Notice to Builders, Developers & Contractors: Changes to the National Construction Code on 1 May 2019

Builders, developers, and contractors in the construction industry should be aware that several proposed changes to the National Construction Code (NCC) will come into force on 1 May 2019. We have prepared a brief overview of the NCC and the changes that might affect your development.

Background on the NCC

The National Construction Code is the uniform collection of technical rules that apply to the design, construction and performance of new buildings (and new building work in existing buildings) in Australia. It is made up of the Building Code of Australia and the Plumbing Code of Australia, and is intended to be the “one-stop shop” for all trades and services in the construction industry.

In New South Wales, compliance with the NCC is mandatory under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. The NCC is updated every three years, and it is crucial that builders, contractors and developers are aware of the latest changes which are to be introduced in May 2019.

The key changes

A comprehensive list of amendments can be accessed on the Australian Building Codes Board website https://www.abcb.gov.au/), but some of the key changes that will impact many developments are:

  • Fire safety requirements have been updated, including a new non-mandatory Fire Safety Verification Method, and a requirement to install fire sprinklers in apartment buildings and other residential buildings 4 storeys and above, and up to 25 metres in effective height.
  • Greater energy efficiency requirements for both commercial and residential buildings (subject to a 12-month transition period for implementation).
  • Revised provisions regarding the requirements for occupiable outdoor areas such as occupiable roof-top spaces.
  • The structure of the NCC has undergone significant formatting changes to improve readability, and accessibility online.

Your next steps

Construction industry practitioners should familiarise themselves with the updated NCC and ensure that their business updates practices to implement the changes.

It is important that you have your plans and construction documents reviewed and analysed by a suitably qualified building certifier prior to submitting your planning applications for approval to a local council. This will ensure that any critical departures from the NCC are identified early in the planning process and design plans can be amended before its too late. Identifying NCC non-compliances late in the planning / approval process, or worse still, during construction can result in lengthy delays and costly remedies. PDC Lawyers and Planners have established relationships with trusted building certifiers and fire safety engineers. Contact us today to be put in touch with the experts.

Lorri Field

Lorri is a director of PDC Law. Lorri combines excellent technical expertise with a common-sense approach to best represent her clients. She is one of few Accredited Specialists in Commercial Litigation in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven. This accreditation is testament to Lorri’s expert knowledge and skill in dealing with commercial disputes. In 2019 Lorri was awarded Regional Lawyer of the Year by Women Lawyers Achievement Awards.

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