News and Information

Building Advice

Today’s Building Services Pty Ltd provides Training and advice to assist owner builders to understand sometimes complex building regulation and to provide the facts about various myths in the building industry.

Whilst every endeavour is made to ensure that this advice is correct, the information is intended to be of general guidance only and should not be acted on without considering (and if appropriate) taking legal advice with due regard to your own particular circumstances.

We believe that if an owner wishes to carry out building work, an understanding of the requirements of building codes and standards should first be obtained.  There are numerous training courses available for owner builders, however, care should be taken that the course to be undertaken is relevant for the State you are building in as building regulation can differ state by state.

The Today’s Owner Builder course has been developed specifically for WA by a building proffesional with over 40 years experience, 30 of these in WA, and the course covers the WA State Building and Planning regulations.

Building standards are regulated under the National Construction Code (NCC) and are applicable in all States, however, most States do have additional building standards that are only applicable in that State.  The Today’s Owner Builder course covers all the additional standards for WA.

 

Forms and check sheets

The following forms and check sheets have been developed to assist the Owner Builder in the submission of applications for approvals and permits, and to help in preparing estimates and construction schedules.

Checklist for a Building Permit
Checklist for Development Approval
Energy Efficiency Check Sheet
Construction Schedule
Trade and Suppliers List
Estimate Summary Sheet
Telephone Quote

Sustainability of your home

Sustainability is an important factor in any project, whether it be building a new home or renovating an existing home. Looking at the overall economic, environmental and personal or social effects of the materials and appliances you choose is fundamental to the annual energy consumption of your project.

The NCC requires minimum standards for energy efficiency and the intent is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by ensuring building are designed and contructed so that heating and cooling of the internal space of the building is reduced.  While the Today’s Owner Builder guide and the Today’s Owner Builder course contains information about designing your building to meet the minimum energy efficiency requirements of the NCC, there is much more you can do to ensure that your project is energy and water efficient and is as ‘green’ as possible.

For example, using high star rated energy and water efficient appliances and fittings will help to reduce its impact on the environment. However this will inevitably involve trade-offs between what you would like, can afford, or feel is environmentally responsible.

There are many sources of information about building design and what can be done to make a building sustainable. The amount of information can be quite overwhelming, so here are some effective publications and websites from ‘Your Home’ which is a Commonwealth Government initiative that consists of brochures and a website that are aimed at helping you through the building process.

http://www.yourhome.gov.au/buyersguide/index.html

http://www.yourhome.gov.au/renovatorsguide/index.html

http://www.yourhome.gov.au

http://www.livinggreener.gov.au

WA regulations for additions and alterations to existing dwellings
If you are adding to or altering an existing home, the WA Government have developed a protocol for assessing the energy efficiency of the house which is based on an averaging system. The NCC energy efficiency requirements are not retrospective, therefore there are no regulation that require upgrading of existing buildings.

However, the NCC requirements are applicable to any new parts of the house. Under the protocol an energy assessor can calculate what level of insulation etc you require for any new or altered parts of the house to acheive compliance. Therefore, if you are proposing to carry out additions or alterations to your existing house in WA, it is recommended that you employ the services of an experienced energy assessor.

There maybe similar concessions available in other States, so it is a good idea to check you local State regulations or a qualified building surveyor prior to submitting your plans for assessment.

Bush-fire Construction

There are numerous areas throughout Australia that are subject to, or likely to be subject to, bush-fire attack.  Building Codes (BCA) and standards require residential houses and associated out buildings to be designed to provide resistance to a bush-fire attack if constructed in a designated bush-fire prone area.  This requirement is primarily to reduce the risk of danger to life and the loss of the building.

The BCA defines a designated bush-fire prone area to mean, land which has been designated under a power in legislation as being subject, or likely to be subject, to bush-fires.  This is usually done through town planning schemes.  However, not all bush land areas are designated as being bush-fire prone.

New WA regulations

In April 2016 the WA government introduced new regulations that require all new homes or extensive additions to existing homes to comply with the bushfire standards if located in a designated bush-fire prone area. The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) have developed a bush-fire area map of WA that has been adopted under the new regulations.

If you are building in WA you should first check the DFES bush-fire map to determine if you are in a designated bush-fire prone area. If you are in a bush-fire area, then you will need to have your property assessed by a registered assessor who can determine the Bush-fire Attack Level (BAL) rating for your property.  more information about the new bush-fire regulations and BAL ratings can be obtained from the WA building Commission website http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-commission.

If you intend on building in a bush land areas in other states, you should check with your local government before designing your house to find out whether the area has been designated as a bush-fire prone area.  If it is not a designated bush-fire prone area, then compliance with the bush-fire construction requirements of the BCA is not mandatory.

Other information

Information on the following websites may assist the Owner Builder.

National

Australian Building Codes Board
www.abcb.gov.au

Standards Australia
www.standards.org.au

SIA global (purchasing Australian Standards)
www.saiglobal.com

Association of Building Sustainability Assessors
www.absa.net.au

The Owner Builder Magazine
www.theownerbuilder.com.au

State Governments

Australian Capital Territory

http://www.environment.act.gov.au

New South Wales

http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au

Northern Territory

http://www.nt.gov.au/lands/building/regulations/index.shtml

Queensland

http://www.bsa.qld.gov.au

South Australia

http://www.ocba.sa.gov.au

Tasmania

http://www.wst.tas.gov.au/industries/building/owner-builders

Victoria

http://www.buildingcommission.com.au/

Western Australia

http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/building-commission