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Changes to Section J – 2013

Changes to NCC (BCA) Section J in 2013

Every year a new edition of the National Construction Code* (NCC) is issued on the 1st May. The new edition contains all the updates needed for the code across all sections. Since Section J was added in 2006, there have been amendments each year. Usually these have been minor with the exception of 2010 when the stringency of the provisions was increased substantially.

This year the changes are seemingly minor. Mostly relating to changes to definitions and other clarifications.

However, the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) is foreshadowing major changes to Section J ahead. This is explained on the ABCB web site. See an extract below.

The main point to note is that when design a building in one NCC year (1 May to 31 April) and applying for a Construction Certificate (CC) in the next NCC year, is that there may be changes to the code which can affect the design. This can be a major or minor issue but in either case it delays the approval process. If this applies to the timing of your project, contact Application Solutions early in the new calendar year to check what is likely to come through with the new code.

From the ABCB……

National Strategy on Energy Efficiency (NSEE)**

In 2009, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to the final measures for the NSEE, which is designed to substantially improve the levels of energy efficiency across the Australian economy. A major section of the NSEE is devoted to improving the energy efficiency of Australia’s building stock. Measure 3.1.1 of the NSEE sets out the key elements of the outcomes-based national building energy standard-setting, assessment and rating framework (‘the Framework’) that jurisdictions have committed to developing.

The Framework has three key components:

  1. Providing a pathway, implemented primarily through the BCA, for increasing the stringency of the minimum performance requirements for new buildings and renovations;
  2. Providing consistent, accurate and understandable methodologies for assessing and for publicly communicating the energy efficiency (and other sustainability elements over time) of new and existing buildings; and
  3. Enhancing governance arrangements for building energy assessments, ratings and standard setting.


It is expected that a decision regarding implementation of the Framework will be announced by COAG in 2013. If directed by Government, the ABCB will commence work to address possible incremental stringency increases under the NSEE. Further information regarding the Framework can be found on the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE).

* Previously known as the Building Code of Australia (BCA)

** refer here for more detail about National Strategy on Energy Efficiency (NSEE).


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