Legislation and Compliance

Week 10 Lecture 4/10/16 by Paul Osmond

Legislation and Compliance

Australian Building Codes Board and Building Code of Aust. (ABCBA). The Australian Building Codes Board addresses issues relating to safety, health, amenity and sustainability in the design and performance.

  • National Construction Code (NCC) comprises Building Code of Australia (BCA), Volume 1 and 2; and Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA), as Volume 3.
    • V1 pertains primarily to Class 2 to 9 buildings (non-residential);
    • V2 pertains primarily to Class 1 and 10 buildings (residential);
    • V3 pertains primarily to plumbing and drainage associated with all classes of buildings.


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The NCC is given legal effect by relevant legislation in each state and territory.

**In NSW, the online Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) system replaces the NCC energy efficiency requirements and adds other aspects of sustainable development.

Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS)

NatHERS provides homes with a star rating out of 10 based on an estimate of potential heating & cooling energy use. It is administered by the Federal Department of the Environment and Energy.

When calculating a star rating, NatHERS Accredited Software models expected indoor temperatures based on information on design and construction, climate and common patterns of household use.

The software tools do not take into account electrical appliances in the dwelling, apart from the air flow impacts from ceiling fans. Using the software user interface, a NatHERS Accredited Assessor enters data to develop a simulation model of the house or apartment, including:

  • size and function of rooms;
  • size and specification of openings;
  • building materials/windows/products;
  • type of construction;
  • dwelling orientation;
  • location (NatHERS divides Australia into 69 climate zones).

Building Sustainability Index

Introduced in 2004 by the NSW Government; now an integral part of the development application process in NSW.

  • BASIX certificate is required for obtaining development approval for a new home or for alts and adds ≥$50,000.
  • Based on design data, the BASIX tool assesses the anticipated water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and thermal comfort level of your proposed development.
  • BASIX sets sustainability targets for water and energy and minimum performance levels for thermal comfort:
    • up to 40% reduction in potable water consumption;
    • up to 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
  • Targets are calculated based on NSW average benchmarks.

National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGERS)

The National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 introduced a national framework for the reporting and dissemination of information about greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and energy production by corporations.

The objectives of the NGER Act are to:

  • Inform government policy and the Australian public
  • Help meet Australia’s international reporting obligations
  • Assist Commonwealth, state & territory government programs and activities
  • Avoid duplication of similar reporting requirements in the states & territories
  • Underpin the introduction of an emissions trading scheme (note that this aspect is now void with the repeal of the carbon price in July 2014)

Commercial Building Disclosure

Building owners need to obtain a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate (BEEC), which consists of:

  • A National Australian Building Environment Rating System (NABERS*) rating;
  • Information about the energy efficiency of the office lighting, contained in the Tenant Lighting Assessment (TLA); and
  • Generic guidance on how the energy efficiency of the office could be improved.

NSW Energy Savings Scheme

  • Established in 2009 under the Electricity Supply Act 1995, and legislated to continue until 2020
  • Primary objective is to create a financial incentive to reduce the consumption of electricity by encouraging energy saving activities
  • Obliges NSW energy retailers and large energy users to purchase energy savings in the form of certificates each year
  • Has supported projects which will deliver ~ 9000 gigawatt hours of electricity savings over their lifetimes, equivalent to ~ $1.4 billion in savings for NSW households and businesses over the next decade or more


  • When businesses invest in reducing their energy use, energy savings certificates are created by the voluntary scheme participants that have helped to implement those energy savings activities.
  • Electricity retailers (mandatory scheme participants) then buy the energy savings certificates to meet their own legislated targets, as required by law.
  • 2016 – scheme expanded to include gas

Further Resources:

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