As you may know, the NCC has a 3-year update cycle, with the next update in 2019. With this update, the ABCB have planned to implement a number of changes to the code that will have a direct impact on Section J report assessments.
The ABCB want to make the code simpler and easier to understand yet ensuring that standards are relevant and as stringent as they need to be to contribute the level of energy and greenhouse gas emission savings needed.
A formal consultation period began in early 2018 and the changes that will come into effect next year are not set in stone just yet. However, we do have a clear view of the changes that are being proposed.
If you are involved with commercial building, now is the time to get familiar with the potential changes that could affect your building efficiency plans from next year.
Green Star and NABERS Simulation Accepted for Compliance
One key change proposed aims to see Green Star and NABERS simulation protocols as viable verification methods for demonstrating compliance under the Performance Solution requirements.
If a property has taken part in one of these simulation schemes and the specified improvements have been implemented, the property will not need to undertake a separate simulation project to demonstrate compliance for the Section J report.
This would avoid the need to unnecessarily take part in multiple simulation schemes that will likely see greater use of recommended Performance Solutions rather than just the typical DTS provisions that do not suit all building designs.
A Review of Glazing Requirements
The glazing requirements the Section J report are also up for review. There have been issues with J2 glazing requirements being later found non-compliant when they were presumed to have met the compliance requirements outlined.
As a result, the ABCB wish to revise the communication of the J2 glazing requirements so that they are simplified and cannot be easily misinterpreted.
Another huge change suggests the introduction of a ‘trade-off’ situation. Facades with high WWRs could be counteracted and compensated with facades with low WWRs to achieve overall compliance.
Additional Potential Changes
More improved thermal bridging requirements will also likely feature while on-site renewables such as photovoltaics will be given greater consideration. Commissioning and condensation requirements are also set to be reviewed with air blower testing introduced as a new voluntary measure for proving compliance with commissioning requirements.
Air control measures will also see some changes with the likely introduction of maximum air changes per hour. The promoted use of Co2 control or heat exchangers will become much more prevalent.
When will I know which specific changes are going to be implemented?
The final changes will be released by the ABCB in February 2019, and will officially come into effect on 1 May 2019.
Why the changes?
The Section J Report has not changed much since the introduction of the initial 2006 requirements so while the eventual confirmed changes may seem a little extreme when announced, they are long overdue and absolutely necessary to stay in line with emerging building trends and practices.
The aim of this code update is to contribute to Australia’s goal of increasing the energy efficiency of building stocks by 40% as well as reducing overall emissions, something that the commercial building industry is keen to contribute to.
As Australia’s leading Section J report assessment experts, we’ll keep you posted as more information emerges about next year’s proposed changes so stay tuned to our blog to learn more and ensure you are prepared to remain compliant once the new requirements are introduced.