Regulated separately, building and plumbing regulation have always been inherently linked, as both set the requirements for the on-site construction of buildings. However, historically building and plumbing have been regulated through separate legislative and administrative arrangements. Since 1994 building has been regulated through State and Territory governments with the BCA as the primary code referenced in all State and Territory building Acts and regulations; while plumbing regulators had not yet agreed (through an IGA) to the adoption of a national code.
In achieving national consistency, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) asked the Business Regulation and Competition Working Group (BRCWG) to investigate the merits of a national code and to report to COAG by July 2008. On 3 July 2008, COAG agreed to the development of an NCC to cover building, plumbing, electrical and telecommunications standards. The first stage was to consolidate the codes for building and plumbing. This was completed with the release of NCC 2011, which was adopted by States and Territories on 1 May 2011.
The Regulation Impact Statement on the proposal for the development of an NCC identified the following potential benefits:
- Improved consistency between building and plumbing regulations;
- Improved framework for regulation of plumbing on a national basis;
- Improved regulatory framework to respond to future policy challenges;
- Improved regulatory conditions for innovation at the national level; and
- Opportunity for administrative reform.