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QLD Article

National Construction Code Amendments and the Impact for Strata

Strata managers are often the ‘meat in the sandwich’ when it comes to ensuring compliance in strata schemes – particularly when it comes to the myriads of Codes that we are beholden to.

Commencing 1 October 2023 there are significant amendments to the National Construction Code which will affect all new builds and major renovations to all types of dwellings. This includes every type of strata scheme imaginable.

What we can tell you is that you will more than likely have a new build or major renovation that land on your desk in the next couple of years and so we want you to be prepared.

To that end, below is a quick outline of the upcoming changes, which you need to be aware of, and prepare for in your schemes. New Requirements Regarding Accessible and Energy Efficient Housing

  • Step free access from the site boundary or connected parking area. (If access is from carpark, each car space must be 3200mm wide and 5400mm long)

  • Landing at the entrance must be at least 1200mm by 1200mm.

  • One “accessible shower” (hobless and step free)

  • Entrance and internal doors on entry level and in the bathroom with accessible shower must have:

    1. An 820mm clear opening (a minimum 870mm wide door)

    2. Doorway thresholds are to be step free or have up to a maximum of a 5mm step.

  • Corridors are 1000mm wide on the entry level and along the path of travel to the accessible shower.

  • One “accessible” toilet with a minimum 900mm by 1200mm clear space in the front. This toilet must be on the ground floor even if no other rooms are.

  • Reinforced walls around the accessible shower and toilet (for the easy install of grabrails if needed in future).

  • Increase in energy efficiency from 6 to 7 Stars under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Systems and an introduction of whole of house assessment.

Much of this may sound a little confusing - but it is all about making homes a little greener and increasing the amount of housing stock available that can comfortably house people with disabilities and the ageing - noble aims to be sure.

What does it mean?

Cutting through the jargon, what this will mean for strata developments is simple. These rules will apply to everything from a flat single level duplex to a classic townhouse style complex, right up to a “Q2” high-rise with 800 units.

It will mean that whether you are building a townhouse, apartment or duplex, you will need to have step free access from the street or carpark to the front door. The landing at the entrance you arrive at will need to meet the above specifications, so it is easier (or possible) for a person with a mobility device to get in and out of the building. Where the entrance is via the carpark, the parking spaces will need to be sufficiently wide to allow for the easy manoeuvre of a mobility device.

Every single new build will need to have an accessible bathroom and toilet. This means that if you are working with a developer to help get a new scheme out of the ground, you need to be mindful of helping them to ensure compliance with these design features.

If you are working with a medium or high-rise scheme where the majority of lots are 1 or 2 bedrooms with a single bathroom, the bathroom must meet these requirements and you need to impress upon your clients the importance of compliance. If you are working with two bathrooms, you need to make sure one fully complies with all the requirements. One bathroom must be fully accessible, you cannot tick off compliance by spreading the requirements across two!

By way of example, you might be working with a developer on a townhouse development - you will need to be particularly conscious of ensuring that there is ‘step free’ access to the front door. This may change the design a developer had in mind to a degree. It is also important to note that in the context of a townhouse, the accessible toilet must be on the bottom floor, even if there is nothing else there! So, this will be of particular importance to new townhouse schemes.

It is important to remember, these same rules apply to major renovations too.

Overall, it is unlikely that you or your clients are going to be able to fully understand the ramifications of these changes as words on a page - the built environment simply does not exist there.

We will continue to be proactive in communicating with members as we move closer to the date of the effect of these provisions, and we hope you have found this guide helpful.


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