Author: Kieran Balmaceda                 Technical Advisory: Tony Griffin

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

This year’s edition is scheduled to be adopted on May 1st, with conditions related to the Energy Efficiency Transition section of the document ending on May 1st 2020.

The preview document lists the full range of updates and changes to last year’s edition, which can be read on the Australian Building Codes Board Website here.

Whilst several changes are limited to revisions on definitions and terms within the NCC to aid “clarity and readability” and assist interpretation, more major changes will affect key sections, regulations and formatting across all three Volumes of the Code.

As Hendry operate on a number of levels across the Built-Form, we can provide a summary of significant changes which will be implemented across the next edition of the NCC.

  • New guidelines for quantifying Performance Requirements now appear in the code. From 2019, “forty per cent of Performance Requirements will be measured either directly or through an NCC Verification Method”. This is 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: An additional Verification Method (VM) will be introduced concerning Performance Solutions, while requirements have been made for Fire Sprinklers in Apartments and other residential buildings “four storeys and above.”
  • Energy Efficiency: An increasing priority in recent years, Volume One will include measures on reducing energy consumption, particularly for commercial buildings. Heating and cooling load limits are a focal point, with introduction of a NatHERS compliance pathway for residential buildings.
  • Cladding: Arguably the most pressing issue in the industry, the 2019 NCC will include new entries for “External Wall Envelopes” which will significantly affect wall design processes moving forward.
    The additions fall under three key categories:

    • Fire
      New fire safety verification method CV4 lists fire scenarios for consideration when developing a performance solution, to be implemented in May 2020. Measures such as thermal breaks are specified to reduce risk where, 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 vapor management among other considerations. A new verification method FV6 provides for the use of hygrothermal modelling in compliance with the clause.
    • Energy Efficiency
      The “package of measures” in Volume One is aimed at “reducing energy consumption by a potential 35%… for commercial buildings.” New Verification Methods will be introduced as part of this measure, to aid in demonstrating compliance under Green Star and NABERS methods.
  • Timber Construction Systems
    The effective height at which “Fire-protected timber construction systems” can be used has been increased to 25 meters.
  • Acceptable Construction Practice (ACP) – Volume Two
    New inclusions have been made for “earth retaining structures, masonry and attachment of decks and balconies” along with additional improvements.
  • Plumbing – Volume Three
    Several alterations and additions have been made across applications including “Heated Water temperature control, cross-connection control and rainwater harvesting and use requirements.”

The coming changes to the NCC are being discussed in industry forms across February and March this year, with events in each state. Information regarding dates and locations for these seminars can also be found on the ABCB website.

Following these seminars, the AIBS will be hosting a national symposium in Canberra from April 2-5, where 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 on the “inclusion of Fire Detection, Warning, Control and Intercom Systems… into the NCC BCA 2019”

Additional information on the symposium can be found on the or our events page.

When it comes to national building codes, Hendry’s team of Building Surveyors, Assessors and practitioners are highly experienced in matters concerning the NCC. We can work with you to effectively assess your asset portfolio and advise on how to proceed.

Contact our team on 1800 875 371 or email info@hendry.com.au if you have any questions regarding the NCC, or to discuss your unique requirements and design compliant performance solutions for your assets.