November 9, 2019
NSW Planning has developed an alternative assessment process for large boarding houses. The new process allows the thermal comfort of large boarding houses including student accommodation to be assessed at a later stage (i.e. the construction certificate stage) against the Section J requirements of the Building Code of Australia (BCA or NCC).
In their announcement, NSW Planning mentions that NatHERS software is unsuitable for individual boarding rooms. However, the new process also overcomes the problem of Councils insisting on a NatHERS thermal performance assessment as part of BASIX; then the certifier requiring a Section J assessment of the building envelope prior to Construction Certificate.
A large boarding house is defined as a building designed to accommodate more than 12 people or having a gross floor area of more than 300 sq m. In other words, a Class 3 building. Even though the thermal performance won’t be assessed until Construction Certificate stage, the BASIX Certificate must still meet the water and energy targets.
Gradwell Consulting has now completed BASIX Certificates for several large boarding houses and student accommodation using the new process. The process works well, although it is important to allow extra time for the alternative assessment as it is a manual step after BASIX inputs are complete. More information on the process is available at: https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/basix/alternative-assessments/large-boarding