There are various laws and regulations that specifically apply to the construction industry in Australia. The National Construction Code (NCC) is Australia’s primary set of design and construction provisions for buildings throughout Australia. The NCC is a code issued and maintained by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) detailing the minimum requirements for safety, health, amenity, accessibility and sustainability of new buildings in Australia.
The NCC comprises three volumes:
- Volumes One and Two contain the Building Code of Australia (BCA).
- Volume Three contains the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA).
Volume One and Two: The Building Code of Australia
The BCA is a set of requirements for the design and construction of buildings in Australia, applying to both new building and new building work on existing buildings.
Volume One of the BCA contains the requirements for Class 2 to 9 Buildings which are multi-residential, commercial, industrial and public buildings and structures.
Volume Two of the BCA contains the requirements for Class 1 and 10 Buildings which are residential and non-habitable buildings and structures.
Volume Three: The Plumbing Code of Australia
The PCA addresses issues concerning plumbing and drainage associated with all classes of buildings. It contains the technical provisions for the design, construction, installation, replacement, repair, alteration and maintenance of water services, sanitary plumbing, drainage systems and stormwater drainage systems, for example.
Do I have to comply with the National Construction Code?
The NCC is given legal effect by relevant legislation in each state and territory. For example in NSW, Volume One and Two of the NCC is given effect through the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and Volume Three is given effect through the Plumbing and Drainage Act 2011.
The NCC contains Performance Requirements which are the level of performance a building must satisfy. These requirements are mandatory. These can be found within the current edition of the Code which is the NCC 2019.
How do I comply with the National Construction Code?
The NCC is a performance-based code. Compliance with the NCC is achieved by meeting the relevant Performance Requirements.
The Performance Requirements can be met by:
- Using a Deemed-to-Satisfy Solution.
- Using a Performance Solution.
- Using a combination of both solutions.
Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) provisions are prescribed requirements in the NCC. If a construction follows the DTS provisions, it will automatically comply with the Performance Requirements. It is not mandatory to comply with a DTS provision if the builder develops another option to achieve a Performance Requirement, known as a Performance Solution.
A Performance Solution (also known as an alternative solution) is a solution developed by a builder that demonstrates that the Performance Requirement can be met through other means than a DTS provision. They aim to provide flexibility when planning and constructing a building.
Combination of Solutions
A combination of both DTS provisions and Performance Solutions can be used. For example, in a school building a combination of Performance Solutions for issues concerning fire safety with DTS provisions for sanitary facilities may be used.
The NCC is the primary set of design and construction provisions for buildings throughout Australia. It is issued and maintained by the ABCB and is given legal effect by relevant legislation in each state and territory. Understanding the structure and requirements of the NCC is essential when constructing a new building or completing new building work on existing buildings.
Should you require further legal advice please contact OpenLegal by filling in the form on this page or calling 1300 337 997.