NCC 2019: It’s Now Adopted and in Effect - Back to Basics
NCC 2019: It’s Now Adopted and in Effect

NCC 2019: It’s Now Adopted and in Effect

The construction industry has long marked its calendar for May 1. Finally, the new National Construction Code is adopted.

From now on, NCC 2019 is given legal force in all States and Territories across Australia.

Image source: ABCB

A quick reminder: the National Construction Code comprises all construction requirements in a single code by setting nationally consistent standards and minimum necessary demands for safety, health, amenity, and sustainability.

NCC 2019 update is of particular importance. The reason is it’s the first amendment after the shift to updating the Code every three years instead of doing it annually.

Thus, The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), who produces and maintains the Building Code of Australia, implemented the last update in 2016.

What this means is that the three-year cycle allows for more time in order to approach the updates strategically. As a result, the construction industry expects changes that are more substantial.

Major areas affected by the amendments

National Construction Code 2019

Image source: ABCB

Energy efficiency and fire safety are the areas that will require most of your attention.

Energy efficiency

The new provisions come in a package of measures that is expected to reduce the energy consumption of commercial buildings to a potential of 35%.

What might seem a merely financial benefit at first sight, actually leads to a bigger impact in the long run.

Here is the sad fact: the environmental issues related to buildings are getting more and more serious. We don’t have much time. Reduction in energy consumption is essential for limiting greenhouse emissions and have the Australian building industry ready for two nationwide goals: buildings with net-zero energy by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.

It’s important to make note of the transition period.

For energy efficiency provisions, there is a 12-month transitional period (ending 30 April 2020). It applies to “Section J of Volume One and Parts 2.6 and 3.12 of Volume Two”. In this period, the industry practitioners are allowed to use either the new NCC 2019 requirements or those from the old one (NCC 2016).

Fire safety

You will also find a major overhaul related to fire safety.

NCC 2019 allows the use of bonded laminated material. However, to prevent the use of materials with a combustible core, the requirements come with specified characteristics and clarification.

In case of fire safety, you should take into account its delayed adoption.

The new Fire Safety Verification Method (FSVM) will be adopted from 1 May 2020. Australian Building Codes Board recommends keeping an eye on their latest updates for further information on how industry practitioners can put the new FSVM into practice.

Condensation

A new section “Condensation Management” is introduced in Volume Two and informs how to install a water barrier membrane in an external wall. Additionally, it outlines the provision of having a drained cavity where a water barrier membrane is not installed.

The NCC explains how to interpret these clauses and how to comply with them.

Together with ventilation requirements, these amendments are meant to minimize health-related risks in residential buildings.

Quantification Methods

What’s more, over two dozens of new Verification Methods (VMs) are introduced in NCC 2019 to measure (together with direct measurement) an estimated 40% of the Code’s Performance requirements.

This step is meant to reduce non-compliance by decreasing poor application of Performance Solutions.

If you need more information on the major updates, here is our detailed article on what they are: NCC 2019 Updates – What they are and what you need to know.

Readability

NCC 2019-Three Volumes

Image source: ABCB

No matter how many regulations and codes are in place, one burning question is — are the materials easy to understand and interpret by the industry practitioners?

The good news is this aspect was not ignored in NCC 2019.

The Code is now easier to read and comprehend as there was a substantial focus on improving readability of the document and the way it’s presented.

For example, in addition to the main text documents, the recent updates are presented in the form of webcasts from ABCB’s 2019 NCC Seminars.

The webcasts will walk you through the changes to Volume One, Two, and Three. These video materials share useful information on Governing Requirements, Verification Methods, Sprinkler Protection for Class 3 and 2 buildings, Condensation, Occupiable Outdoor Areas, as well as ABCS’s current activities, among other topics.

The webcasts are now uploaded. Check them out on ABCB’s Youtube Channel. Note that an additional webcast on the Plumbing Code of Australia is also included on the playlist.

Access to NCC 2019

A wide range of supporting and explanatory materials is already released. More is being expected to be published. Take advantage of what’s already there by checking out the ABCB resource library.

Now, it’s time to download the adopted version of NCC 2019.

Register on ABCB’s website (if you haven’t done it yet) and log into your account to view and download the materials. Here is the full list:

  • NCC 2019 Volume One(Requirements for multi-residential, commercial, industrial and public buildings and structures)
  • NCC 2019 Volume Two(Requirements for residential and non-habitable buildings and structures)
  • NCC 2019 Volume Three (Requirements for plumbing and drainage for all classes of buildings)
  • NCC 2019 Guide to Volume One(Clarification and examples for complex NCC provisions)
  • NCC 2019 Complete Series (all NCC 2019 Volumes and the Guide to Volume One)

 To access the Performance Requirements for each Volume, you should go to NCC Online and choose the “Filter by” option located at the top of the Table of Contents.

What’s next?

The next edition of the NCC is scheduled to be released in 2022.

Before that, as the most recent provisions have been put into effect, we have to get ready to construct safer and more sustainable buildings that do not compromise their occupants’ comfort.

To accomplish this ambitious goal, we need highly skilled professionals who know how to read codes correctly and how to implement these requirements in their day-to-day practices.

Whether you are considering to upgrade your skills or start a new career in construction, Back to Basics, a nationally recognized training provider, offers online courses designed specifically to suit the Australian Construction Industry.

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