This is a Public Record of the Australian Building Codes Board meeting held on 28 and 29 March 2023 with a follow up meeting on 21 April 2023.
1. Meeting opening and administrative matters
- The meeting opened with Acknowledgment of Country.
- The Board noted attendance, apologies and disclosure of any potential or actual conflicts of interest related to matters on the agenda.
- The Board dealt with meeting administrative matters and received reports from the Chair and Chief Executive Officer.
2(a). Standards Australia
- The Board received a presentation from Standards Australia on proposed changes to the process for developing Australian Standards and the access and pricing arrangements for user of Australian Standards.
- Standards Australia confirmed the Protocol applied for the development of standards referenced by the National Construction Code (NCC) would not be affected by the proposed changes.
- The Board reaffirmed to Standards Australia the importance for industry of easily accessible standards and better communication with industry on the change proposal for the development of Australian Standards.
- The Board also noted that the Commonwealth Government MOU with Standards Australia is currently being renewed and discussed the need to review Protocol once that the MOU is complete.
2(b). Draft 2023-24 Business Plan
- 28/29 March initial meeting: The Board reviewed and discussed a draft business plan for 2023-24. The draft plan, once endorsed by the Board, would be submitted to Building Ministers towards the middle of the year for their consideration and approval. The Board requested additional information be prepared for a follow up discussion and decision on 21 April.
- 21 April decision: The Board reviewed an updated draft business plan and endorsed a proposal for submission to Building Ministers.
Matters for decision
3(a). Charter of Transparency and Engagement
- The Board reviewed and endorsed the content of a new Charter of Transparency and Engagement.
- The Charter is a strong commitment by the Board to make it easier for more of our stakeholders understand more about the way the work and the way we make decisions.
- The Charter includes initiative such as releasing a public record of Board meetings (this document), providing fast publication of submissions received during consultation processes and creating new opportunities for stakeholders to speak directly with senior people, such as the Chair and Chief executive, about the work of the ABCB.
- The Charter has now been published on the ABCB website.
3(b). Implementation Update – Lead In Plumbing Products
- 28/29 March initial meeting: The Board received presentations from the Plumbing Products Industry Group (PPIG) and the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) seeking a reset of the 3-year transition period (essentially an 8 month delay) for lead free products. PPIG and Ai Group highlighted delays in the registration of the lead free trademark and continuing supply chain constraints flowing from the extended COVID lockdowns in China.
- Noting the important public health rationale underpinning this transition and wanting to ensure risks were mitigated to the extent possible, the Board requested additional information be prepared for a follow up discussion and decision on 21 April.
- 21 April decision: The Board reviewed additional advice demonstrating that the majority of higher risk products would still move to lead free in the first half of the transition period and the latter part of the transition period would be relied on for lower volume and relative lower risk products.
- Noting the importance of supporting Australian businesses through this important transition, the Board agreed to reset the 3-year transition period and agreed to publish a short statement explaining the decision.
3(c) & (d). Supporting EV uptake and the safe use of lithium-ion batteries in buildings
- 28/29 March initial meeting: The Board reviewed and discussed draft advice responding to Building Ministers’ request for options to make EV charging easy and safer in new buildings. The Board requested additional information be prepared for a follow up discussion and decision on 21 April.
- 21 April decision: Based on analysis of global information and the regulatory practices of other nations, the Board reviewed an updated draft and subsequently endorsed advice for submission to Building Ministers.
3(e). Early childhood centres and primary schools
- The Board received an update on the continued collaborative work undertaken by the Office of the ABCB and the Australian Children's Education & Care Quality Authority in relation to fire safety in early childhood centres and primary schools.
- The Board reviewed and endorsed advice for Building Ministers, reporting on the safety improvements included in NCC 2022 and the the Board’s commitment to continue close coordination with education and early childhood centre regulators on our shared responsibility for safety and wellbeing in these facilities.
Matters for discussion
4. Building Resilience
- The Board received a presentation on initial analysis of the changing natural hazards that are most likely affect buildings under a changing climate – fire flood, extreme wind and extreme heat.
- The Board agreed to a forward work program examining options to assess the current suitability of NCC provisions for forecast changes in the frequency and/or intensity of these events, and options to make new buildings more resilient.
- The Board agreed to recommend continuing work in resilience in the next business plan presented for the approval of Business Ministers.
5. Board steering committee updates
- The Board discussed the work of project steering committees and committee chairs answered questions from Board members.
6. Risk Management
- The Board reviewed and discussed updates to the risk management plan.
Published on 17 May 2023