New building standards to start in South Australia
New building standards to start in South Australia – Source: Unsplash
  • All new homes will soon be required to meet new minimum efficiency standards
  • Homes will also need to meet new accessibility standards
  • New requirements commence 1 October 2024

The South Australian Government has officially set a start date for new energy efficiency and home accessibility standards that will apply to new homes being built.

Under the National Construction Code (NCC), all new homes in South Australia will be required to achieve a seven-star energy efficiency rating and meet new liveability standards beginning 1 October 2024.

These changes, an increase from the current six-star standard, aim to improve living conditions for residents, especially those with disabilities and older individuals.

The new seven-star energy efficiency provisions seek to improve energy efficiency and provide year-round comfort in the home, while also reducing the cost-of-living pressures – which is predicted to offset initial construction costs.

Improving accessibility for disabled and older residents

The new accessibility standards will make it easier for South Australians living with a disability and older South Australians to find suitable housing, with new homes to include improved entry spaces inside homes – such as wider doors and corridors, and step-free access.

The installation of these standards is anticipated to reduce the cost of future mobility-related home modifications, which are up to 22 times more expensive to fit retrospectively.

The building industry has so far been supportive of the new changes.

Housing Industry Association (SA) Executive Director Stephen Knight said, “The decision made by the Malinauskas Government to give the industry an appropriate lead-in time for adoption of NCC 2022 is a pragmatic and measured approach to implementation of the most significant amendment to the building code since its implementation.”

“This transition time will now give house builders, designers and manufacturers and suppliers a clear timeline in preparing for and adapting their businesses to these major reforms.

“HIA will continue to work with Minister Champion to establish a clear implementation framework for the application of the requirements tailored to the South Australian residential building industry which also note that the most cost effective and practical measures need to be considered.”

Certainty for builders

Master Builders Association of South Australia CEO Will Frogley said, “Today’s announcement of the National Construction Code implementation in October 2024 provides builders with certainty and a date to work towards.”

“Our industry faces well-documented skills and materials shortages, so delaying the implementation until October 2024 is a sensible decision that alleviates pressure.

“Master Builders SA will continue working with the State Government to ensure these changes are introduced as smoothly and effectively as possible. It is essential housing is affordable and all South Australians have an opportunity to own a home.”

Australian Building Codes Board CEO Gary Rake said, “Helping industry understand the new provisions is an essential part of our role and we are keen to help. We will prepare guidance material and handbooks for practitioners and run information sessions specifically for South Australian businesses.”

“The ABCB will also share this information, free of charge, with industry organisations to help them and their members bring these improvements to new homes in South Australia.”

Nick Champion, a spokesperson for the government, said, “These new standards will benefit all South Australians – leading to cheaper energy bills and cost of living relief.”

He said that the government is providing a transition period to allow the industry to adapt to the new regulations and will work closely with stakeholders on a range of exemptions.

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