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Section J

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW...

About Obtaining a Section J Report For Your Project

Many city councils in Australia require a Section J report to accompany a Development Planning Application and/or a Construction Certificate application in order to proceed. We follow the national building code requirements. 

 

LEARN

WHAT IS section j exactly?

Section J explained

Also known as a Part J report, a section J report highlights the energy efficiency requirements for a Class 3, 5, 7, 8 and 9 building (commercial), this is defined by Section J (or Part J) of Volume One of the National Construction Code (NCC), formally known as the Building Code of Australia (BCA).Section J Method of Compliance (Deemed to Satisfy) is used when the Evidence of Suitability method using the Deemed to Satisfy (DtS) Provisions of Part J of the Energy Efficiency section of the NCC Volume 1 have been chosen as the most appropriate method to assess the compliance of the proposed development.
The Building Code of Australia outlines that Section J reports should be prepared using Deemed-to-Satisfy (DtS) provisions and verification using a reference building (JV3) verification methodology.
At Certified Energy, we prepare Section J Compliance reports using both methods.
As Australias climate is varied, this leads to different locations having different heating and cooling requirements. As such, the energy efficiency DtS provisions vary regarding location.  The NCC have classed these locations into 8 zones. Find out more about the climate zones of the NCC below. 

 

What’s the overall point of a Section J report?

  • The overall objective of a Section J report is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The aim of the NCC is to lessen energy consumption for heating, cooking, ventilation, lighting and other services used by buildings.
  • Working towards improving systems that directly consume energy.
  • Maintaining a greater level of control regarding the way heat flows in and out of the buildings fabric.

 

When do I need a Section J report?

  • A Section J report is required by all non-residential (commercial) buildings that fall between the classes of 2-9.
  • It is required in all states of Australia.
  • Most councils and certifiers need a section J assessment during the Development Application stage.

 

Who can perform a section J report?

BCA Section J reports are generally conducted by highly qualified and experienced energy efficiency consultants. Consultants who perform Section J reports must have an in-depth knowledge of the energy efficiency measures of both mechanical and electrical systems of a building. Having knowledge of the thermal properties of building fabrics is also important.

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What is a Section J Report?

Non-Residential Buildings under Class 3-9

Also known as a Part J report, a Section J Report highlights the energy efficiency requirements for a Class 3, 5, 7, 8 and 9 for non-residential commercial buildings. This is defined by Section J (or Part J) of Volume One of the National Construction Code (NCC), formally known as the Building Code of Australia (BCA). The Section J Method of Compliance (Deemed-to-Satisfy – DtS) is used when the Evidence of Suitability method (using the Deemed to Satisfy (DtS) Provisions of Part J of the Energy Efficiency section of the NCC Volume 1) have been chosen as the most appropriate method to assess the compliance of the proposed development.

 

Residential Buildings not covered under Class 1-2

Section J Reports are also used for all new residential and commercial developments that are not covered under Class 1 or 2. These include types of boarding houses, guest houses, hostels, lodging houses, commercial, retail, apartments and backpacker accommodation. Other buildings can also include a residential area of schools and hotels. The Section J Report is also required for new building extensions and refurbishments to existing buildings.

 

Energy Efficiency Standard of Section J Reports

Energy efficiency is the main standard of Section J Reports which can be used for insulation, building fabric, external glazing performance, building sealing, air-conditioning and ventilation performance, artificial lighting and power performance, heated water supply and spa plant pool and access to energy plants for maintenance.
The Section J Report outlines the solutions and provisions that are necessary for the development to meet the requirements outlined in Section J of the NCC. Many councils in Australia require a Section J Report in order to proceed with a Development Application.
 
 

How is Section J Assessed?

As stated, Section J compliance is assessed against nine categories as described in section J of the National Construction Code. Based on the type of dwelling, the building is measured against these categories in order to assess its assumed thermal performance for new dwellings or rate its assumed existing thermal performance for alterations and additions on existing properties.
Specifically, each building is assessed using a glazing calculator to assess the overall thermal performance of glazed elements with glazing and frame types taken into consideration as well as window orientation and relative ratio of glass to wall, and glass to floor. A lighting calculator is also used to assess the required and maximum energy usage of any given room within the building in order to reduce energy consumption as well as to meet overall state and national energy efficiency goals.
Areas that do not comply under the Section J provisions will need recommendations in order to meet the minimum requirements of the Deemed-to-Satisfy (DtS) provisions.
 
 

Energy Efficiency Requirements of the NCC

The aim of NCC is to use less energy for heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting and other services used by buildings which require the use of energy. To be energy efficient means to work towards improving systems that directly consume energy including lighting, air-conditioning and heating. This also includes working towards maintaining a greater level of control regarding the way heat flows in and out of the building’s fabric.
The energy efficiency requirements also take into account the following:
  • Part J1 – The building’s fabric performance
  • Part J2 – External glazing and shading
  • Part J3 – Sealing of the building
  • Part J5 – Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems
  • Part J6 – Performance of artificial lighting
  • Part J7 – Heated water supply system for heating and pumping of swimming pools and spas
  • Part J8 – facilities used to monitor energy use.
 
 
 

U AND R VALUES AND ENERGY RATING: 

 

In the field of ESD, two terms which constantly appear are the U and R values of products, but what do these mean? Whether referring to insulation or glazing each product on the market has a specific either U or R value. These values refer to the thermal performance of specific products and materials and how they assist in maintaining thermal control in a building or structure. These values are an integral part of the BASIX, NatHERS and Section J process in the NCC, which require specific values to be either entered into the glazing calculator for Section J reports or specific glazing types with predetermined U and SHGC values for BASIX and NatHERS along with specific R values for insulation and building materiality.

 

 

 

Let us first explain U and R:

 

 
So what is a U Value?

The U value of products refers to the heat loss through building elements, this is calculated at the rate of heat loss per metre square of material. When looking for better performing products the lower the U value the better the product is at preventing heat loss. The U value is generally calculated at the U value of the total window assembly including the glass, frame, seals and spacers this is also called the UW, whereas the U value of the glass is known as the UC (centre of glass). A lower U value means the less heat that is being lost preventing unwanted heat flow and heat escaping.

U-Values

 
What is meant by an R Value?

The R value represents the thermal resistance of the building elements, where contradictory to the U value the higher the R value the better performing the product is, in the sense of reducing heat loss (the higher the R value the better the product is at insulating). All building elements have a determined R value, including the walls etc. Therefore, the R value in applications such as Bers Pro, (one of the NatHERS approved software for BASIX and NatHERS certification) accounts for the RT or total R value of the wall system and insulation, where although each product has a separate R value, they ultimately are calculated together.

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What is the SHGC?

The Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) is another integral part of choosing thermally performing glazing. This refers to the amount of radiant solar heat that is absorbed or blocked by the glazing. Both the U and SHGC values are greatly considered in rating projects in Section J of the NCC. The number given for the SHGC is the fraction or percentage of heat released inwards through the glazing therefore. If you want to gain heat through windows in colder climates the higher SHGC value should be chosen, whereas if the aim is to reduce the amount of solar energy entering the house, a lower SHGC is preferable.

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ENERGY EFFICIENCY INDUSTRY: HISTORY

 

Due to concerns regarding global warning, the Australian Government in July 2000, announced that the State and Territory governments along with industry had reached agreement in regards to adopting a “two pronged” approach to reducing the overall greenhouse emissions from buildings. This was first introduced through the implementation of mandatory minimum energy performance requirements through the Building Code of Australia (BCA). Secondly was the encouragement of voluntary best practice initiatives within the industry. These initiatives were widely supported, with the reasoning that the building related matters be consolidated in the BCA wherever possible.

 

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Endorsed by the National Framework for Energy Efficiency (NFEE), the Energy Efficiency Project was an agreement between Australian Governments to improve energy efficiency in the country. NFEE’s objective being to unlock the significant economic potential associated with increased implementation of energy efficiency technologies, along with processes through which to deliver a least cost approach to energy efficiency in the country. In order to enable the effective involvement of stakeholders, within the development of the BCA Energy Efficiency Provisions, working groups and committees composed of representatives from a range of government, industry and community organisations were developed. 

 

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REPORT

What is the process of getting a section J report?

 

  1. Client provides design drawings and plans
  2. Determine DTS provisions applicable to the building class and climate zone
  3. Desktop environmental review of drawings and specifications against DTS provisions of BCA.
  4. Identify areas of non-compliance within the design, and provide recommendations
  5. Provide Section J report for building permit

 

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REQUIREMENTS

WHAT DO YOU NEED?

 

When is a Section J Report required?

 

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- As part of the National Construction Code (NCC)
In most jurisdictions, a report describing compliance with Section J is required before a construction certificate is issued. The National Construction Code (NCC) requires Class 2 to 9 buildings, including commercial, retail, apartments and industrial buildings to be evaluated using an extensive and all-inclusive NCC Section J Compliance Report. This report outlines the provisions and solutions that necessary for the development to comply with the requirements outlined in Section J of the NCC.
You will require a Section J Report when applying for a Development Application or Construction Certificate Application. The Section J Report will show that you have complied with the energy efficiency requirements as set by the NCC.
Certified Energy prepares Section J Compliance Reports using both Deemed-to-Satisfy (DtS) and verification using a reference building (JV3) verification methodologies.

 

- Deemed to Satisfy (Dts)

DtS Provisions contribute to the bulk of the NCC. DtS Provisions can be adopted if designers and/or builders do not want to develop a new way of achieving Performance Requirements. Performance Requirements refer to the level of performance which must be met.

The Section J Report includes:

  • J1: Building Fabric – Roof and ceiling construction, roof lights, walls and floors.
  • J2: Glazing – includes Shading.
  • J3: Building Sealing – Chimneys and flues, roof lights, external windows and doors, exhaust fans, roof construction, walls and floor.
  • J5: Air-conditioning and Ventilation Systems – Mechanical ventilation, ductwork, time switches, heating and cooling systems.
  • J6: Artificial Lighting and Power – Interior artificial lighting and power control, decorative lighting, external lighting, boiling and chilled water storage units.
  • J7: How Water Supply, Swimming Pool and Spa Pool Plant
  • J8: Access for Maintenance and Monitoring Facilities

 

Verification Method

A Verification Method refers to a test, inspection or calculation that determines whether a Performance Solution meets the relevant Performance Requirements. For more information on JV3 methodologies please click here (insert link to the JV3 FAQs page once this is made).

 

Alternative solutions

JV3 Assessment is an alternative solution for non-residential buildings when a Section J report is required. When a buildings design does not meet the Deemed to Satisfy (DtS) requirements under the National Construction Code (NCC), a JV3 assessment can be acquired.
JV3 allows much more flexibility relating to the design choices. The assessment uses a reference building to compare the overall assumed energy consumption of new buildings with respect to their location and climate.
 

Requirements of a Section J Report

The performance requirements of the Deemed-to-Satisfy (DtS) provisions include but are not limited to meeting the Total R-Values of roofs, walls and floors, the glazing allowances and air movement requirements. These detailed provisions also include the testing and installation of insulation, thermal breaks, compensation for downlights, floor edge insulation and detailed provisions for building sealing. These specification need to be provided to your registered assessor for the building’s overall thermal performance to be measured.
These requirements fall into nine main sections in the NCC:
  • Part J0 – Energy Efficiency (J0.1 to J0.3),
  • Part J1 – Building Fabric (J1.1 to J1.6),
  • Part J2 – Glazing (J2.1 to J2.5),
  • Part J3 – Building Sealing (J3.1 to J3.7),
  • Part J4 – Air Movement (not applicable),
  • Part J5 – Air-conditioning and Ventilation Systems (J5.1 to J5.4),
  • Part J6 – Artificial Lighting and Power (J6.1 to J6.6),
  • Part J7 – Heated Water Supply and Swimming Pool and Spa Pool Plant (J7.1 to J7.4) and
  • Part J8 – Facilities for Energy Monitoring (J8.1 to J8.3)

The specific requirements of the assessment regarding your new building or renovation will depend on factors such as the Class of the Building, the Climate Zone and the size of the building in terms of the floor area.

 

Climate Zones of the NCC

As Australia’s climate is varied, this leads to different locations having different heating and cooling requirements. As such, the energy efficiency DtS Provisions vary regarding location. The NCC has classed locations with similar climates into 8 zones:

  1. High humidity during Summer and warm Winters
  2. Warm humidity during Summer and mild Winters
  3. Hot dry Summers and Warm Winters
  4. Hot dry Summers and Cool Winters
  5. Warm temperature
  6. Mild temperate
  7. Cool temperate
  8. Alpine regions

The NCC climate zones 1 and 2 have a desire for cooling which is likely during most of the year. Climate zones 3 and 4 have a higher need for heating than cooling for most of the year. Climate zone 5 is seen to have a warm climate with a limited need for cooling and heating. Climate zones 6 and 7 are cool climate areas and need a significant level of heating to maintain comfortable temperatures. Zone 8 also requires heating due to it being an alpine region.

 

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TIME

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

section J report process

 

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And see what Energy Compliance looks like in Australia under the new NCC 2019 building codes. 

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COST

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

The cost of the overall assessment of a building is dependant on its size and complexity and therefore requires a specific quote to be made. Prices for Section J reports range from $1200 to $4000 depending on the size and complexity of the project.

 

To find out the exact price of a Section J Report for your project, send us your plans and we will review them to work out an accurate fee and time frame.

 

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