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Building Ministers have agreed to the final changes to the 2022 edition of the National Construction Code.

Low Energy Homes

Building Ministers have agreed to improve the energy efficiency of new homes through the National Construction Code (NCC). 

As of NCC 2022, new residential dwellings will need to achieve the equivalent of “7 stars” NatHERS thermal performance.

New homes will also have a new annual energy use budget applicable to the home’s major appliances such as space conditioning, hot water, lighting, pool and spa pumps, and any on-site renewable energy generation.

This will support jurisdictions’ agendas to reduce energy demand and emissions reduction while also reducing energy costs for home owners and renters.

Glenys Beauchamp PSM, Chair of the ABCB, said “these reforms will deliver cost-effective energy efficiency upgrades that will improve the comfort and health of occupants throughout the year. With lower energy use, we’ll also see lower new household energy bills and lower emissions.”

“NCC 2022 will provide many practical solutions to reduce household energy use, especially during peak demand periods.”

“Coupled with the benefits of on-site renewables, these new homes will also support the transformation and reliability of the energy grid.”

This will also make a strong positive contribution to decarbonising our economy, achieving more than 14.1 million tonnes in carbon abatement.

Gary Rake, CEO of the ABCB, said “these reforms will ensure our buildings are helping us reach a low emissions future.”

“These changes are the result of over 3 years of development and consultation by the ABCB, and deliver a key policy priority of Ministers.”

“The ABCB would like to thank the many organisations that have actively contributed to our development of the new requirements, including from industry, consumer groups, and energy, environment and climate advocacy associations.”

Ms Beauchamp also said “Ministers also asked me to convey a special thanks to the dedicated staff of the ABCB who have worked diligently over the last few years to support these new and practical reforms.”

“The Board and the Office will continue to work closely with jurisdictions and stakeholders on communication and education activities to support industry implementation of these important reforms.”

Eye on the future

Building Ministers and the Board already have an eye on the next edition of the NCC.

Approving the ABCB’s business plan for 2022-23, Ministers recognised that societal needs are changing, and our building standards need to keep pace.

The work of the ABCB will focus on making sure our buildings are safe and fit for the future.

This includes provisions to make it easier to install Distributed Energy Resources (DER) such as solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems, battery storage and bi-directional charging for electric vehicles (EV).

Mr Rake said “we’ll have a special focus on ensuring our buildings are ready to make EV charging safe and easy. We know the demand for electric vehicles is going to continue to increase, especially as households and businesses prioritise use of electricity and renewables.”

Other key elements of the work program are:

  • Continued accessibility improvements, to achieve better designed buildings that support the needs of seniors and people with disability.
  • Improving resilience to climate risks and extreme weather events like bushfires, floods, cyclones and extreme heat.
  • Increasing commercial building energy efficiency and moving towards net-zero energy.

Read more about the Building Ministers Meeting in the official communique.

What's next?

The ABCB will first release a preview of the new energy efficiency and condensation requirements on 1 September 2022.  This will be available to download as a pdf from ncc.abcb.gov.au.

Building Ministers agreed to publish NCC 2022 on 1 October 2022. The full and final version of NCC 2022, in its entirety, will go live on NCC online from this date. Printed copies will then also become available for sale from our commercial providers from 1 October.

The States and Territories will bring the majority of NCC 2022 into full effect from 1 May 2023, to allow industry time to learn and adapt to the new requirements.

There will also be transition periods for specific requirements.  These include:

  • New livable housing requirements, new energy efficiency and condensation mitigation requirements – 1 October 2023
  • New low lead in plumbing product requirements – 1 September 2025.

These provisions of NCC 2022 will be considered voluntary until then.