In early December 2018 the Australian Building Codes Board published the key changes that it has made to the 2019 edition of the National Construction Code (NCC).
- Bonded laminates clause – the deemed-to-satisfy non-combustible clause C1.9(e)(vi) for bonded laminate materials will remain in the NCC 2019.
- Fire safety – sprinklers are to be mandated for class 2 and 3 buildings (apartment/residential) four storeys and over. Previously sprinklers were only required for buildings greater than 25 metres. Also, issues of inconsistent fire engineering are aiming to be addressed via a new and somewhat controversial verification method for fire engineering solutions. It is likely that the recommendations of the Shergold Weir report about system performance have been considered by the ABCB.
- Condensation management – with occupant comfort and health considered, building systems (including cladding systems) should be mould-inhibiting and, therefore, health promoting. Mould and dampness due to condensation have been identified as a threat to resident welfare, which the new Code is taking steps to address. This should not be confused with existing water ingress requirements.
- Energy efficiency – a package of measures around improving energy efficiency in commercial buildings has been included, with the potential to create a significant 35 percent reduction in energy consumption, plus new VMs will be introduced to demonstrate compliance by way of NABERS and Green Star accreditation to the relevant Performance Requirements.
- Code clarity and readability – the new Code's layout and structure has been commissioned to improve its readability and interpretation, including quantifying 40 percent of the Code's performance requirements – either in the performance requirement or verification methods. The aim of the revised layout is to improve comprehension and applicability of all relevant Code clauses, conditions and compliance requirements, minimising misinterpretation.
– Ashley How, technical manager, Fairview
Image: RTP Kubix Apartments © Fairview