How to plan for the 2022 National Construction Code amendments

Affinity R&D Team

What are the NCC amendments?

The National Construction Code (NCC) governs how we build houses in Australia. It sets the minimum levels of safety, health, amenity, accessibility, and sustainability that a new building must achieve.

Updated on a three-year cycle, its new update is effective from May 2022.

So, what’s changing?

Among other amendments, one key difference that new home builders need to be aware of is the requirement for all new houses to achieve the equivalent to a 7-star thermal rating under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme, commonly known as NatHERS.

A whole-home thermal rating system, NatHERS covers many different elements of home design that all contribute to a building’s thermal properties.

It includes the orientation, slab type, and floor coverings. Ceilings, insulation, and both external and internal doors are taken into account. It includes the heating and cooling systems within a home—it even considers the local climate in which a house is built.

How does this impact me?

The good news is that for existing builds, and any new building that has been approved prior to the amendments coming into effect, there’s no difference to your home. The amendments aren’t back-dated, so there’s nothing you need to do.

However, anyone seeking approval for a new building now that the NCC has been amended must ensure that their new building achieves the 7-star NatHERS rating.

On the whole, this increase in rating will help ensure your new home is better at thermal regulation. It’s designed to ensure newer homes are built in a comfortable, more sustainable way.

This means that when building a new home, builders and suppliers must ensure their design and materials all work towards meeting this rating.

But this also means that in certain climate zones you may see an increase in the cost of your build. While this isn’t such an issue in the Perth metropolitan area, with our more Mediterranean climate, in more southern areas that experience greater differences in temperature, this may be more costly to accommodate.

The Julimar Retreat, Bullsbrook (Rural Building)

How can customers plan for these amendments?

To help uphold the new NCC amendments, builders and consumers are looking for whole-home solutions. And they don’t have to be onerous.

One big way to manage the heating and cooling in your home is through your windows. With a few changes across the board to the design of your house, you can ensure your new build achieves a 7-star NatHERS rating, and you get a more comfortable home.

Optimise your home orientation

The orientation on which your home is placed can have a big impact on your heating and cooling. A house oriented on a north-south axis, with windows positioned facing north, allow you to receive warming sun throughout the day, without getting its direct glare. This allows you to warm your home naturally in winter, and keeping out the harshest of direct sun in the summertime.

Plan your shading

Eaves on your home are designed to keep out the sun’s rays. So for more temperate climates, it’s best to keep eaves to a depth of 600mm. Any deeper and they block out more warmth and light. In cooler climates, consider shortening them, so your home gets more sun throughout the day.

Install the correct glass in your windows

When thinking about your new home, opt for a low e-glass such as single-glazed E-Tech Lite , double glazing in cooler areas to keep in more warmth, or choose low U-value glass.

U-value is a measure of the insulation capacity: the lower the U-value, the less heat will pass out through the glass. This means your home can keep out the summer sun’s strongest rays, while still retaining enough heat to keep you comfortable.

However, be sure to factor this glass into your budget.

Double glazed glass

Consider your colours

We’re not talking about the colour of your glass—look into the colours of your window and door frames.

Lighter frames tend to reflect heat more, meaning your home absorbs less. This is ideal in our hot Perth summers. Conversely, if you’re somewhere like Albany, consider choosing darker colours for your window and door frames.

While it may not seem like a big heating and cooling difference, every little bit helps.

The Grand Bianca, Bennett Springs (Smart Homes)

Affinity remains ahead of the NCC curve

Affinity Windows has been preparing as best we can, by providing glass and window solutions that help maximise the amount of light and warmth your home receives, without sacrificing comfort.

And we continue to look ahead, as further NCC changes will be unveiled in 2025. While we don’t know what these amendments will bring, we can still be prepared. So we’ll continue designing new products and find different types of glass that help improve your home’s thermal rating.

While we don’t know the exact changes in the next NCC amendments, our goal is to future-proof our technology so you can continue to build the home of your dreams.

If you would like further help in choosing window styles for your home, don’t hesitate to speak with our friendly sales team at Affinity Windows, Perth window experts.

Contact Affinity Windows today on 9334 4600

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