When embarking on a design, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the regulatory requirements that may be associated with a particular project. To ensure that the relevant considerations are made, a designer should always determine the following before the commencement of work:

 

  • the building classification (defined by the NCC)
  • state or territory regulatory requirements
  • local council compliance issues (planning, building and health), if applicable
  • housing estate covenants, if applicable
  • strata committee or body corporate requirements, if applicable

We’ve developed a straightforward site survey checklist that will help you get into the habit of collecting this information – along with all other critical observations and measurements – at the beginning of each new project. Download your copy from the Members Portal today.

 

Building Classification
The National Construction Code (NCC) is an initiative of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), developed to incorporate all on-site construction requirements into a single code. The NCC provides the minimum requirements for safety and health, amenity and accessibility, and sustainability in the design, construction, performance and liveability of new buildings (and new building work in existing buildings) throughout Australia.

It comprises the Building Code of Australia (BCA) – Volumes One and Two, and the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA), Volume Three. Within the NCC, buildings are grouped by their function and use and classified accordingly.

  • NCC Volume One primarily applies to Class 2 to 9 (multi-residential, commercial, industrial and public) buildings and structures.
  • NCC Volume Two primarily applies to Class 1 (residential) and 10 (non-habitable) buildings and structures.
  • NCC Volume Three applies to plumbing and drainage for all classes of buildings.

It’s essential to determine the classification of your client’s building from the outset to ensure that you comply with the relevant parts of the National Construction Code. The class of a residential building (i.e. Class 1 or Class 2) may also determine the licensing requirements of trades or service providers. This varies in each State and should be investigated accordingly.

State or Territory Regulatory Requirements
Each Australian State and Territory has a building authority to regulate construction and licencing. Designers should be aware of which trades and service providers require licencing, when building work approvals are necessary, and the authority’s requirements for building work contracts.

The relevant regulatory bodies across Australia are set out below:

ACT Government
www.planning.act.gov.au/build-buy-renovate/for-industry/regulation

Fair Trading
www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/trades-and-businesses

NT Government
nt.gov.au/property/building/build-or-renovate-your-home/building-and-renovating-a-home/residential-building-work-that-requires-permits

Queensland Building & Construction Commission
www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/industry

SA Government | PlanSA
www.sa.gov.au/topics/planning-and-property/land-and-property-development/building-rules-regulations-and-information/technical-building-rules-for-construction-work\

TAS Government | Consumer, Building & Occupational Services
cbos.tas.gov.au/topics/licensing-and-registration/licensed-occupations/building-provider-licences/builder

Victorian Building Authority
www.vba.vic.gov.au

WA Government
www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-and-energy/licensing-and-registration-and-owner-builder-approval

Local Council Requirements
In most cases (under most local governments), minor internal and external changes that don’t alter structure or services can be carried out without council approval. However, plumbing, drainage, gas or electrical alterations may require the relevant authority’s approval and/or inspection, so it’s always best to check. Councils may also have requirements relating to heritage or traditional building character overlays. These requirements could impact a proposed new window or door opening in a kitchen redesign.

Housing Estate Covenants
Covenants are restrictions on how a homeowner can use or alter their property. These legally binding ‘rules’ can relate to big picture considerations like building heights, building setbacks or the general style of a house, or finer details like the type of fence or letterbox allowed. They may control external colours, the location and size of external living areas or privacy considerations but generally don’t cover internal elements.

Body Corporates
A body corporate is a legal entity created when land is subdivided and registered to establish a community titles scheme. A community title scheme comprises two or more lots and could be a duplex, residential unit block, townhouse complex or high-rise accommodation building. All owners in a community titles scheme are automatically members of the body corporate when they buy their lot. The body corporate maintains, manages and controls the common property on behalf of the owners. They also make and enforce their own rules (by-laws), which determine what people who live in the scheme can and cannot do.

We’ve developed a straightforward site survey checklist that will help you get into the habit of collecting this information – along with all other critical observations and measurements – at the beginning of each new project. Download your copy from the Members Portal today.