By Paulina Solis • April 5, 2018

Proposed changes for National Construction Code Section J

The National Construction Code (NCC) is undergoing a massive overhaul in 2019 with  Section J being significantly improved to combat rising greenhouse gases and improve the energy efficiency of commercial and residential buildings. A range of sustainability certification criterion will be affected, so if you are looking at beginning a new project in the next 12-18 months, these changes could be highly relevant.   

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What is the aim behind these changes?

The proposed changes are part of a broader strategy led by Australian Government bodies as a result of major research by the Australian Building Construction Board (ABCB). The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase the energy efficiency of Australia’s building stock by 40% by 2030. The changes are also aimed at providing more flexibility on verification options to include NABERS Energy and Green Star to prove compliance against the code.

 What are the exact changes coming?

The proposed changes consist of two components.

1) Commercial buildings - focusing on improving the strictness of the provisions to achieve up to 53% energy savings.

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For commercial buildings (Class 2, Class 3 buildings and Class 5 to 9 buildings), changes include:

  • Increasing and quantifying the minimum performance requirements
  • Include basic comfort levels for building occupants
  • Improve thermal bridging requirements
  • Introduce a ‘whole façade’ performance approach (instead of having separate targets for glazing and walls)
  • Increase the efficiency of air-conditioning and ventilation systems
  • Further consider on-site renewable energy (such as photovoltaics)
  • Simplify the Deemed-to-Satisfy provisions to improve readability
  • Improve current JV3 standards
  • The addition of NABERS Energy Rating and Green Star Certification as recognized verification methods


2) Residential buildings - aiming to simplify the current provisions to increase compliance to achieve energy savings up to 18%

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For residential buildings (Class 1 buildings, sole-occupancy units of Class 2 buildings and Class 4 parts of a building), the objective is to simplify the code, improving the readability and ease of compliance with the existing performance requirements. Specific improvements also include:

  • Separating heating and cooling load limits (in addition to the NatHERS star rating requirement) to make sure buildings perform well year-round)
  • New verification methods for building envelope sealing

How will this affect you?

The changes will assist you to better comply with energy efficiency requirements and achieve higher energy savings in a cost-effective manner. This update has been carefully planned and takes into account industry feedback from multiple sources.

When are the changes coming into effect?

By February 2019 the final changes will be released, coming into effect on the 1st of May 2019

The NCC 2019 changes are expected to bring with them many benefits to the building industry. It’s going to be an exciting few years as the industry adapts and grows to adhere to the changes, improving energy efficiency in the process.

Certified Energy is here to help you work out how a range of materials can best benefit your next home. We are experienced environmental building consultants and are experts in the provision of sustainability certifications, delivering BASIX and BESS reports, as well as Section J, JV3, Green Star and NatHERS ratings quickly and efficiently.

Get in touch if you want to find out more about how we help our clients achieve the best energy ratings and cost savings! Call now!

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Sources

http://www.abcb.gov.au/Connect/Articles/2017/03/09/Section-J-Overhaul-big-changes-are-coming-your-way- accessed 05/04/18

http://www.abcb.gov.au/Connect/Articles/2016/11/11/Energy-Efficiency-Initiative-time-to-grow-up - accessed 05/04/18