What's new from 1 October 2023 | NCC 2022 | Queensland Building and Construction Commission
contractors discussing construction of an internal door frame

From 1 October 2023, phase 1 of the Modern Homes accessibility standards commences. 

National Construction Code 2022 (NCC) provisions – Livable Housing Design Standard provides for: 

  • a step-free path to the entrance
  • at least one step-free entry into the home
  • slightly wider internal doorways and corridors
  • an accessible toilet
  • a step-free (hobless) shower
  • provision for future inclusion of grabrails in an accessible bathroom and toilet.

The Queensland Government has released the Queensland Development Code – Mandatory Part 4.5 – Livable dwellings and grading to floor wastes (QDC MP4.5) for application to class 1 buildings and sole-occupancy units in class 2 buildings. The QDC MP4.5 facilitates the adoption of the livable housing design and grading to floor waste provision in the NCC by providing additional acceptable solutions and appropriate transitional arrangements.

QDC MP4.5 new accessibility variations provide for: 

  • Time limited exemption of 18 months to 31 March 2025 from the accessibility standards for: 
    • New houses on narrow lots with a frontage of 12.5metres wide or less, created prior to 1 October 2023 or created after that date and on or before 31 March 2023 in limited circumstances.
    • Small pre-built houses 55 m2 or less in floor area wholly or predominately manufactured off-site completed prior to 1 October 2023 and constructed on or prior to 31 March 2025.
    • Exemptions form the accessibility standards for a compliant toilet on the ground or entry level of a house in limited circumstances and for repairs and maintenance generally.
  • Exemptions for renovations of toilets and bathrooms in existing homes including from the requirements to provide: 
    • wider doorways unless the renovation involves demolition of the existing doorway
    • a larger toilet area unless the renovation increases the size of the toilet area
    • reinforcement for grabrails unless the wall framing is exposed.
  • Additional solutions that do not require the grading of a floor where a floor waste is voluntarily included in a bathroom, and for showers and sanitary compartments (if there is no habitable room on the ground or entry level) to achieve compliance with the accessibility standards. 

Transitional arrangements and new building guideline

Section 37 of the Building Act 1975 provides transitional arrangements when building assessment provisions change, such as the introduction of the Modern Homes standards.

Section 37 allows a development approval to be given under the provisions that were in place prior to the new building assessment provision applying when:

  • the approved building work starts before the commencement date of the new building assessment provision
  • the building development approval was given before the commencement date of the new building assessment provision, but the building work has not yet started
  • a building development application is made before the commencement date of the new building assessment provision, but the application has not yet been decided
  • planning for carrying out the building work started before the commencement date of the new building assessment provision and the building certifier can certify the following in writing:
    • that substantial progress was made on the design of the building, or the design was completed before the commencement date e.g. this might be evidenced by a signed building contract referring to the design or plans
    • the design would need to be changed to comply with the amended provision
    • the changes needed are not minor changes. 

Additional information for building certifiers 

The Department of Energy & Public Works (the Department) has prepared a guideline to assist building certifiers to apply transitional provisions – Guideline for applying transitional arrangements when building requirements change (epw.qld.gov.au) (August 2023).

The Department have developed a non-mandatory Form 77 Variation to building assessment provisions to assist building certifiers document decisions about the transitional provisions.  

Last reviewed: 29 Sep 2023 Last published: 29 Sep 2023
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