Building Standards Upgraded for Accessibility, Energy Efficiency

The Malinauskas Labor Government has agreed to an implementation date to meet its obligations under the National Construction Code which, for the first time, will see all new builds across the state reach a seven-star energy efficiency rating and ensure new liveability and accessibility standards.

From 1 October 2024, all newly constructed homes in the State will be required to meet higher minimum requirements for energy efficiency, an increase from the current six-star standard.

Meanwhile greater consideration will need to be given to accessible design allowing for South Australians with mobility limitations to transition through life stages in their own homes.

The changes to the National Construction Code seek to deliver better living standards to South Australians with the Government acknowledging the need for greener homes in the backdrop of a changing climate.

The shift will also help afford people with disability the dignity to be able to reside in their own home and follows the National Consensus that was agreed to at the 26 August 2022 Building Ministers’ Meeting.

The announcement of the 1 October 2024 commencement date will ensure that new residential constructions from this date increase the standards of our State’s housing stock.

The new seven-star energy efficiency provisions seek to lower greenhouse gas emissions, provide year-round comfort in the home, while also reducing the cost-of-living pressures through energy efficiency – which is predicted to offset initial construction costs.

New accessibility standards will make it easier for South Australians living with a disability and older South Australians to find suitable housing, with new homes to include improved entry and spaces inside homes – such as wider doors and corridors, and step-free access.

The installation of these standards at the outset is anticipated to reduce the cost of future mobility-related home modifications, which are up to 22-times more expensive to fit retrospectively.

The State Government’s housing agencies – Renewal SA and the South Australian Housing Authority – are already meeting the National Construction Code requirements in their new builds.

The decision to implement the National Construction Code’s new provisions has been formed in conjunction with housing industry, climate, disability, and ageing sector stakeholders and follows a period of considerable consultation and productive discussions as a pathway was mapped out to enable South Australia to meet the national consensus.

The commencement date for South Australia acknowledges the current environment in which the building and construction industry finds itself, as it faces challenges of market capacity, supply chain disruption, workforce uncertainty along with the additional pressures the rebuilding effort in the River Murray floods will place upon the sector.

The unique circumstances facing South Australia required the National Construction Code provisions to be tailored to our State by introducing a two-year transitional period and will include a range of exemptions.

The Malinauskas Labor Government and the Australian Building Codes Board – the drafters of the new energy efficiency and Livable Housing Designs provisions for the Building Ministers’ Meeting – will work with relevant departments, stakeholders and the building and construction industry to provide the necessary support to enable a seamless implementation of the new provisions.


Attributable to Nick Champion

The new National Construction Code provisions will increase our state’s housing stock resulting in greener, more accessible homes for future generations.

These new standards will benefit all South Australians – leading to cheaper energy bills and cost of living relief.

Credit must be given to the building and construction for the productive way they participated in the discussions and plotting the road map to implementation in the wake of last year’s Building Ministers’ Meeting.

We need to give industry time to adapt to the changes, which is why we are providing a transition period to get the balance right and will be working with the industry on a range of exemptions.

Attributable to Housing Industry Association (SA) Executive Director Stephen Knight

The decision made by the Malinauskas Government to give the industry an appropriate lead-in time for adoption of NCC 2022 is a pragmatic and measured approach to implementation of the most significant amendment to the building code since its implementation.

This transition time will now give house builders, designers and manufacturers and suppliers a clear timeline in preparing for and adapting their businesses to these major reforms.

HIA will continue to work with Minister Champion to establish a clear implementation framework for the application of the requirements tailored to the South Australian residential building industry which also note that the most cost effective and practical measures need to be considered.

Attributable to Master Builders Association of South Australia CEO Will Frogley

Today’s announcement of the National Construction Code implementation in October 2024 provides builders with certainty and a date to work towards.

Our industry faces well-documented skills and materials shortages, so delaying the implementation until October 2024 is a sensible decision that alleviates pressure.

Master Builders SA will continue working with the State Government to ensure these changes are introduced as smoothly and effectively as possible.

It is essential housing is affordable and all South Australians have an opportunity to own a home.

Attributable to Australian Building Codes Board CEO Gary Rake

Helping industry understand the new provisions is an essential part of our role and we are keen to help.

We will prepare guidance material and handbooks for practitioners and run information sessions specifically for South Australian businesses.

The ABCB will also share this information, free of charge, with industry organisations to help them and their members bring these improvements to new homes in South Australia.

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