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New NSW Basix Scheme Requirements Change Coming from October 2023

2 August 2023

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The government of New South Wales has pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This commitment has prompted an escalation in the BASIX standards criteria related to energy consumption and thermal efficiency for all new residential constructions in New South Wales.

The new Basix standards will come into effect on 1 October 2023, and if you’re planning to build a new house, you need to understand how the changes will affect you.

The National Construction Code of Australia (NCC) is a national standard containing energy efficiency provisions applicable to all new buildings. However, in NSW, the exception lies in the usage of the Building and Sustainability Index (BASIX), which applies to all residential dwellings in this region.

Following the recent changes to the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 energy efficiency provisions, the NSW Government announced the equivalent changes for NSW that will apply under BASIX.

In short, BASIX is a web-based planning tool designed to assess potential performance against a range of sustainability indices, including thermal comfort, energy and water use, and a BASIX Certificate is the formal evidence that the project achieves compliance with the required targets.

The commitments made under BASIX become a condition of the relevant development consent or complying development certificate and applies to any new building work or alterations and additions to an existing dwelling where the value of the works is over $50,000. 

 What are the new Basix requirements in NSW?

After amendments were made to the energy efficiency stipulations of the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022, the NSW Government proclaimed similar alterations for New South Wales that will be implemented under the BASIX framework.

The changes mean that: 

  • ‘Thermal comfort target’ increases from 5.5-star NatHERS (Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme) to 7-star minimum (equivalence) in line with the NCC.
  • Energy consumption stringency increases, varying with building location and type.
  • A new measure is set to be implemented that necessitates the computation and disclosure of the embodied emissions associated with construction materials used in the building. While there is no particular target or benchmark set, information regarding these embodied emissions must be provided via a new calculation tool.

For those building a new home, the key changes coming on 1 October 2023 are:

  • External Wall Insulation – R2.5 minimum
  • Roof Insulation – R6.0 minimum
  • Use light roof colours as much as possible
  • Single-storey home designs to have Low E coated glass in bedroom windows and double-glazed living room windows
  • Double-storey homes to have double-glazing for all windows except wet areas.

It’s important to note that while these changes may translate to higher upfront construction costs to achieve the average 7-star rating, the benefits have been assessed and determined to outweigh the cost. Plus, homes that meet the higher standard will be more comfortable to live in as they will be passively cooler in summer and warmer in winter. It is estimated that the lower operational cost of the home will pay itself off within a decade and continue to save money throughout its lifespan, and homeowners can feel good about contributing positively to the environment by offsetting carbon. 

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How will the modifications to BASIX impact the construction of my new home in NSW?

The changes to BASIX will not directly affect your new home build, your home builder will take care of obtaining the BASIX certification and guarantee that your new home meets all necessary requirements. As builders, we factor in numerous considerations to ensure homes are in compliance with new regulations. Moreover, we lodge build permit applications with the new specifications taken into account.

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Will it cost more to build a home in NSW after the BASIX changes?

Building costs for most homes will increase when these changes come into effect in October, but the amount will depend on your location, block aspect and home design. Home design aspects include ceiling height, window size and the number of windows.

What do I need to do to get ready for the BASIX changes?

If you’re already in the process of designing your new home and you want to maintain your current plans, you need to ensure that your application is lodged with a valid BASIX certificate before 1 October 2023.

And while that’s nearly six months away, you need to act now if you want to meet that deadline and not wait. Building a new home is a complex project and can take many months to plan and implement

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