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Understanding NCC referenced documents

28/05/2019
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If you’re a regular user of the NCC then chances are you probably have to comply with NCC referenced documents.

But how do you ensure you are using the correct edition? Do you understand how to apply secondary references? There might be more to it than you think!

With over 100 referenced documents called up in the NCC, it’s likely you’ll need to comply with at least one referenced document in some part of your work.

What are referenced documents?

The NCC calls upon or “references” a range of documents when it comes to design and construction requirements for a building or plumbing or drainage systems. They include Australian Standards, ABCB Protocols, ABCB Standards and other publications.

There are three main types of NCC referenced documents:

  1. primary referenced documents which are referenced in the NCC and are listed in Schedule 4,
  2. secondary referenced documents which are referenced in a primary referenced document, and
  3. other referenced documents which are referenced by secondary and subsequently referenced documents.

Where to start if you’re using an NCC referenced document

With the introduction of consistent Governing Requirements and common Schedules in NCC 2019, finding information about NCC referenced documents is the same regardless of whether you're using the BCA or PCA.

NCC Part A4

Part A4 NCC referenced documents is a great place to start if you are unsure or have questions about how documents referenced in the NCC are adopted and applied. It includes all the rules and exemptions about referenced documents.

NCC Schedule 4

The other place you should look at is Schedule 4 - Referenced documents. The documents listed here are NCC primary referenced documents. Whenever you come across a referenced document in the NCC, whether it be in the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions, Verification Methods or other Schedules, you should check here. This Schedule provides the edition or amendments for the referenced document that you should be using for the purposes of the NCC.

If you come across a new edition or amendment of a primary referenced document not listed in Schedule 4, just remember that whilst the new edition or amendment doesn’t need to be complied with for the purposes of the NCC, it could be considered for use as part of a Performance Solution.

Secondary referenced documents

A secondary referenced document is any document referenced in a primary referenced document.

Most primary referenced documents such as Australian Standards reference other documents but have no date next to them. Don’t worry - figuring out which edition or amendment of a secondary referenced document you need to comply with is actually quite simple.

For secondary referenced documents, the edition or amendment you need to comply with is the one that existed at the time of publication of the primary referenced document. So, if the primary referenced document you need to comply with was published in 2015, then all the documents referred to within that document are the ones that existed in 2015.

Also remember, a document referenced in a primary referenced document is only applicable in the context in which the document is quoted.

Are there exemptions to this rule?

Yes, but luckily it’s a relatively easy one. If any of those secondary referenced documents are listed in Schedule 4 of the NCC it means the document is also a primary reference. In these cases, the edition or amendment you need to comply with is the one that’s listed in Schedule 4.

Last, but not least

The NCC contains a number of provisions in Part A4, you may not be aware of. If you really want to brush up on how referenced documents apply, you should take the time to read through this section. For example, did you know?

  • The NCC overrules in any difference arising between it and any primary or secondary referenced document, including differences in definitions. However, some exemptions apply – see the NCC Part A4.1 for more details.
  • The NCC does not require compliance with all the requirements in a referenced document – see the NCC Part A4.2 for more details.

For more information check out NCC 2019.

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