Reduced red tape for builders, plumbers

The Federal Government says builders and plumbers will benefit from reduced red tape under the new National Construction Code, which will combine and streamline state and territory building and plumbing codes.


The code has been developed through the Council of Australian Governments’ regulatory reform agenda and is expected to be rolled out from May 1.


According to the Housing Industry Association, the National Construction Code is a new name for a series of technical codes that the Australian Building Codes Board will publish every year.


“Initially, this will incorporate building and plumbing standards, and eventually it is planned to include all on-site construction regulation including electrical installations and telecommunications,” a HIA spokesperson says.


The NCC will include three volumes of the Building Code of Australia. Volume 1 covers Class 2 to 9 buildings, Volume 2 covers Class 1 and 10 buildings, and Volume 3 is the Plumbing Code of Australia.


The 2011 editions of the code will introduce various changes to both Volume 1 and Volume 2.


The main changes relate to the classification of buildings, accessibility, and timber framing requirements due to the BCA now referencing the revised Australian Standard for residential timber construction.


Meanwhile, the new plumbing code will be used by plumbers in all states and territories and will replace the current state plumbing regulations and codes.


Innovation Minister Kim Carr said in a statement the new code is the biggest reform to building regulations since the BCA was introduced in 1996.


“For the first time, Australia will have one set of building and plumbing regulations… This will ease the administrative and cost burdens that multiple regulations currently place on our construction workers,” Carr said.


“I am pleased the new code contains provisions that encourage innovation, rather than rigidly prescribing how particular jobs must be done.”


“For example, the regulations allow designers and engineers scope to develop innovative design solutions for plumbing that optimise water use.”


A spokesperson for the Minister Assisting on Deregulation, Nick Sherry, says adoption of the code will lead to multimillion dollar cost savings and fewer delays.


“In the non-residential construction sector, reduced costs are estimated at between 2% and 3% – that means potential savings of up to $700 million,” the spokesperson says.


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