Federal, state and territory building ministers have agreed on a series of sweeping national reforms that will ensure that new homes in Australia will be more comfortable, liveable, accessible and energy efficient.
Industry Minister Ed Husic chaired his first Building Ministers’ Meeting on Friday afternoon, where ministers agreed to changes to the National Construction Code to include liveable housing provisions, new residential efficiency standards and condensation mitigation measures.
Minister Husic said the changes will improve the lives of people who move into new homes and will particularly help make new homes more accessible for people with disabilities and for older Australians.
“The update of the National Construction Code is delivering on a new modern homes agenda,” Minister Husic said.
“These are historic reforms to improve the efficiency of homes and accessibility for older Australians and those living with disabilities.
“We are helping Australians live in new homes that are more comfortable, more sustainable and more supportive for people with mobility constraints.
“The Livable Housing provisions will see at least one point of step-free access to the home, slightly wider doorways and better access to facilities inside the house.”
Minister Husic said ministers also agreed to new national minimum residential energy-efficiency standards, meaning new houses and apartments will need to meet a seven-star rating, up from the previous six stars.
“The agreement to make new homes more energy efficient will mean Australians have lower energy bills and be more comfortable year-round,” Minister Husic said.
“This improvement will also help Australia with the transition to net-zero emissions by 2050 by reducing energy use in our new homes.
The Building Ministers noted that the NCC 2022 energy-efficiency provisions will make it easier for people living in apartments to switch to an electric vehicle. This is due to the provision of base infrastructure for future cabling and control-point installation at the time of construction.
The ministers also agreed to start work on how building standards can further facilitate the transition to EVs in new buildings.
Minister Husic acknowledged the work of states and territories on electric vehicles (EVs).
“National leadership on this issue has been sorely lacking. I’m determined to reverse that situation,” Minister Husic said.
Ministers asked the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) to take this work further by working with relevant agencies to ensure all of our future buildings are ready to support the energy transition by making EV charging easy and safe.
NCC 2022 will be available for voluntary use from 1 October 2022 and commence on 1 May 2023. The new modern housing provisions for energy efficiency, condensation and livable (accessable) housing will become mandatory on 1 October 2023.
Minister Husic said Building Ministers also endorsed the ABCB draft business plan for 2022-23 and agreed to extend the appointments of the Board Chair Ms Glenys Beauchamp PSM and industry representative Ms Kristin Brookfield.
More information about the new the minimum energy efficiency standards can be found at https://www.abcb.gov.au/.
The Building Ministers’ Meeting Communique is available on the Department of Industry, Science and Resources website.