The need for a Section J report is often severely underestimated. The importance and relevance of a Section J report is something that could certainly benefit from greater communication among the construction industry.
Something we see a lot from working with construction companies and contractors is that many people are not aware of the aims of the Section J report, the need for the assessment and the legal compliance requirements.
It’s really a huge grey area in the industry so we’ve decided to put together this article, minus all the confusing lingo and references, and break down in black and white, in simple terms, the need for and benefits of the Section J Report.
When was the Section J Report introduced?
Section J was introduced in the Building Code of Australia on the 1st of January 2008 and it has undergone some changes over the years, with the most significant changes since its introduction expected to be introduced in 2019.
What is the aim of the Section J Report?
The Section J requirements outline the minimum level of performance of the building materials, components, design factors and construction methods used in a commercial property build in order for a building to meet minimum energy efficiency standards.
By outlining these minimum requirements, the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) can ensure that the commercial building industry is playing its part in helping the country to achieve its overall long-term energy efficiency goals.
Building practices play a key role in reducing emissions and increasing the country’s energy efficiency. By making these requirements mandatory, emissions have already been significantly reduced across the last decade and we are on a firm path towards reaching the ABCB’s sustainability goals.
Why do I need a Section J report?
If building or renovating a commercial property in classes 3-9, you are legally required to complete and file a Section J report to obtain your building permit.
|Class 3||A residential building that is not a Class 1 or 2 building (house or unit) such as a boarding house, motel room, guesthouse, bed and breakfast.|
|Class 4||A dwelling in a Class 1 or Class 2 building such as a butler’s apartment, a staff chamber.|
|Class 5||An office building|
|Class 6||A shop, restaurant or retail premises|
|Class 7||A car park, a warehouse or distribution unit|
|Class 8||A laboratory, factory or manufacturing premises|
|Class 9||Public buildings – hospitals, school buildings, government buildings.|
Proceeding with your building design without a Section J report can lead to rejection of your building permit. Your building permit application will not be processed without your Section J report. If consideration has not been given to the Section J requirements, there is a strong likelihood that the property design may be found non-compliant with regulatory standards.
Should I just do the Section J assessment myself?
Although legally anyone can conduct a Section J assessment and report, would you trust just anyone to review and assess compliance with the various complex requirements of the report? A report that could be the difference in your project obtaining a building permit or not? This is a task where the assessor really needs to know what they are doing.
This is a role typically assigned to those who hold formal qualifications in architecture, engineering or building design. However, you need to look for an assessor who not only has these professional qualifications but years of experience in the construction industry and in helping building companies to assess and ensure compliance with Section J.
The Section J report is not an avoidable element of the building process. Save yourself time, money and hassle by having an experienced assessor assess and complete your Section J report before any materials have been purchased.