Energy Efficiency Requirements of the Building Code of Australia

What are they?

The Building Code of Australia Section J sets out a series of requirements for building energy efficiency including requirements relating to mechanical services, lighting, insulation and glazing.  These requirements come into force when work on building is notified under the local government planning process, typically through a Development Approval (DA) or Complying Development Certificate (CDC), both of which call up the BCA in their requirements.  The requirements are intended to capture minimum practice standards rather than best practice.

Why are they useful?

When any significant redevelopment or refurbishment of a building is planned, the BCA sets minimum standards that provide a tenant or owner with a basic level of surety with regards basic issues of construction.  The Compliance with the BCA is generally assessed by an indpendnet certifier.

Issues to be aware of

The general policing of Section J compliance is not as rigorous as it is for some of the life safety aspects of the Building Code, so it is worthwhile engaging independent advice and review of Section J compliance.

Applicable buildings

All buildings are subject to the provisions of the Building Code of Australia providing that the works being conducted are sufficient to engage with the State or Territory planning processes.

Questions to ask

  • When was the building last refurbished to the extent it was subject to a DA or a CDC?
  • What Section J compliance reports are available from those works?


More information

Australian Building Codes Board –