Energy Efficiency Changes To Create Ripples Across Australia: What It Means for Builders

There has been an ongoing debate on the proposed changes to the National Construction Code. According to the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), the changes can threaten the Australian property sector’s international reputation. In Canberra, some of the biggest names in the industry have joined hands to fight the federal government’s plans.

In a nutshell, the changes to the building energy regulations will try to cut off red tape and offer additional options for new developments to achieve building energy performance. However, major building players are concerned that the proposed changes may only usher in unintended consequences, like making way too much worse-performing buildings as opposed to the existing six star standards under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme.

The GBCA also submitted another appeal to the Australian Building Codes Board regarding the improvement of building stock across the board including protection of the sector’s international reputation.

Jorge Chapa from GBCA (via the Fifth Estate) said: “In reality the NCC has additional functions that aren’t just [about] legislated minimums. It also demonstrates Australia’s capacity to model complex buildings and energy solutions, and to model the relationship between energy and carbon emissions.”

He also added: ““The NCC is an essential part of how we coordinate communications around greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions [from the built environment].”

“If energy efficiency is communicated similarly [to fire provisions], it will lead to better outcomes.”

Major key builders are concerned if the government can ensure consistency with the new rating system. Nonetheless, there is also the NCC which is an initiative under the Council of Australian Governments seeking to compile all on-site construction requirements into one code. This should provide the basic guidelines needed for health, safely, amenity, and sustainability affecting design and construction. However, experts did warn that the building industry has always been cost-conscious. If one builder went on board and became de-rated, then this will become widespread almost instantly.

Builders will have to watch out which codes and initiatives will push through. Stay tuned to Tradebusters, as we bring to you the latest on builder and tradie news.

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