BCA Section J Report, Everything You Need to Know

Section J

Section J Index

WHAT IS A SECTION J REPORT?

BCA Part J reports are an integral part of any commercial Development Application

A NCC Section J report, previously known as BCA Section J report, details the energy efficiency requirements of the National Construction Code (NCC). These are the regulations that need to be met for a given building to enable the building to progress through the approvals stages of a new building or significant renovation. These requirements are dependent on many attributes of the building in development, and the outcomes and requirements are unique to each building. While this might sound complicated, LittleShrub are experts in evaluating your building and letting you know how to meet these regulatory requirements in simple terms that are easily understood by the people required to use them. 

With NCC 2019 now in force in all states and territories, the thermal performance calculations of the thermal envelope now need to include the impact of thermal bridging within these reports. These calculations are more complicated that the ones previously required by NCC 2016 however are far more indicative of actual performance. LittleShrub were actively involved in the authoring of AS/NZS 4859.2 and are uniquely placed to provide guidance and expert solutions in this space. 

With intimate knowledge that only comes with being involved with developing the rules LittleShrub are uniquely placed to assist you in meeting the new Section J requirements of NCC 2019. Feel comfortable in the knowledge you are being assisted by true industry experts. 

WHAT IS OUR EXPERIENCE?

LittleShrub continue to be actively involved in Standards Australia and provide strong guidance to the committee on ongoing changes required to progress the Energy Efficiency ambitions of the Australian Government. Not only do we understand what is required by the Building Code, but we were involved in the creation of some of the regulations that govern the sector today.

Possibly one of the biggest changes to Section J in NCC 2019 was the introduction of AS/NZS 4859.1:2018. It is this Australian Standard which sets the rules of how an ESD consultant needs to go about calculating the performance of a building in a DtS Section J solution and it is this point which really elevates LittleShrub above the crowd. It was our staff that drafted these rules on behalf of Standards Australia for inclusion into the BCA for 2019

Our staff have been involved in the space for over a decade, and we bring the knowledge of inner workings of the regulatory space as well as knowledge of where the industry is heading into the future. We pride ourselves on being actively involved in how the industry, as a whole, looks to the future to create a more energy conscious Australia.

the rules of Section J

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE?

Put in the most simple terms; to reduce Australia’s energy consumption and output of greenhouse gas emissions. Australia, like most other developed nations of the world, understands one of the most effective strategies to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions is to improve the performance of their building stock.

As the National Construction Code (NCC | BCA) is a body of rules and regulations that govern the requirements of how either a house or commercial building is built. Therefore it makes logical sense to include a set of rules in these documents that tell someone how to construct a building that is energy efficient. NCC Section J describes all the energy efficiency requirements that need to be met for a particular building.

Why use section J?

HOW DOES IT WORK?


The Building Code is split into two main streams of compliance.

  • Deemed to Satisfy Solution (DtS)
  • Performance Solution

For any given project it is possible to achieve compliance by satisfying either DtS or a Performance Solution or a combination of both. A BCA Section J report will always need to be completed as a base line, then a JV3 can be used to determine if an alternative solution is as effective as the DtS solution giving you the ability to be more flexible with design.

BCA Section J Report (Deemed to Satisfy)

When you hear the term NCC Section J Report, this is the common reference to the Deemed to Satisfy provisions of the NCC. The Deemed to Satisfy provisions are like a recipe book to compliance without the quantities of ingredients. LittleShrub will look at your individual requirements and determine the exact items you need.

To relate this analogy back to the project, you will probably know you need insulation. You will also know your glazing needs to have some performance levels but you don’t know exactly how much of each. It’s our job to determine how much insulation and how well those windows need to perform (amongst other things) for you to meet compliance based on your individual circumstances. We do so with consideration of any constraints you may have whilst determining the most cost effective solution possible.

JV3 (Performance Solution)

A JV3 is a computer simulation of energy consumption of a building and is the Performance Solution route to Section J. Compared to a Section J report it takes a lot more time and consideration to complete. However is a lot more flexible in terms of achieving outcomes. It is a particularly useful tool for renovations where Section J reports become too expensive to implement.

BCA performance solution and DtS

THE REQUIREMENTS

As has already been discussed in; What’s the point of a Section J report?, the main function of Section J is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Minimum standards of design to new developments and renovations help achieve these government goals.

However there are many aspects that contribute to energy efficiency of buildings.

Section J of NCC 2019 Considers the following aspects:
  • J1 – The building’s fabric performance
  • J2 – No longer considered and instead captured by J1
  • J3 – Sealing of the building
  • J5 – Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems
  • J6 – Performance of artificial lighting
  • J7 – Heated water supply system for heating and pumping of swimming pools and spas
  • J8 – Facilities used to monitor energy use.

An important difference between BCA Section J 2016 and 2019 is the way walls and glazing are considered. In NCC 2016 the fabric of the walls (level of insulation) and how the window performed (single glazing, double glazing) were considered separately. They each had their own individual performance requirements.

NCC 2019 Section J consolidated the performance of the windows and walls into a single term dubbed façade. They still need to individually reach a minimum requirement for each element, but also needed to reach a requirements as a whole. Think of it like a weight lifter lifting weights without clamps on each end securing the weight. To achieve the goal the weight must lift evenly above their head. However, lift with one hand too much, then the weights will fall, and they will fail to achieve their goal. The NCC 2019 façade requirements must also have an even balance when considering glazing and walls.

section J is a careful balancing act

HOW MUCH IS A SECTION J REPORT?

Section J costs are variable in nature, it depends on the complexity of the building. The cost of the report can range from approximately $500-$3000. Although, on average for relatively simple single storey developments to BCA 2019 you may expect in the range of $600-$1000.

However although Section J is the most cost effective solution for determining compliance. It might not be the most cost effective solution to build. To find out more about a holistic approach to this subject, click here.

What drives cost?

When considering how design will impact the cost of a Section J, the following aspects will have an influence on the cost of the report.

  • How many wall types are there?
    • If there is brick wall in one place and weatherboards in another, this will mean there are two wall types. Calculating each wall type will increase time and cost.
  • How many roof types are there?
    • As with the above, different types of roofs will need to be considered individually and will influence cost.
  • Slab on ground, or suspended floor
    • Slab on ground is typically easier to assess than suspended slabs, but not always, this generally won’t affect things.
  • Double or single story
    • Generally the bigger the building the greater the cost
  • Verandahs or other external shading
    • All types of shading will need need to be reviewed in CAD programs. While they’ll help with performance and might drive down overall construction/running costs, the time taken to assess them is longer.
  • Glazing variations and numbers.
    • A concise glazing schedule will help reduce cost. Where concise glazing schedule aren’t available, LittleShrub can review them in CAD programs and determine dimensions. This will of course take more time.

Found a better deal?

Whilst we think we have some of the most competitive pricing on the market, don’t be afraid to tell us you’ve found a better deal. If you find a better deal we’ll always consider alternatives to determine the best way to suit your needs. Just ask!

Glazing Schedule for Section J to determine SHGC and UValue
Example of a good glazing schedule

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

Section J Reports completed in 48hrs!

The time taken per report does depend on a number of factors. The main ones being complexity of the project and completeness of the documents. As seen in the above section there are a number of things that will influence time and cost.

However, historically our service times are as follows.

~60% of reports completed within 48hrs

~30% completed 48hrs – 4 business days

~10% are longer than 4 business days. 

Our goal is to serve you the report within 48hrs, but no longer than 4 business days. The 10% of reports longer than 4 business days represent more complex projects or projects with many points of clarification. 

Want to Learn More About the Changes to NCC 2019?

Learn all there is to know about the changes to the Building Code 2019.