Australia now has a new building code as the 2019 edition of the National Construction Code (NCC) is now in force.

NCC 2019 was adopted by all states and territories this morning (May 1st) and now has legal effect across the country.

As previously outlined, significant changes within the new Code include tougher energy efficiency requirements and new fire safety requirements in medium-rise buildings.

In respect of the fire safety, the Code now mandates sprinkler systems in buildings of between four and eight storeys in height for those buildings which meet the performance requirements for fire safety by way of DTS provisions.

The Code will also include a new-non-mandatory fire safety verification method with a delayed adoption date of May 1, 2020, and retains the ability to use a bonded laminated material with specified fire hazard control characteristics where non-combustible materials would otherwise be required.

On energy efficiency, a package of measures in respect of commercial buildings will see reductions in energy consumption for this type of building under the new Code to a potential of 35 percent.

In residential, new heating and cooling load limits for the NatHERS Compliance pathway have been introduced.

Both the commercial and residential energy efficiency measures will be phased in over a twelve month transition period during which time provisions from either the new NCC 2019 or the former NCC 2016 may be used.

Changes have also been adopted in several other areas.

Australian Building Codes Board chief executive officer Neil Savery welcomed the new Code’s adoption.

“On 1 May, the 2019 edition of the National Construction Code (NCC) will be adopted by all States and Territories, signifying that NCC 2019 is given legal effect by relevant legislation in each State and Territory,” Savery said.

“This represents a major milestone as the first of the three year editions of the NCC and therefore containing a significant number of changes, including fire safety for residential buildings between four storeys and 25 metres, energy efficiency for commercial buildings, accessible adult change facilities, condensation management, a range of plumbing code requirements consolidated and acceptable construction practices for domestic residential construction.

“Accompanying the content change to the NCC are a raft of improvements in its presentation, particularly for on-line users of the document, designed to enhance readability and navigation of content.”

Savery encouraged practitioner to take advantage of resources which have been developed to assist users of the NCC in various aspects of its application.

These are available to those who log in or register on the ABCB web site.