THE NATIONAL CONSTRUCTION CODE
The National Construction Code (NCC) is an initiative of the Council of Australian Governments developed to incorporate all on-site construction requirements into a single code.
The NCC is produced and maintained by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) on behalf of the Australian Government and each State and Territory government.
The NCC is a uniform set of technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings and other structures, and plumbing and drainage systems throughout Australia. It allows for variations in climate and geological or geographic conditions.
THE NCC – FORMAT
The NCC is published in three volumes. The Building Code of Australia (BCA) is Volume One and Volume Two of the NCC and the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA) is Volume Three of the NCC.
VOLUME ONE: contains the requirements for—
- all Class 2 to 9 buildings; and
- access requirements for people with a disability in Class 1b and 10a buildings; and
- certain Class 10b structures including access requirements for people with a disability in Class 10b swimming pools.
VOLUME TWO: contains the requirements for—
- Class 1 and 10a buildings (other than access requirements for people with a disability in Class 1b and 10a buildings); and
- certain Class 10b structures (other than access requirements for people with a disability in Class 10b swimming pools); and
- Class 10c private bushfire shelters.
VOLUME THREE: contains the requirements for plumbing and drainage associated with all classes of buildings.
The NCC is accompanied by other documents, comprising the Consolidated Performance Requirements and the Guide to Volume One. Additional guidance material is also located on the ABCB Website at www.abcb.gov.au.
The NCC is drafted in a performance format allowing a choice of Deemed-to-Satisfy Solutions or flexibility to develop Performance Solutions based on existing or new innovative building, plumbing and drainage products, systems and designs.
When complying with the Deemed-to-Satisfy Solutions, or when developing Performance Solutions in order to comply with the NCC, consideration may need to be given to whether the solution impacts on compliance with other Parts of the NCC.
The goal of the NCC is to enable the achievement of nationally consistent, minimum necessary standards of relevant safety (including structural safety and safety from fire), health, amenity and sustainability objectives efficiently.
This goal is applied so that—
- there is a rigorously tested rationale for the regulation; and
- the regulation is effective and proportional to the issues being addressed such that the regulation will generate benefits to society greater than the costs (that is, net benefits); and
- there is no regulatory or non-regulatory alternative (whether under the responsibility of the Board or not) that would generate higher net benefits; and
- the competitive effects of the regulation have been considered and the regulation is no more restrictive than necessary in the public interest.
THE AUSTRALIAN BUILDING CODES BOARD
The ABCB is established by agreement between the Australian Government and each State and Territory Government. It is a co-operative arrangement between the signatories, local government and the building industry.
The ABCB’s mission is to address issues relating to safety, health, amenity and sustainability in the design, construction and performance of buildings. This is achieved through the NCC and the development of effective regulatory systems and appropriate non-regulatory solutions.
The Board comprises—
- a Chair; and
- the head of each Commonwealth, State and Territory department, statutory body, division, or agency that has the relevant administrative responsibility for NCC matters; and
- a representative of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA); and
- representatives of the building and construction industry, including one representative with plumbing expertise.
The Building Codes Committee (BCC) is the peak technical advisory body to the ABCB, with responsibility for technical matters associated with the BCA.
The BCC comprises—
- a representative of the ABCB; and
- one nominee each of the Australian, State and Territory Government members of the ABCB; and
- representatives of the building and construction industry.
The BCA is given legal effect by building regulatory legislation in each State and Territory. This legislation consists of an Act of Parliament and subordinate legislation which empowers the regulation of certain aspects of buildings and structures, and contains the administrative provisions necessary to give effect to the legislation.
Any provision of the BCA may be overridden by, or subject to, State or Territory legislation. The BCA must therefore be read in conjunction with that legislation. Any queries on such matters should be referred to the State or Territory authority responsible for building regulatory matters.
STATE AND TERRITORY VARIATIONS AND ADDITIONS
Each State’s and Territory’s legislation adopts the BCA subject to the variation or deletion of some of its provisions, or the addition of extra provisions. These variations, deletions and additions are contained following the provision that is being varied. Additional requirements are contained in Appendix A to Volume Two.
The dates of adoption and amendments are shown in the “History of Adoption” division at the end of this Volume.
DOCUMENTATION OF DECISIONS
Decisions made under the BCA should be fully documented and copies of all relevant documentation should be retained.
Examples of the kind of documentation which should be prepared and retained include:
- Details of the Performance Solution or the Deemed-to-Satisfy Solution including all relevant plans and other supporting documentation.
- In cases where a Performance Solution has been proposed—
- details of the relevant Performance Requirements; and
- the Assessment Method or methods used to establish compliance with the relevant Performance Requirements; and
- details of any Expert Judgement relied upon including the extent to which the judgement was relied upon and the qualifications and experience of the expert; and
- details of any tests or calculations used to determine compliance with the relevant Performance Requirements; and
- details of any Standards or other information which were relied upon.