The National Construction Code (NCC) is a performance-based code containing Performance Requirements for the design, construction, performance and livability of buildings. To comply with the NCC, a solution must achieve compliance with the Governing Requirements and the Performance Requirements. The Governing Requirements contain requirements about how the Performance Requirements must be met. A building, plumbing or drainage solution will comply with the NCC if it satisfies the Performance Requirements, which are the mandatory requirements of the NCC.
Practitioners can develop performance-based solutions to meet the Performance Requirements of the code. This supports innovation by designers and allows them to determine the most effective way for their particular building to demonstrate compliance.
The ABCB is working to increase the competent use of the Performance Requirements in order to support industry innovation. There are four components to this initiative as follows:
- Strategic Review of Performance Requirements
- Collaboration with Industry
The first component aims to build practitioner awareness and capability in working with Performance Requirements. The last three of the above components develop the Performance Requirements within the NCC to better support Performance Solutions.
The Australian Building Codes Board's (ABCB) education initiative is helping to build industry capability to develop Performance Solutions. Our education team is improving the understanding of the performance-based code as part of our core activities. Our resource library continues to grow, with many useful handbooks, case studies and other materials providing guidance to develop Performance Solutions. Building industry skills and experience with Performance Solutions is central to the increased competent use of performance.
Strategic Review of Performance Requirements
The NCC Performance Requirements are being reviewed systematically for the first time since being introduced 21 years ago. This long-term process aims to improve clarity and objectivity in order to better describe the core components of building performance. As part of this review, the ABCB will also examine the consolidation of multiple performance requirements in order to ease the work of practitioners. By better defining these requirements, they will be easier for practitioners to competently use the Performance Requirements in the development of Performance Solutions.
Many of the Performance Requirements are qualitative in nature, which discourages practitioners from using them for Performance Solutions. Rigorously quantifying these requirements will provide objective levels of performance for practitioners to target. This will encourage both increased use of performance and competency when practitioners develop Performance Solutions. This will also help ensure a level playing field and reduce the risk of misinterpretation.
Collaboration with Industry
Those best placed to quantify the Performance Requirements are the industry representatives who work with them every day and possess expanded technical capabilities. As part of the strategic review and quantification, the ABCB is liaising with industry to gather perspectives on how the code could better encourage the competent use of performance. This will enable industry experts to contribute to both the adjustment and quantification of the Performance Requirements.