3rd of March 2015
Further updates have been provided in regards to the National Construction Code and Deck, Balcony and Window Safety Guideline.
National Construction Code News
It has been agreed in principle by Federal and State Government Ministers at a forum on 30 May 2014 to make the National Construction Code (NCC), which includes the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA), free to all registered users from 1 February 2015 (referenced Standards within the NCC will still need to be purchased).
Currently the NCC is released yearly and must be purchased at a cost of approximately $400.
From 1 February 2015, the NCC will be available electronically from the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) website and will no longer be available in hard copy.
It was also agreed to move from a 1 year amendment cycle to a 3 year amendment cycle which will deliver more certainty and stability about regulatory change to the building and construction industry.
The Hon Bob Baldwin MP said other reforms were eliminating the NCC's purchase price (almost $400), improving small business' access to the NCC, and increasing the number of building and plumbing practitioners able to access using the NCC from 12,000 to around 200,000 across Australia.
"We shouldn't be charging our building industry to access these vital building codes, so today we took the first step to removing this burden on the building industry," Mr Baldwin said.
"This measure alone will significantly reduce red tape for Australia's building industry, improve the code's useability and reach, and ensure that Australia's building and construction industry continues to maintain high standards.
"Agreeing to eliminate costs associated with buying the code will make it more accessible to the industry and mean that the building and construction sector can keep abreast of the latest changes."
To view the Media Release issued by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, or a list of Frequently Asked Questions relating to the decision, please visit the ABCB website. Further information will also be provided in the upcoming edition of the Australian Building Regulation Bulletin.
Deck, Balcony and Window Safety Guideline
The State Government's 'Deck, balcony and window safety guideline' has recently been updated to address recommendations from a 2012 Coronial enquiry into a death caused by a fall from a deck owing to a decayed decking board. Updates were also made to the guideline in relation to safety concerns owing to recent deck and balcony collapses throughout Australia. Various other changes have been made to reflect current National Construction Code requirements.
The guideline was originally developed to help building owners and occupiers, builders and inspectors carry out inspections on balustrades, decks and balconies in order to check the integrity and safety of these structures.
It may be useful for industry professionals, however, it is not a replacement for technical standards used by industry. Owners and managers of non residential buildings with a deck or balcony, such as restaurants, hotels and clubs, may also find the guideline relevant.
For more information, please visit the Department of Housing and Public Works website.