Latest changes in the NCC (National construction code) 2019

Everything you need to know about NCC 2019

Latest changes in the NCC (National Construction Code) 2019

Latest changes in the NCC (National Construction Code) 2019

NCC 2019 : Latest updates in the NCC 2019 and how it may impact your projects.

1What is the most significant changes in NCC 2019 relation to signage?
Signage lost its exemption from having to comply with the flammability requirements of external wall materials.
Other than required signs all signs attached to external fire wall of Type A and B buildings must be made from non-combustible material or material that has a achieve a Group 1 or 2 rating against AS 5691
2 Why were these changes in NCC 2019 introduced?
Health and safety concerns raised by recent high rise fires led to the formulation and implementation of recent changes in these rules.
3What are the latest changes in the NCC 2019?
C1.14 Ancillary elements
An ancillary element must not be fixed, installed or attached to the internal parts or external face of an external wall that is required to be non-combustible unless it is one of the following:
(a) An ancillary element that is non-combustible.
(b) A gutter, downpipe or other plumbing fixture or fitting.
(c) A flashing.
(d) A grate or grille not more than 2 m2 in area associated with a building service.
(e) An electrical switch, socket-outlet, cover plate or the like.
(f) A light fitting.
(g) A required sign.
(h) A sign other than one provided under (a) or (g) that—
  (i) achieves a group number of 1 or 2; and
 (ii) does not extend beyond one storey; and
 (iii) does not extend beyond one fire compartment; and
 (iv) is separated vertically from other signs permitted under (h) by at least 2 storeys.
(i) An awning, sunshade, canopy, blind or shading hood other than one provided under (a) that—
 (i) meets the relevant requirements of Table 4 of Specification C1.10 as for an internal element; and
 (ii) serves a storey—
  (A) at ground level; or
  (B) Immediately above a storey at ground level; and
 (iii) does not serve an exit, where it would render the exits unusable in a fire.
(j) A part of a security, intercom or announcement system.
(k) Wiring.
(l) A paint, lacquer or a similar finish.
(m) A gasket, caulking, sealant or adhesive directly associated with (a) to (k).

Requirements of C1.14 (g)
Allows for required signs to be made of combustible material

Requirements of C1.14 (h)
“An ancillary element must not be fixed, installed or attached to the internal parts or external face of an external wall that is required to be non-combustible unless it is one of the following:
(a) An ancillary element that is non-combustible.
(h) A sign other than one provided under (a) or (g) that—
 (i) achieves a group number of 1 or 2; and
 (ii) does not extend beyond one storey; and
 (iii) does not extend beyond one fire compartment; and
 (iv) is separated vertically from other signs permitted under (h) by at least 2 storeys
Other than required signs all signs attached to the external fire wall (almost all external walls are fire walls) of Type A and B buildings MUST be either made from, a Non Combustible Materials, a material Certified as being Non Combustible under AS 1530.1, or meet the requirements for ancillary element of 1.3.3 – C1.14 (g) & C1.14 (h).
4When does this rule apply?
You may be required to show that your sign meets the fire rules for Combustibility and Flammability. This is dependant on the type of building that you will be installing your sign to.
  • It generally only applies to Type A and B Buildings.
  • Type C buildings are usually not required to meet this rule.
  • Pylon Signs etc. are exempt.
  • This rule applies to external walls, but it applies to both the inside and outside of the external wall.
  • 5Which materials have been classified as "non-combustible" materials?
    The BCA has recognised the following materials as non-combustible in Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions C1.9

    Definition Non-Combustible
    C1.9 (e) The following materials may be used wherever a non-combustible material is required:
      (i) Plasterboard.
     (ii) Perforated gypsum lath with a normal paper finish.
     (iii) Fibrous-plaster sheet.
     (iv) Fiber-reinforced cement sheeting.
     (v) Pre-finished metal sheeting having a combustible surface finish not exceeding 1 mm thickness and where the Spread-of-Flame Index of the product is not greater than 0.
     (vi) Sarking-type materials that do not exceed 1 mm in thickness and have a Flammability Index not greater than 5.
     (vii) Bonded laminated materials where—
      (A) each lamina, including any core, is non-combustible; and
      (B) each adhesive layer does not exceed 1 mm in thickness and the total thickness of the adhesive layers does not exceed 2 mm; and
      (C) the Spread-of-Flame Index and the Smoke-Developed Index of the bonded laminated material as a whole do not exceed 0 and 3 respectively.
    6How to determine if a material is Non-combustible?
  • To determine if a material is Non Combustible, it must be presented to a laboratory and tested to AS 1530.1
  • The AS 1530.1 test is a Pass/Fail test.
  • As a general rule, unless your material is concrete, glass, steel, or some other material that doesn’t burn, it won’t be “Non-Combustible”
  • This test cost in the vicinity of $30k, so shouldn’t be undertaken unless you are mostly sure you will pass.
  • There is and AS 1530.2 and AS 1530.3 test. These tests will not provide you with a certificate claiming Non Combustibility.
  • 7Can a material compliant for cladding be used for signage?
    Rather than applying the same criteria that is applied to materials used for cladding the ABCB decided to apply a different standard.
    They choose AS 5637; this standard requires a completely different set of tests to be applied to the materials, than the one used for cladding materials. This means that if a material is compliant for use as Cladding it CANNOT be deemed to comply with the one that applies for Signage and the revers applies.
    8Do these changes in NCC 2019 affect my past projects?
    The changes are not retrospect.
    If the material use were complaint at the time the sign was installed then there are no issues.
    9How may these changes in NCC 2019 impact your current and future projects?
    You may need to change the materials your business signs are made of to meet the new rules and also request for performance solution from fire engineers for your current and future projects.
    10What are the challenges in the implementation of these changes in NCC 2019?
  • Currently there is no cost-effective translucent material other than glass that can achieve a Group 1 or 2 classifications. There are non-combustible AS 1530.1 certified and AS 5637 certified alternatives available.
    The NCC: 2019 does allow for Performance Based Solutions. Every illuminated non-required sign attached to an external wall will require a Performance Based Solution. However, as the components of a Performance Based Solution are site specific (Type of Building structure, Classes of Occupancy, Location on the building, Position of other signs, What the external wall is made of), this is not going to be a 1 size fits all solution that covers every situation.
  • The “internal part” of the C1.14(h) from the NCC:2019 includes (except in specific situations) the internal lining of an external wall. This means that those signs will have to be made to different standards and materials than that of the other internal signs.
  • The NCC:2019 also removed the exemption signage had from AS 4282 Control of Obtrusive Light Effects Outdoor Lighting. This will likely result in more councils/certifier's asking for lighting reports. This may require a reduction in brightness or the use of dimmable LED's and Transformers to ensure compliance.
  • 11My signs do not meet the code, now what?
    Talk to a Fire Engineer who will assess your sign and the building as a whole and produce a report.
    In this case, a Fire Engineer will assess your sign and the building as a whole and “signs off” that the components that the sign/s are made of, along with the location of sign in relation to, location of other signs, and existing opening within the firewall, do not increase the risk of the fire spread.
    The new rules were written specifically to force Fire Engineers to become more involved in the decision making process. A Fire Engineer is similar to a structural engineer. You employ them to look at your design and assess the risk of it failing.
    Every project will need to assessed individually to determine the impact and suggest further course of action. If you have any questions or need any further guidance implementing the latest changes in NCC 2019 please feel free contact our National Compliance Manager Glenn Hain at 0432 934 280 or schedule a no obligation meeting.

    General Questions

    1What is NCC and who is it for?
    The National Construction Code (NCC) is a uniform set of technical provisions for the design, construction and performance of buildings throughout Australia.
    2What is the goal of NCC?
    The goal of the NCC is to enable the achievement of nationally consistent, minimum necessary standards of relevant safety (including structural safety and safety from fire), health, amenity and sustainability objectives efficiently.
    3Is BCA the same as NCC?
    The 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 is comprised of the Building Code of Australia (BCA), Volume One and Two; and the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA), Volume Three. Read more: https://ncc.abcb.gov.au/ncc-online/About
    4What are different types of Building Classes?
    There are 10 Classes of buildings depending on their usage. These 10 buildings are then classified into 4 types based on their height. The 4 building types are A, B, C and D.
    Once you know the Building Classification, you can then use the picture here to work out Construction Type.
    Example 1 : Office Building is Class 5. If it is 2 stories it is Type C
    Example 2 : Residential Building is Class 2. If it is 2 stories it is Type B. Large Isolated Structures can also be classed as Type C provided, they have, sprinklers installed, have a total floor area less than 180002m, do not have a single fire compartment greater than 50002m and have at least 6m clear unobstructed continuous vehicular access around the entire building.
    5What is ABCB?
    The ABCB is a Council of Australian Government (COAG) standards writing body that is responsible for the development of the NCC, comprised of the BCA and the PCA.
    Read More: https://www.abcb.gov.au/
    6What is material rating?
    Materials can be submitted to a lab for testing. At the end of the test the material will be given a rating.
    7How to determine material group rating?
  • To determine a material group rating, the material must be presented to a laboratory and tested to AS 5637.1
  • Previously AS ISO 9705—2003 determined the group numbers. This test is still valid but it now forms part of the AS 5637.1 test.
  • AS 1530.2 and AS 1530.3 will not give you a group rating.
  • 8What is Group 1 Group 2 rating?
    A Group 1 material is one that does not reach flashover when exposed to 100 kW for 600 seconds followed by exposure to 300 kW for 600 seconds (as determine by AS 5637)
    In very basic terms these products have been tested to determine how long the product will hold back the fire from spreading. The test required for internal walls and linings is AS 5637 and the test for external is ADS 1530.1