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Just Two Weeks Out, NSW & QLD Builders Unsure on NCC Changes

The changes to the National Construction Code will be discussed at an online summit next week.


Mon 18 Sep 23

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Wood Central can reveal major NSW and QLD residential builders are concerned about key National Construction Code changes.

They claim that the government has failed to communicate, adding to uncertainty plaguing the building and construction industry.

From October 1, 2023, houses under construction must meet improved residential energy efficiency standards.

The changes will make homes more comfortable to live in, provide cost-of-living savings on energy bills over the life of the dwelling and provide a greener future through emissions reductions.

Under the changes, the National Construction Code (NCC22) requires new homes to comply with a 7-star NatHERS thermal performance.

Footage courtesy of @nathers3774.

In addition, they must meet an annual energy use budget for the whole house, including fixed appliances, solar and batteries. 

Wood Central spoke to several project builders concerned that the NSW and QLD State Governments have not clarified the impact of the new changes in the equivalent Development Codes.

The builders, collectively responsible for constructing thousands of new houses across the eastern seaboard, are now seeking further certainty and assurance.

They point to confusion over key energy-efficiency software and the current status of NatHERS commercial software tools, including HeroFirstRate5 and BERS Pro, which are at different stages of the accreditation and approval process.

The Queensland Government has released it's updated draft SEQ Regional Plan. In the plan, Wood Central understands that 2700 hectares of plantation forests, used for structural timber, will be cleared for housing. (Photo Credit: Twitter)
The Wood Central publisher spoke to a panel of active project builders in South East Queensland and the Greater Sydney region. (Photo Credit: Twitter)

Wood Central also spoke to a thermal assessor who said that, so far as NSW and QLD are concerned, “you can only use Accurate or Hero to certify projects against the new standard.”

However, regarding the “Whole of Home” assessment, “Accurate is the only software tool accredited to the new standard.”

According to the assessor, “If you are going to assess under the new NCC22, you need to use the latest technology – Chenath engine V3.22.”

However, where it gets complicated is in other jurisdictions, “where the states that are not taking up the NCC22 this year, they must decide if they are going to allow the new software or only the previous technology – based on Chenath Engine V3.21 which is compliant under the NCC19.”

“I’ve contacted multiple states and had meetings with them; none have given guidance yet.”

The assessor said that the different jurisdictions are at various stages of adoption and provided Wood Central with an updated status:

  • QLD – 1st OCT 2023
  • NSW – 1st OCT 2023
  • ACT – 15th JAN 2024
  • VIC – 1st MAY 2024
  • SA – 1st MAY 2024
  • WA – 1st MAY 2024 (choice to do quite a few options here)
  • NT – NO PLANS (commercial going to NCC19 from 1st OCT 2023)
  • TAS – 2025 (no set date as yet)

The new changes will be discussed as part of a broader conversation looking at changes to the NCC22 during the Wood You Like to Know online summit hosted by Weathertex on September 28.

The Wood Central Publisher, Jason Ross, will host a panel discussion on the changes, featuring Andrew Dunn, CEO of the Timber Development Association, Boris Iskra, National Standards Manager for the FWPA and Toby Wiklin, Thermal Performance Assessor from Torple Energy Ratings.

“Wood You Like to Know is a fantastic opportunity to comprehensively understand the latest changes and discover effective strategies to achieve sustainable outcomes in residential and multi-residential building projects.”

Architects, Designers and Builders can earn up to 10 formal CPD points with the summit addressing several key topics, including;  

With less than two weeks to go, registrations are coming in thick and fast and are now closing in on 200, with Weathertex National Marketing Manager Vanda Correia thrilled with the current response.

“For $99.00, attendees have full-day access, both live and on-demand and can earn up to 10 formal CPD points,” Ms Correia said.

“In addition, attendees can explore the virtual expo hall, engage with exhibitors, and have the chance to win $1,000.”

The summit is supported by the Australian Insitute of Architects, the BDAA, Design Matters, Global Greentag and Wood Solutions with the event hosted by Weathertex Managing Director Jason O’Hagan and will be anchored by four-panel discussions:

Author

  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.

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