sections, regulations and formatting across all 3 volumes of the NCC.

Significant changes are happening to the NCC

As Hendry operates on several levels, we can summarise significant changes that the next edition of the NCC will introduce.

New guidelines for quantifying performance requirements now appear in the code. From 2019, ‘40% of performance requirements will be measured directly or through an NCC Verification Method.’  This verification forms part of the ABCB’s goal of reducing non-compliance caused by poor application of performance solutions.’  By 2020, the ABCB aims to have all performance requirements quantified.

Fire safety

Additional verification methods (VM) concerning performance solutions will begin to apply. At the same time, requirements apply for fire sprinklers in apartments and other residential buildings 4 storeys and above.

Energy efficiency

An increasing priority in recent years, volume 1 will include measures on reducing energy consumption. Particularly for commercial buildings. Heating and cooling load limits are a focal point, with the introduction of a NatHERS compliance pathway for residential buildings.


Arguably the most pressing issue in the industry, the 2019 NCC will include new entries for ‘External Wall Envelopes’. This change will significantly affect wall design processes moving forward. The additions fall under 3 key categories.

  • Fire: New fire safety verification method CV4 lists fire scenarios for consideration when developing a performance solution. Changes will take effect from May 2020. Specifying measures such as thermal breaks reduces risk. For example, ‘external cladding and internal lining are fixed to the same element.’
  • Condensation management: A new section to the NCC requiring active measures to ensure that condensation cannot pose a risk to occupants. This section focuses on water, condensation and vapour management. In addition, a new verification method, FV6, provides the use of hygrothermal modelling in compliance with the clause.
  • Energy efficiency: The ‘package of measures’ in volume 1 aims to ‘reduce energy consumption by 35%… for commercial buildings.’ As part of this measure, new verification methods will demonstrate compliance under Green Star and NABERS methods.

Timber construction systems

The effective height at which ‘fire-protected timber construction systems’ can be used has increased to 25 meters.

Acceptable construction practice (ACP) – volume 2

There are new inclusions for ‘earth retaining structures, masonry and attachment of decks and balconies’.

Plumbing – volume 3

The NCC has made several alterations and additions across applications. These alterations include ‘heated water temperature control, cross-connection control and rainwater harvesting and use requirements.’ 

Additional information on the NCC changes

Industry forums will discuss the coming changes to the NCC across February and March this year. You can find information regarding dates and locations for these seminars on the ABCB website.

Following these seminars, the AIBS will host a national symposium in Canberra from 2 April to 5 April. Industry colleagues across all disciplines can attend in-depth presentations on the fine details of these changes and amendments.

Hendry’s National Manager for Project Delivery, Greg Payne, will be delivering a presentation for the symposium. The presentation will talk about including fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems in the NCC 2019.

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