National Construction Code

What's the deal with Airbnb and the NCC?

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The traditional hotel room, with its mini-bar, room service and cable TV, is a long established part of travel in Australia and all over the world.

Yet, like so many other long established institutions, it is being disrupted by new technologies as part of the rapidly growing ‘sharing economy’, through apps such as Stayz and Airbnb. These new platforms have opened up many other buildings, such as inner-city apartments, to be let for short term accommodation.

This article discusses:

  • the use of short term accommodation;
  • the associated requirements of the NCC;
  • outlines the current project being undertaken by the ABCB; and
  • how and when you can have your say.

Short-term accommodation

Whilst many people are benefitting from the sharing economy, concerns have been raised by some stakeholders that residential apartment buildings should not be used for short-term accommodation due to an occupant’s unfamiliarity with the building and, as a consequence, the potential for exposure to greater risk. In addition, some stakeholders have raised concerns regarding the impact on amenity for long term residents. In response to some of the concerns associated with amenity, and in an effort to guide this emerging industry, the Holiday Rental Industry Association released a Holiday Rental Code of Conduct (HRCC) in 2012.

In addition, in 2012 these concerns were investigated by the ABCB to determine the impact of buildings being used for short-term accommodation, particularly in respect of health and safety of occupants. The outcome of this investigation found that based on the evidence received, the use of Class 2 buildings for short-term accommodation has not resulted in any increased fire safety risk to occupants, and that an evaluation of the effectiveness of the HRCC should be undertaken in 2017 (5 year anniversary).

The 2012 investigation also determined that the majority of issues raised were generally post construction occupancy matters, which are the responsibility of States and Territories, and could not be effectively dealt with by the NCC. NSW has since released an Options Paper in July 2017 entitled ‘Short-term Holiday Letting in NSW’ which explores different options to deliver an effective approach to short-term holiday letting in NSW.


The NCC is a performance-based code, which means there is no obligation to adopt any particular material, component, design factor or construction method. This provides for a choice of compliance pathways. The Performance Requirements, which are the mandatory requirements, can be met using a Performance Solution, a Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) Solution or a combination of both.

Traditional accommodation buildings such as hotels and motels are considered Class 3 buildings for the purposes of applying the NCC’s DTS Provisions. Whereas ‘residential’ apartment buildings are considered Class 2; this means they are subject to different requirements under the DTS.

The NCC does not regulate, nor can it, the length of stay by occupants.

2017/18 ABCB Project

The 2017/18 financial year sees the ABCB embark on a contemporary review of the use of parts of Class 2 apartment buildings for short-term accommodation. The Project will also include a review of the effectiveness of the HRCC.

The ABCB will develop a Discussion Paper for broad public consultation. The Discussion Paper will:

  • outline the role of the NCC and associated building classifications;
  • explore concerns raised previously in relation to short-term accommodation;
  • discuss and seek feedback on the effectiveness of the HRCC;
  • consider other approaches, such as those being explored by NSW;
  • explore options to address concerns that are within the remit of the ABCB and NCC; and
  • provide opportunities for stakeholders to outline their views, provide evidence and feedback on the options presented and allow the suggestion of new options.

Next steps

Responses to the Discussion Paper will inform the next steps of the project. This will include the development of recommendations for any further work needed and any proposed changes required to the NCC.

All project recommendations will be presented to the Board of the ABCB for its consideration.

Key dates

  • Release of Discussion Paper for consultation: January 2018
  • Close of consultation: February 2018
  • Consideration by the Board of the ABCB: June 2018

Register today to ensure you have your say!

The Discussion Paper will be available for download from the Resource Library. Email alerts advising of the release of the Discussion Paper will be circulated to NCC registered users.

By registering to receive NCC alerts you can ensure you will receive notification of when you can have your say on the issue of short term accommodation and the NCC.

Register now.

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