- The new Modern Homes accessibility standards will be phased in from 1 October 2023
- The new Modern Homes energy efficiency standards will commence on 1 May 2024.
The delay of the NCC’s Modern Homes energy efficiency standards recognises that not all commonly used compliance tools have been released and allows industry further time to prepare for the energy efficiency changes.
These mandatory standards will mean new houses and units are designed to be more accessible for everyone and energy efficient.
From 1 October 2023, new homes will need to include design features, such as a step-free entry and wider doors and hallways to make sure homes are safer and better for long-term use.
From 1 May 2024, energy efficient features, such as ceiling fans or energy efficient hot water systems, will also need to be included to achieve the energy efficiency standards. These features will provide savings for new householders on their energy bills.
Software accredited under NatHERS is the most common method used to comply with the energy efficiency standards. Software offers flexible design options compared to the more prescriptive deemed-to-satisfy method under NCC Volume Two. Builders may wish to consider the most cost-effective and efficient way to assess their house plans for compliance with the new NCC 2022 energy efficiency standards.
The Department of Energy and Public Works is supporting industry to apply the Modern Homes standards through changes including:
- an 18-month exemption period for narrow lots (frontage of 12.5 metres or less) and existing pre-built class 1 dwellings (55 metres squared2 or less in size)
- ongoing exemptions where it is not practical or reasonable to apply the new standards to toilet and bathroom renovations, and also to any general repairs and maintenance
- greater flexibility for step-down showers and grading to floor wastes.
Step-free access will also not be required for houses on small lots, steep lots and generally for the iconic Queenslander-style home.
This will allow designers and builders to choose a cost-effective option while ensuring homeowners are protected from having to undertake expensive retrofitting in the future.
Other NCC 2022 changes are not impacted by the phased approach to Modern Homes. For example, provisions relating to condensation management and facilitating the future installation of on-site renewable energy generation and storage and electric vehicle charging equipment will commence on 1 October 2023.
For more information about the new building standards, including guidance material, visit the Department of Energy and Public Works website at qld.gov.au/modernhomes.
For more information about the NCC 2022, visit the Australian Building Code Boards’ website at www.abcb.gov.au.