NCC Changes Basix

Sustainability SEPP and National Construction Code Changes

On the 29 August Commonwealth, state and territory Building Ministers met to discuss upgraded energy efficiency provisions for residential buildings, implementation, and transition timeframes for the 2022 edition of the National Construction Code (NCC), the Australia Building Codes Board (ABCB) Business Plan, funding, and Intergovernmental Agreement.

The key changes will mean that:

The ‘thermal comfort target’ will be increased from the current 5.5-star NatHERS to a 7-star minimum

  • Energy consumption stringency increased, varying with building location and type. For example, a house in Western Sydney increases from a target of ‘BASIX 50’ up to ‘BASIX 70’.
  • A new provision will be introduced to calculate and report the embodied emissions of building materials in the building. There is no specific target or benchmark, but the information must be reported on the embodied emissions through a new calculator to be provided.
  • The thermal fabric and energy stringency increases will not apply to homes in the North Coast climate zones or to small apartment buildings up to 5 storeys.

There are no changes to the BASIX water standard.

The change to the thermal comfort 7-star minimum rating and energy consumption through BASIX will be a significant change for the energy efficiency provisions in NSW and will mean that once adopted all new homes and multi-dwellings, will need to be designed to the new higher standard.

So, when will this start?

The NSW Government has confirmed these changes will come into force on 1 October 2023 in line with the NCC 2022 energy and condensation provisions timeframe. There will be the opportunity to start implementing these changes from 1 October 2022 should Builders and Developers wish to test their existing designs. Engaging an accredited NatHERS assessor early in the design process will ensure that targets and budgets are met.

Where can I see these changes?

The changes are being introduced as part of the State Environmental Planning Policy (Sustainable Buildings) 2022 (Sustainable Buildings SEPP). The Sustainable Buildings SEPP will replace the existing BASIX SEPP for residential buildings.

They will align with NCC 2022 energy reforms as part of the national commitment to a net-zero trajectory and the NSW Net-Zero Plan.

How can I test these changes?

Over the last 8 months, Industry professionals like Ecocert have had the opportunity to test the BASIX sandbox tool in a new beta version. This will be integrated into the Planning Portal and is being developed in stages. The advice from the state Government is that:

  • the BASIX DIY tool is still under development.
  • the NatHERS approved thermal modelling software packages are not expected to be updated and accredited until later in the year, potentially as late as mid-2023 for some software providers.

It is important to note that NatHERS can only be used for the BASIX thermal performance target. The new NatHERS whole-of-home tool cannot be used for meeting the BASIX energy targets.

What timeframe do we have to implement these changes?

The changes will not apply to a Development Application, Complying Development Application, or application for modification of a development consent made prior to 1 October 2023.

Projects with a BASIX certificate generated prior to 1 October 2023 will not need to generate a new BASIX certificate if the Development Application or Complying Development Certificate is lodged within the three-month BASIX certificate validity period.

At Ecocert we encourage all our clients to speak with us as early as possible in the design process. This allows for preliminary advice and collaboration with both the Building Designer and Builder.

Do you need more information or assistance with the new NCC changes and how they relate to your build? 

Contact us today.