How Does Section J Apply to Boarding Houses?

Surprisingly, boarding houses create quite a bit of confusion and often the confusion starts with the local Council.

We hope the following comments explain when Section J applies.

Section J is the energy efficiency provisions of the building code and it applies to Class 2 to 9 Buildings. These provisions apply at the time of obtaining a construction certificate, for example after a DA has been issued.

Basix on the other hand is a broader sustainability set of controls applicable in NSW at the DA stage and applies to Class 1, 2 and 4 buildings.

In most cases a boarding house is classified as a Class 3 building which is clearly affected only by Section J.  However, we often hear of Councils requiring a Basix certificate in this situation.

The confusion appears to stem from Class 1b buildings which are small ‘boarding houses’ housing not more than 12 people and less than 300m² in area. The Class 1b type developments do require a Basix certificate.

However, once a boarding house accommodates more than 12 people or is over 300m² it is classed as a Class 3 building. It\’s now no longer subject to Basix but must meet the Section J requirements.

So, if you\’re facing this situation ask your certifier or building code consultant to confirm what class of building you are building. Is it Class 1b or Class 3? Then, if it is Class 3 and a Council officer asks you to get a Basix certificate, query them and show them a reference to which classes of buildings Basix applies to. Let’s get it right.

We have included a link to one reference below:

Refer also to our earlier articles on Section J:

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