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The online version of the 2019 edition of National Construction Code (NCC), which includes new heating and cooling load limits for residential buildings, will be available in early March.

To be adopted from May 1, 2019, the new code includes a range of changes including new condensation management provisions.

A key feature of NCC 2019 is a lot more performance based compliance options with the introduction of 20 new Verification Methods (Vms).

The commercial building energy efficiency requirements, known as Section J, have changed significantly with new VMs for NABERS and Green Star.

Energy efficiency requirements of Section J of the NCC have not been increased since 2010 even though energy prices have increased exponentially.

Due to the number of changes there will be a one year transition period from May 1, during which time, either the NCC 2016 or NCC 2019 requirements may be used.

It is estimated that there are around 360 million square metres of floor space of commercial buildings in Australia which consumes about 231 PJ of energy in 2016, accounting for three quarters of total energy consumption in the commercial industry or nearly 4 per cent of total net energy consumption in Australia.

Therefore, commercial buildings are an important part of the nation’s energy efficiency policy.

Other changes include new provisions for fire sprinkler systems for apartment buildings and other residential buildings (Class 2 and 3 buildings) as well as a new non-mandatory VM for fire safety.

Its adoption will be delayed until May 1, 2020 to allow time for training and support.

New and improved acceptable construction practices (ACPs) are included along with improved ACPs for roof and wall cladding.

Finally, there are also new requirements for heated water temperature control, cross-connection control and rainwater harvesting and use.

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