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National Construction Code Public Comment Draft

Since my last update, our team has travelled around the country presenting the ABCB Roadshow event series. It was great to see so many of you join these events, whether at a venue or online. These events covered the proposed changes to the next edition of the National Construction Code (NCC). There were also 2 dedicated plumbing webinars. 

If you missed these events, videos of the presentations are now available in our online resource library and YouTube channel. If you would still like to provide feedback on the proposed changes to the next edition of the NCC, make sure you lodge your submissions through our Consultation Hub by Monday 1 July 2024. The 5 additional consultations below also close on 1 July. 

To facilitate the NCC Public Comment Draft consultation process, the Commonwealth Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) has published some worked examples that illustrate aspects of the proposed energy efficiency changes, including PV, EV charging, future electrification readiness, fans and building envelope changes. Visit the Commercial energy efficiency page in our NCC PCD hub for more details. 

Building Ministers Meeting - June

Our Board Chair, Glenys Beauchamp AO PSM, and I attended the Building Ministers’ Meeting on Friday 21 June, where several important decisions were made.

  • Ministers agreed to add climate resilience as an objective of the ABCB in the next Intergovernmental Agreement, to take effect from 1 July 2025. This change will ensure that we are actively considering the needs of buildings and occupants under a changing climate. It builds on our recent Public Forum discussions about the needs of buildings, and hence the NCC, through to 2050 and beyond.
  • As we strive to build new homes across Australia, we need to pull every lever possible to support industry. I gave Ministers an update on our work to support the increased use of modular and prefabricated methods. We are working closely with industry and jurisdictions to make it easier for high quality offsite manufacturing to help increase the supply of new housing.
  • Our 2024-25 ABCB business plan was approved and will be published in the next few weeks. The key focus areas will be continuing our support for industry in applying the current NCC 2022, while also finalising our work towards the next edition, NCC 2025. I’ll give more information about the 2024-25 Business Plan in my next update.
  • Finally, Ministers also received a briefing on the benefits of developing a new national register of building products – with a particular focus on high-risk products – and have asked the ABCB to design a new scheme for consideration later this year.

Read the June 2024 Building Ministers’ Meeting Communique

Accredited testing laboratories

We’ve been asked a few questions about accredited test labs lately, so I’d like to share the following information for all readers.

The Australian Government recognises the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) as the national authority for accreditation of all laboratories in operating in Australia. This is in effect through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Commonwealth (as represented by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources) and NATA. NATA is the Australian member of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and the Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (APLAC).

The ABCB is a joint initiative of the Commonwealth and state and territory governments, together with the building and plumbing industries. The requirements adopted through the National Construction Code (NCC) are part of a regulatory framework. This framework aligns with Australian Government policy direction and the MOU by recognising NATA as the national body responsible for accreditation of all laboratories operating in Australia. 

The NCC also recognises laboratories operating outside Australia, which are accredited to perform relevant tests by an authority recognised by NATA. For laboratories outside Australia to be recognised as an Accredited Testing Laboratory (ATL), there must be a mutual recognition agreement in place. Alternatively, it must be recognised as an Accredited Testing Laboratory under legislation when the test was undertaken. As such, these requirements would not constitute a restriction of trade.   

Next ABCB Forum - July | Sydney

Next month, we are holding the next event in our public forum series. On 30 July our Board Chair, Glenys Beauchamp, and I will be in Sydney to answer any questions you have about the work of the ABCB. We’ll also discuss the ABCB business plan and give updates on other topics including resilience, modular and prefab buildings, embodied carbon and the building product assurance framework project. 

Registrations for this event are opening soon - keep an eye on our usual communication channels for details. Please note this is an in-person event; it won’t be live-streamed.