Last week we held the first of a series of forums, hosted by the ABCB’s Chair, Glenys Beauchamp AO PSM, and I. The event was open to anyone interested in the work of the ABCB, the NCC and the 2 certification schemes managed by the ABCB – WaterMark and CodeMark.

These forums are part of our ongoing commitment to increased transparency and stakeholder engagement. We were delighted to see more than 220 people registered from across Australia. The event was held in Canberra and live streamed online.

It was great to see so much interest, a wide range of questions from the audience, and productive discussion. When we asked the audience whether they wanted to continue after the break, almost 2 hours into the session, there was a strong ‘yes’ and we took that as a positive sign of audience engagement. Thank you!

One topic that came up several times is embodied carbon and what level of emphasis the ABCB is giving to incorporating this into the NCC. Embodied carbon emissions in the building sector has been identified as a known issue by the ABCB and is under consideration for our work plan. However, there are some limitations to the extent the NCC can capture measures needed to reduce all embodied carbon emissions involved in building and construction, for example, when it comes to packaging. At the June 2023 Building Ministers Meeting, Ministers discussed the measurement of indirect and embodied carbon emissions generated by the building sector, and are looking at the possibility of a nationally consistent approach.

Another important issue raised on the night was that of affordability. Glenys and I were asked how we see the Board’s role in addressing affordability issues. The NCC undergoes rigorous processes of assessing impact. Any change, such as the new energy efficiency provisions in NCC 2022, is a balance of cost, along with best practice, performance outcomes of new innovations and other considerations. To find out more about the ABCB’s formal consultation approach, see our Charter of Engagement and Transparency.

Other discussion topics among the many areas of interest included the reasons for variations of the Code in different jurisdictions, adequacy of access and space for communication services, and whether there would be any updates to building classifications.

We appreciated the participation of the audience and valued the opportunity to hear and respond to all questions – including the more challenging ones!

It is our hope that these events will help to create a more open environment of increased trust and engagement. This will help us to make improvements that benefit individuals, community, and industry.

If you’d like to have your say, our second forum is planned for Adelaide. Make sure you mark 31 October 2023 in your calendar and look out for more information coming soon!