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What is the National Construction Code used for?

An Overview on the National Construction Code

The National Construction Code (NCC) is Australia’s uniform national building code that sets out the minimum necessary technical requirements and standards for the design and construction of buildings, other structures, plumbing and drainage systems. While the national code is not legally binding, by agreement and through the enactment of various building legislations across each state and territory, the National Construction Code was adopted as Australia’s building regulatory system.

In Victoria, the building statute and regulation, Building Act 1993 (Vic) and Building Regulations 2018 (Vic), adopts the National Construction Code. In summary, the objective of the National Construction Code is to provide minimum technical standards for the design and construction of buildings.

In this article, we address the frequently asked questions:

What is the National Construction Code?

The National Construction Code (NCC) is a performance-based building code, and is split into three volumes: Volume One, Volume Two and Volume Three.

VolumeSummary
Volume OneVolume One addresses the technical requirements for: all Class 2 to 9 buildings, access requirements for people with disability in Class 1b and 10a building, and certain Class 10b structures including access requirements for people with disability in Class 10b swimming pool.
Volume TwoVolume Two addresses the technical requirements for: buildings in Class 1 and 10a building (other than access requirements for Class 1b and 10a buildings), certain Class 10b structures (other than access requirements for people with a disability in Class 10b swimming pools), and Class 10c private bushfire shelters).
Volume ThreeVolume Three contains the technical requirements for the design, construction, installation, replacement, repair, alteration and maintenance for plumbing and drainage systems in new and existing buildings.

For further information on the National Construction Code, our topics include

What is the format of Volume One in the National Construction Code?

Generally, Volume One is split into nine sections, with the first section containing administrative provisions, and the remainder containing technical provisions. Volume One of the National Construction Code is structured so that each technical section (i.e sections A to J) contains the following outlines:

OutlineSummary
What are the Objectives?Each section will contain an outline of the Objectives and general expectations that the building controls should meet.
What are the Functional Statements?Each section will contain Functional Statements that describe how the building is expected to achieve and meet the Objectives.
What are the Performance Requirements?Each section will describe the Performance Requirements that is required to be met. The Performance Requirements may be complied by Deemed-To-Satisfy Provisions, or Alternative Solutions, or a combination of both.

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The sections contained in Volume One of the National Construction Code are examined:

What is Section A (Governing Requirements)?

Section A of Volume One sets out the Governing Requirements. This section is intended to explain how the National Construction Code should be interpreted.

What is Section B (Structure)?

Section B of Volume One sets out the safeguarding requirements for the structural stability of a relevant building, including the components regarding structural behaviour. Structural stability requirements may include performance requirements relating to structural reliability, structural resistance, and structural robustness.

What is Section C (Fire Resistance)?

Section C of Volume One sets out the fire resistance requirements of a relevant building.  Fire resistance requirements may include performance requirements relating to fire resistance and stability, compartmentation and separation, and protection of openings.

What is Section D (Access and Egress)?

Section D of Volume One sets out the access and egress requirements of a relevant building. Access and egress requirements may include performance requirements relating to the number and location of exits, access and egress, access for people with disability, and construction of exits.

What is Section E (Services and Equipment)?

Section E of Volume One sets out the fire safety requirements of a relevant building (including installation requirements). The fire safety requirements may include performance requirement relating to smoke hazard management, fire fighting equipment, lift installations, visibility in an emergency, exit signs and warning systems.

What is Section F (Health and Amenity)?

Section F of Volume One sets out the requirements for health and amenity of a relevant building. The health and amenity requirements may include performance requirements relating to surface water management, rising damp and external waterproofing, wet areas and overflow protection, sanitation and other facilities, room heights, light, ventilation, sound transmission, insulation, and condensation management.

What is Section G (Ancillary Provisions)?

Section G of Volume One sets out the requirements for structures that are ancillary to a building’s main use, requirements for buildings situated in alpine and construction areas, and liveable housing designs. The ancillary requirements may include performance requirements relating to minor structures and components, boilers, pressure vessels, heating appliances, fireplaces, chimneys, flues, atrium construction, construction in alpine areas, construction in bushfire prone areas, occupiable outdoor areas, and liveable housing design that are intended to meet the needs of a community.

What is Section I (Special Use Building)?

Section I of Volume One sets out the requirements for certain types of Class 9b buildings, public transport buildings, farm buildings and farm sheds.

What is Section J (Energy Efficiency)?

Section J of Volume One sets out the energy efficiency requirements for relevant buildings and structure. The energy efficiency requirements may include performance requirements relating to energy efficiency, elemental provisions for sole occupancy of a Class 2 building or Class 4 part of a building, building fabric, building sealing, air-conditioning, ventilation, artificial lighting and power, heated water supply, swimming pool, spa pool plant, energy monitoring and on-site distributed energy resources.

What is the format of Volume Two in the National Construction Code?

Generally, Volume Two is split into two sections, with the first section containing administrative provisions, and the remainder containing technical provisions. Volume One of the National Construction Code is structured with two sections, section A and Section H.

The sections contained in Volume Three of the National Construction Code are briefly summarised.

What is Section A (Governing Requirements)?

Section A of Volume Two sets out the governing requirements. This section is intended to explain how the National Construction Code should be interpreted.

What is Section H (Class 1 building and Class 10 buildings)?

Section H of Volume Two sets out the requirements for Class 1 and 10 buildings. The requirements for Class 1 and 10 buildings may include performance requirements relating to structure, damp and weather proofing, fire safety, health and amenity, safe movement and access, energy efficiency, ancillary provisions and additional construction requirements, and liveable housing design.

What is the format of Volume Three in the National Construction Code?

Generally, Volume Three is split into five sections, with the first section containing the administrative provisions, and the remainder containing technical provisions. Volume Three of the National Construction Code is structured with five sections, sections A to E, and is outlined as follows:

What is Section A (Governing Requirements)?

Section A of Volume Three describes the governing requirements, and how the National Construction Code should be interpreted and applied broadly.

What is Section B (Water Services)?

Section B of Volume Three sets out the requirements for water services and storage. The kind of water services and storage that have performance requirements may include cold water services, heated water services, non-drinking water services, fire-fighting water services, cross-connection control, rainwater services, and rainwater storage.

What is Section C (Sanitary plumbing and drainage systems)?

Section C of Volume Three sets out the requirements for sanitary plumbing and systems, which may include sanitary plumbing systems, sanitary drainage systems, on-site wastewater management.

What is Section D (Excessive noise)?

Section D of Volume Three sets out the requirements for excessive noise generated from a plumbing or drainage system. Section D may describe requirements to safeguard plumbing and drainage systems from or operates in a way that avoids the likelihood of undue noise and excessive noise and ensures sound insulation for certain classes of buildings.

What is Section E (Facilities and ancillary additions)?

Section E of Volume Three sets out the requirements to allow people with disability to use facilities provided by a plumbing and drainage system.

National Construction Code (NCC): Overview | Building Code of Australia (BCA) | Performance Requirements | Building Classes

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Do you need legal advice? Let’s start a conversation to address your queries. Call us on (03) 5331 1244 to get in touch and arrange an appointment with one of our lawyers.

You can also connect with us by filling out your details and telling us about your information for legal advice below:

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Authored by:
Ben Franklin, Managing Partner (LIV Accredited Specialist – Property Law), &
Matthew Tran, Lawyer.

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