Building Code of Australia 2022 Changes
by: Joyce Van and Joanna Jin
The upcoming National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 will impose significant changes to the current Building Code of Australia (BCA) 2019 Amendment 1. Currently, the Public Comment Draft of the NCC 2022 is available for viewing and consultation on the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) website until 11 July 2021. The new updates to the NCC 2022 are expected to be adopted by 1 September 2022.
One of the major changes to NCC 2022 moving forward will be its structure and format - this is intended to improve useability for a more modern approach by digitising the code. The changes will be based on three broad categories:
- Section, Part, Type, Clause (SPTC) referencing system,
- Consistent volume structure, and
- Web content accessibility.
The most significant change for experienced industry users of the NCC would be the new referencing system. This is briefly expanded upon in the table below:
||Section lettering will for the most part stay as is, e.g. Section D
||Parts will remain as numbers, e.g. Part D2
||Type refers to the type of clause
O - Objective (DO1 in NCC 2019)
F - Functional Statement (DF1 and DF2 in NCC 2019)
P - Performance Requirement (DP1 to DP9 in NCC 2019)
V - Verification Method (DV1 to DV4 in NCC 2019)
D - Deemed-to-Satisfy (D1.0 to D1.18 in NCC 2019)
G - Governing Requirements (only applicable to Section A in NCC)
||Clause refers to the number within the Type group.
||This clause was formerly D1.4 and details the maximum travel distance to an exit for buildings.
For more information of the new format, the ABCB has uploaded a video of the webinar on the new look for NCC 2022 on their YouTube Channel.
The performance-based NCC allows for the adoption of any particular material, component, design factor or construction method as a pathway to compliance. However, the level of performance required through the Performance Requirements has been difficult to establish. Thus, as part of NCC 2022, the ABCB has introduced quantification to provide a consistent level of performance across Performance Solutions, reducing uncertainty.
The quantification changes are only in relation to Performance Requirements and will not impact DtS Solutions or solutions using existing Verification Methods. While many Performance Requirements have already been quantified, ABCB aims to expand the quantified metrics to all Performance Requirements in the future.
Regarding changes for Performance and Prescriptive-Based Fire Engineering, the NCC 2022 introduces Part A8 - Quantification of the Fire Safety Performance Requirements. It includes metrics for risk and probability of exposure to untenable conditions, providing a consistent and holistic method of measuring fire safety performance of buildings.
The new Governing Requirements A8G2 - Fire Safety sets out the allowable risk of exposure to untenable conditions for individuals and society. These risks are set so that individual risk to life is less than 1% of the background risk level, and societal risks are in accordance with the tolerance limits used by the government.
The new Governing Requirements A8G3 - Spread of Fire provides maximum probabilities for scenarios that are considered a failure to prevent fire spread. These are based on the proportion of fires with flashover potential and on effectiveness levels typical of fire suppression systems.
The quantification of the fire safety Performance Requirements applies to the following sections:
- Section C - Fire Resistance.
- Section D - Egress.
- Section E - Services and Equipment.
- Section G - Construction in Alpine Areas.
Other notable changes made to NCC 2022 include:
- The addition of Clause C2D15 - Fixing of Bonded Laminated Cladding Panels which require cladding panels to be mechanical fixed,
- Clause D2D3, previously D1.2 in NCC 2019 Amendment 1 - Requires not less than 2 exits in addition to any horizontal exit,
- Various changes to include provisions for Early Childhood Centres (ECCs) to mitigate against the current limitations of ECCs in multi-storeyed mixed-use buildings, and
- Class 1a and Class 2 sole-occupancy units to be designed for the possible inclusion of minimum accessibility requirements.
To read further on the key changes and learn more, see the following links: