The National Construction Code (NCC) lays down the minimum requirements for numerous aspects of new buildings and new building work throughout Australia. These include public safety and health, accessibility and convenience, and sustainability in their design and construction. It is a consistent set of technical provisions for plumbing and drainage installations and building work that adapts to a country’s climate and geographic conditions.
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) created the NCC to integrate all on-site construction requirements into a comprehensive set of rules. The NCC consists of two other types of codes: the first and second volumes of the Building Code of Australia (BCA), and the third volume of the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA).
An Overview of the Volumes
NCC Volume One concerns Class 2 to 9 building structures, namely multi-residential, industrial, public, and commercial. NCC Volume Two applies to Class 1 and 10 buildings and structures, which are residential and non-habitable, respectively. NCC Volume Three discusses the code that must apply to the plumbing and drainage for all types of buildings.
For further guidance in interpreting the volumes, each NCC Volume provides clear explanations within the text. Such information helps the primary users of the NCC, which includes architects, plumbers, building surveyors, designers, hydraulic consultants, and engineers. As the rules stated in the Volumes apply throughout all states and territories, all construction professionals need to familiarise themselves with its rules. It will also help you, as a customer, understand what it means to choose a custom staircase manufacturer to ensure they’re BCA-compliant.
A Brief History of Regulatory Reforms
The country’s construction industry is one of the most profitable, as it is the second-largest sector of small businesses. The government must improve productivity while keeping costs down to boost the significant benefits it brings to the economy. To spur more growth, the government has instituted regulatory reforms over the last two decades.
Of these reforms, the creation of one consistent BCA applicable throughout the entire country is among the most significant, which happened in 1992. It also shifted the BCA to become more performance-based four years later in 1996. It continued to improve regulations in the 21st century by consolidating plumbing and building regulation, which birthed the NCC in 2011. They moved to make it more accessible by providing a free online version in 2015. However, they realised that frequent changes might make it difficult for the industry to adapt, which is why they reduced the number of NCC changes from every year to every three years starting with the NCC 2016.
The Australian Building Code Board (ABCB) then commissioned the Centre for International Economics (CIE) to study the impact of building regulatory reform on the present. It also asked the CIE to pinpoint any previous or potential barriers that may prevent the full benefits of reform. This study was requested by the ABCB to determine the advantages of a national performance-based construction code and identify its impact on the industry. According to the report, it estimated the building regulatory reforms to produce an annual national economic benefit of $1.1 billion over the last twenty years.
A Brief History into Building and Plumbing Regulation
Given the intrinsic connection between building and plumbing regulation, they usually come hand-in-hand when setting requirements for building construction. However, several decades ago, administrative and legislative arrangements regulated them separately. The construction industry used the BCA as the primary construction code throughout the country since 1994, but plumbing regulators had not yet arranged a national code.
To achieve similar consistency in the plumbing industry, the COAG requested the Business Regulation and Competition Working Group (BRCWG) to look into the benefits of a national code. On July 2008, COAG then agreed to create an NCC that covers plumbing, building, electrical, and telecommunications standards. That led to the release of the NCC in 2011.
The National Construction Code provided a clear set of guidelines for those in the construction and plumbing industry, which made compliance an easier task. It also offered uniform safety regulations in all structures and plumbing systems, increasing the overall efficiency. Thanks to the NCC, there has been an overall improvement in ruling throughout both sectors.
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