Feedback and Engagements
The ABCB continues to engage with industry and governments, both nationally and internationally on a range of issues. Some of these include potential and expected changes to the NCC, code compliance issues and future initiatives. We’ve also had some consultation processes commence, so read on to find out more.
Accessible Housing National Consultation Forums 2018
The ABCB’s Accessible Housing National Consultation Forums wrapped up in Darwin on Thursday 1 November. Forums were held in each capital city throughout October and early November.
Responses to the forums was positive and attracted a broad cross-section of delegates from many sectors including disability support and advocacy groups, occupational therapists, State/Territory and Local Government representatives, and members of the building industry. Throughout the forums the ABCB gained unique and valuable insights, and was left with plenty to think about in taking this significant project to the next step.
Thank you those who attended the forums and provided feedback on the Options Paper. For those who were unable to attend, or would like to revisit any part of the presentation, a video recording of the forum is available for viewing.
Edinburgh, London and The Hague
In early October, Dr Brian Ashe and Neil Savery, attended meetings in Edinburgh, London and The Hague. Discussions involved various responses to code compliance issues, high rise building fires and regulatory system improvements following recent international events; not all of which related to external wall claddings.
The meetings in the United Kingdom (UK), which included officials directly involved in responding to the Grenfell Tower fire, had a particular focus on regulatory systems improvements. In the case of Scotland, the meetings included the chair of their regulatory system review, Mr John Cole, and the chair of their fire safety standards review, Mr Paul Stollard. It was very evident that the problems identified in Australia through the Shergold/Weir Assessment also exist in the UK, representing not only a risk to occupant health and safety, but potentially a significant economic cost to society.
Proposed responses in the UK will involve changes to regulatory systems, addressing certification processes for building approvals, inspections and completions; increasing the severity of penalties to include criminal sanctions, fundamentally addressing industry culture, expanding accountability along the supply chain, addressing a lack of expertise, increased surveillance by regulatory authorities and where necessary make technical policy changes and enhancements.
The meetings also highlighted that with increasingly complex buildings and a higher proportion of them being multi-storey with mixed uses, their on-going performance is as critical as their design and construction. This is because of the range and inter-dependence of active systems now featuring in buildings, often in response to contemporary code requirements around fire, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning; energy efficiency, etc. There was a very positive response to the transformation projects that the ABCB is undertaking, particularly around education and awareness, quantification and readability.
The meeting in The Hague was of the Interjurisdictional Regulatory Collaboration Committee. The meeting covered a variety of topics common to all countries, including cladding issues, accessibility, energy efficiency, disruptive technologies and building waste.
This was followed by an international workshop titled Building Quality – Improving Compliance with Building Regulations, and included Dame Judith Hackitt, as well as speakers from the Netherlands, Germany and the ABCB.
Pumping Industry Association & Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air conditioning and Heating
During September, the ABCB Office presented an update on relevant parts of the NCC at two Pumping Industry Association (PIA) and one Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) events. The presentations focussed on the possible changes to energy efficiency (in particular to Section J of NCC Volume One). A number of changes were flagged in the NCC 2019 Public Comment Draft that provided a good sense of the types of changes expected in the 2019 edition of the NCC. Attendees were informed that the Section J provisions are awaiting Board endorsement at its November 2018 meeting and, upon approval, will be available for public preview in February 2019.
The PIA events in Brisbane and Sydney, formed part of a wider program that focused on energy efficiency, updates to standards and the possibility of new Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for pumps. They were attended by representatives from 12 of Australia’s pump manufacturing and importing businesses.
The AIRAH presentation in Melbourne, was part of the Future of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Conference, held on September 11-12 and attended by more than 200 AIRAH members from the HVAC industry.
Sanitary facilities calculator beta testing version
Throughout September and October, the ABCB Office sought feedback on a beta testing version of a sanitary facilities (SF) calculator. The calculator assists users in understanding and applying the sanitary and other facilities Deemed-To-Satisfy (DTS) provisions in NCC Volume One.
We would like to thank users who tested and provided comment on the calculator. Feedback received was constructive and relevant to how it could be further improved. We are now working through the improvements and plan to release a final version the calculator in the near future – keep an eye on our latest updates for its release!