The Australian Institute of Architects welcomes the South Australian government’s commitment to support for the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 amendments. NCC 2022 recommends:
- increasing the minimum energy efficiency standard from 6 to 7 stars and the incorporation of an energy budget
- implementation of the Livable Housing Design Standard (LHDS), which will improve the accessibility of housing for people with reduced mobility.
Both amendments will better equip South Australian homes to meet the challenges presented by climate change and our aging population into the future.
However, the decision to delay adoption and implementation is disappointing, particularly as the construction sector has been aware of the NCC 2022 recommendations for at least 18 months. The Institute questions why the housing sector in South Australia is not better prepared for the new standards, with some states already using the seven-star energy efficiency standard and most states agreeing to implement NCC 2022 by 1 October 2023.
Every month another 800 homes are built in South Australia, according to the ABS. The costs incurred over the 60 to 80-year life for those homes that do not meet the new standards will far exceed any increase in initial construction cost, with future upgrades to address aging in place, accessibility and ongoing climate impacts being significantly more that constructing to a higher standard in the first place.
While we respect the Government’s concern that the changes may impact housing at a time where housing affordability and supply are clearly an issue, studies show that the recent record levels of activity in the housing sector have resulted in a decrease in the amount of affordable and social housing in South Australia. This indicates that those most in need will not be assisted by delaying implementation and that housing affordability and supply need to be addressed through other mechanisms.
The Institute calls on the Government to prioritise initiatives including practice guidance and industry training to assist in achieving a smooth transition with minimal delay. States where the 7- star standard is already operating can provide a road map for implementation.
In addition, South Australia has the capacity to support industry training costs through the Construction Industry Training Board, which has been operating now for many years specifically to support ongoing skills development in the construction sector.
Australia is long overdue for better building standards. It’s over a decade since the current 6-star minimum NatHERS rating was introduced and since then, Australia’s performance continues to fall behind comparable countries. It is alarming that the energy efficiency of new buildings in comparable countries is typically up to 40% better than in Australia.
The NCC 2022 amendments will support Australia’s efforts to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and to deal with increasing health risks from a warming climate. They will also support those in our community with disabilities or age-related mobility issues to live independently and with dignity. This is worth working to support the construction sector in South Australia to embrace the proposed changes and work proactively to address any concerns they may have.
For media enquiries contact:
Nicolette Di Lernia
Australian Institute of Architects – SA Chapter
P. + 61 (8) 8402 5911 | M. +61 (0) 438 805 701 | E. firstname.lastname@example.org
- ACT welcomes outcomes of Building Ministers Meeting | ACT Government
- New policy to drive down energy costs and build better homes | NSW Government
- New homes to be fit for all | Queensland Government
- Building Ministers’ Meeting – Elise Archer | Tasmanian Liberals
- Setting The Seven-Star Standard For New Homes | Victorian Government