Part A1 Interpreting the NCC
Introduction to this Part
This Part explains important concepts on how the NCC must be interpreted and applied. There are certain conventions and approaches that need to be taken into account when using the NCC. This includes interpreting specific language and terms. This is critical to understanding the intended technical and legal meaning of the NCC. This Part also explains the difference between the mandatory Parts of the NCC and the Parts that are only explanatory or guidance in nature.
Scope of NCC Volume One
New for 2022
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.
Scope of NCC Volume Two
New for 2022
NCC 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.
Scope of NCC Volume Three
New for 2022
- Content identified as “explanatory information”.
- The “Introduction” information, located at the beginning of each Volume, Section or Part.
- definitions provided in Schedule 1, unless the contrary intention appears; and
- additional definitions in State or Territory appendices, as appropriate.
- A reference to a building is a reference to an entire building or part of a building (as the case requires).
- A reference to plumbing or drainage solution, or product in Volume Three is a reference to an entire installation, system or product, or part of an installation, system or product (as the case requires).
- A reference in a Performance Requirement to “the degree necessary” means─
- that consideration of all the criteria referred to in the Performance Requirement will determine the outcome appropriate to the circumstances; and
- that in certain cases it may not be necessary to incorporate any specific measures to meet the relevant Performance Requirement.
- An “Application” statement is mandatory and is provided to specify where and when a requirement or provision applies.
- A “Limitation” statement is mandatory and is provided to specify where and when the application of a requirement or provision is limited to a certain circumstance.
- An “Exemption” statement is mandatory and is provided to specify where or when a requirement or provision does not need to be complied with.
- A “Note” is part of a provision or requirement and provides additional mandatory instructions.
- Figures in the NCC─
- are used to illustrate specific issues referenced in the associated text; and
- are not to be construed as containing all design information that is required for that particular building element or situation.
- The definitions, symbols and abbreviations listed in Schedule 1.
- Classes 1a and 1b are sub-classifications of Class 1.
- Classes 7a and 7b are sub-classifications of Class 7.
- Classes 9a, 9b and 9c are sub-classifications of Class 9.
- Classes 10a, 10b and 10c are sub-classifications of Class 10.
TAS A1G4 Interpretation2019: A1.0
For Volume Three, if a word is not defined in Schedule 1, the meaning (if any) attributed to it under AS/NZS 3500.0 should be used unless the contrary intention appears.
Explanatory information and Introduction information contained in the NCC is non-mandatory and is provided for guidance purposes only. This informative material should be read in conjunction with the technical provisions of the NCC. Any statements made in the informative and guidance components of the NCC should not be taken to override the NCC. Unlike the NCC, which is adopted by legislation, the informative and guidance components are not called up into legislation and they do not cover State and Territory variations and additions. Because informative and guidance components of the NCC do not have regulatory force, the ABCB accepts no responsibility for its contents when applied to specific buildings or any liability which may result from its use.
Defined words provide the precise meaning and expressions of key words used for understanding and complying with the NCC. Where a word is not defined in the NCC, the relevant common meaning of the word should be used.
Generally, a reference to a building is a reference to the whole building, regardless of classification. However, when a provision is applicable to a specific class or classes of building, that reference to a building may be a reference to the whole building or part of the building depending on how the building is classified.
Classes 1a and 1b, 7a and 7b, 9a, 9b and 9c, and 10a, 10b and 10c are separate classifications. In the NCC, when the designation 'a', 'b' or 'c' is not applied, the reference is to all buildings of the general class. For example, 'Class 9b' refers only to Class 9b buildings, but 'Class 9' refers to Classes 9a, 9b and 9c.
Whether a provision applies or not depends on the circumstances of the case and the circumstances in which the reference is made. For example, where a building has a single classification, a reference to a building in the NCC is understandably a reference to a whole building. However, where a building has parts of different classification, unless the contrary intention appears (i.e. there is a specific reference to the whole building), a reference to a building in the NCC is a reference to the relevant part of the building. This means that each part of the building must comply with the relevant provisions for its classification.
A number of the Performance Requirements of the NCC use the expression “to the degree necessary” or “appropriate to”. These expressions provide flexibility by allowing appropriate authorities to determine the degree of compliance necessary in a particular case. Therefore, any part of the NCC that uses these expressions should be referenced against the requirements of the appropriate authority. For example, an appropriate authority might judge that an item need not be installed, or a particular level of performance be achieved.
Application, Limitation, and Exemption statements are used to identify provisions that may or may not apply in certain situations, to varying degrees.
Figures are used to explain the requirements of a particular clause. To ensure the context of the requirement is clearly understood, adjacent construction elements of the building that would normally be required in that particular situation are not always shown. Accordingly, aspects of figures that are not shown should not be interpreted as meaning these construction details are not required. Therefore a figure must not be used as an indication of the full construction requirements in a given situation, as the only available option, or a substitute for referencing appropriate construction requirements (in other sources) for a given clause.