In brief - Construction companies should ensure compliance with amendments
The National Construction Code (NCC) 2015 is set to be adopted Australia-wide on 1 May 2015. It includes the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA), a BCA Guide and Performance Requirements Extract. There are around 26 pages of amendments. For the first time, it is available for free online at the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) website. Previously it cost $400.
New performance requirements extract highlights mandatory legal requirements
The 2015 NCC extracts the performance requirements from the BCA and PCA into a new 69-page guide. The ABCB states that these performance requirements are the only mandatory legal requirements for the NCC, so that a building, plumbing or drainage solution will comply with the NCC if it satisfies them. Despite this, the Performance Requirements Extract shouldn't be used in isolation because it omits other important parts of the NCC such as defined terms, verification methods and state and territory variations.
Revised BCA Guide provides additional clarity
A revised BCA Guide provides clarifications, illustrations and examples to explain volume 1 of the BCA (volume 2 doesn't need a guide because it already contains guidance notes and diagrams). Again, the guide shouldn't be used in isolation because it does not cover every provision in the BCA, nor state and territory variations to it.
New compliance verification methods
New verification methods have been inserted as an option to verify compliance. These include:
- FV1 - a new means for verifying if a proposed external wall system prevents the penetration of water, as required by FP1.4.
- BV1 - a new means for verifying the structural reliability of structural components and connections, as required by BP1.1 and BP1.2.
- V2.1.1 - a new means for verifying the structural reliability of structural components and connections, as required by P2.1.1(a)-(c).
- V2.2.1 - a new means for verifying if a proposed external wall system prevents the penetration of water, as required by P2.2.2.
ABCB releases performance guidance documents
To underscore the performance-based focus of the 2015 NCC, the ABCB has released:
- a performance guidance document which outlines the approval process for performance solutions
- a performance info-graphic showing the different methods available to achieve compliance with the NCC
- an NCC Hierarchy for the Building Code of Australia and an NCC Hierarchy for the Plumbing Code of Australiaexplaining the legal structure of those components of the NCC.
Review your systems now
The 2015 NCC includes a section at the end of each volume summarising the key changes since the previous edition. These can be found in volume 1 at pages 780 - 792, in volume 2 at pages 557 - 563 and in volume 3 at pages 217 - 222.
Construction companies should, at a minimum, review their existing processes against the changes in these 26 pages to ensure that they are compliant.