Some significant changes in Australian building codes become effective in 2022. The changes will require handicapped accessibility standards in all dwellings built on or after the first of September 2022.
Numerous groups, including those advocating for the elderly and disabled, are touting these new standards as a victory for all Australians who face mobility challenges. . However, detractors worry that the required changes will drive up housing prices to unattainable levels.
How Did the New National Construction Code Begin?
In 2018, the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) developed the Accessible Housing Options Paper. The objective was to understand housing availability for Australians with mobility challenges due to injury, infirmity, or aging.
National forums took place so that all Australians could weigh in on the suggested ideas.
With its recent ratification, the National Construction Code applies to construction on or after the first of September 2022.
Response from Craig Jennion, Executive Director at Housing Industry Association
The Housing Industry Association (HIA) Executive Director, Craig Jennion, offered a response to the NCC 2022 on his Linked In account. Whilst Jennion stopped short of criticizing the newest initiative; he voiced some concerns. Increased costs and changes to standard building materials topped Jennion’s list of potential pitfalls for NCC 2022. He also referred to code as “the most significant for residential buildings of any past amendment.”
What Changes Must Occur as a Result of NCC 2022?
It is not unusual to hear some people expressing strong opinions about a new statute without a keen understanding of what changes will stem from the new regulation.
To help everyone understand the new regulations, here are some critical modifications that are required by the NCC 2022 revisions. You will see that all of these changes do not pertain to mobility challenged individuals.
Waterproofing – Changes in the application of the waterproof membrane in class one and class two homes
Plumbing – Any pipes that come in contact with drinking water must contain less lead than the present statute demands. The industry will have three years to adjust to the new changes.
Reinforced Bathroom Walls – The walls in disabled bathrooms must be built and reinforced sufficiently to provide the necessary support for the installation of grab rails at the toilet and the shower.
Showers – Showers may not have hobs, and removal of shower screens without damaging the surrounding material is mandatory.
Wheelchair Accessibility – Dwellings (primary and secondary) must be accessible by wheelchair.
- A flat (step-free) walkway from the street that is continuous and has no more than a 5mm difference between levels The walk must be one metre wide and lead to an entrance that is at least 870mm wide.
- Doors on the ground floor are to be at least 870mm wide
- Installation of a ground floor toilet is mandatory
- The ground floor toilet must have enough space in front to accommodate a wheelchair (a space in front of the pan that is a minimum of 1.2 metres clear of the door and clearance of 450mm on either side of the pan)
- Passageways must be a minimum of one metre wide
What are Some Specific Concerns About NCC 2022’s Impact on the Construction Industry?
Even though there are as many opinions as there are builders, concerns about several points reached a consensus.
- Design changes for builders
- Remodelled display homes to show compliance to NCC 2022
- New building materials may be necessary
- New techniques in construction may slow work progress which in turn could drive up prices
- Plumbing changes could cause a price increase for plumbing goods of between ten and thirty per cent
What is Fox Transportables’ Opinion of the New Construction Code?
At Fox Transportables, we pride ourselves on our ability to meet our clients’ needs, no matter what sort of building we create. From the start of the company, Fox offered options to customize our transportable units. Handicapped accessibility has always been one of the many options for our customers. We are ready to adjust our plans to make these changes mandatory to comply with updated codes and provide accessible dwellings.
What Facts did Building Ministers Consider When Creating NCC 2022?
When Australian Building Ministers were drawing up NCC 2022, they took numerous factors into account. These points include,
- Feedback from members of the construction industry, including architects, builders, designers, and representatives of the trades
- Testimonies of those who struggle daily trying to navigate dwellings not designed to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility assistance devices
- Evidence presented by those who advocate for people who struggle to find a home that can accommodate their unique physical needs
The numerous changes found in the NCC 2022 can feel a bit overwhelming. If you have specific concerns, please feel free to get in touch with Fox Transportables. Our knowledge and understanding of local, state, and national construction mandates can offer you peace of mind.