New building standards for home accessibility and energy efficiency in South Australia

by Sophie Berrill
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South Australia

For the first time, all new builds across South Australia will need to reach a seven-star energy efficiency rating and ensure new liveability and accessibility standards.

The Malinauskas Labor Government has agreed to an implementation date of 1 October 2024 to meet its obligations under the National Construction Code. From this date, all new residential constructions in South Australia will be required to meet higher minimum requirements for energy efficiency, an increase from the current six-star standard. Meanwhile, greater consideration will need to be given to accessible design, allowing for South Australians with mobility limitations to “transition through life stages in their own homes”, according to a statement from the State Government.

Energy efficiency

The statement says the new seven-star energy efficiency provisions seek to lower greenhouse gas emissions and provide year-round comfort in the home, while also reducing the cost-of-living pressures through energy efficiency – which is predicted to offset initial construction costs.

New accessibility standards

The Government says the new accessibility standards will make it easier for South Australians living with a disability and older South Australians to find suitable housing. New homes are to include improved entry and spaces inside, such as wider doors and corridors, and step-free access.

The installation of these standards at the outset is anticipated to reduce the cost of future mobility-related home modifications, which are up to 22-times more expensive to fit retrospectively.

Timeline acknowledges industry challenges

The commencement date for South Australia acknowledges the current environment in which the building and construction industry finds itself. According to the statement, this includes challenges of market capacity, supply chain disruption, and workforce uncertainty, along with the additional pressures the rebuilding effort in the River Murray floods will place upon the sector.

“We need to give industry time to adapt to the changes, which is why we are providing a transition period to get the balance right and will be working with the industry on a range of exemptions,” says the State’s Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Nick Champion.

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