The regulation covering BASIX requires that all water and energy saving design measures and technologies listed on the BASIX certificate as building commitments must be marked on plans and other documentation that accompany either a development application (DA), application for a complying development certificate (CDC) or construction certificate (CC).
The purpose of this study is to monitor this issue – and to understand how BASIX certificate commitments' such as floor areas, landscaped areas, appliances, insulation and glazing, are recorded on plans and documents for assessment by consent and certifying authorities. DA, CDC and CC plans that fully mark and detail the design and fit-out of BASIX commitments, increase the standards for builders to construct a BASIX compliant home, and ensure the delivery of the Government's sustainability requirements for new residential development to reduce mains-potable water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and perform in a thermally efficiency manner.
In this review, an independent consultant conducted a paper-based and desk-top review of over 100 single and dual occupancy development proposals and plans submitted to eleven participating councils - Marrickville, Penrith, Fairfield, The Hills, Parramatta, Blacktown, Shellharbour, Maitland, Orange, Lithgow, Camden. This compliance monitoring did not involve on-site visits of constructed homes.
The study also identified areas for additional support to councils and industry and a format for future compliance auditing.
- The findings show that the current standard of submitted DA and CC documents and plans that reflect BASIX Certificate commitments is generally fair to good.
- The quality of plan-marking of 'iconic' and high-scoring BASIX-Water and -Energy components, such as rainwater tanks and hot water systems, is high. However, Thermal Comfort design elements and other documentation required, particularly for developments using the 'Simulation' method, is somewhat lacking.
- The NSW Department of Planning & Environment issued an update to the Thermal Comfort Protocol, effective from 1 May 2013, to improve consistency with recent changes to NatHERS Technical notes, and to clarify the standard for plan-marking requirements to all stakeholders – including Accredited Assessors, development proponents, and consent and certifying authorities assessing compliance against BASIX certificate commitments.
- A number of leading exemplars by industry, consent and certifying authorities were flagged for potential promotion as case studies of best practice.
- Findings showing lower compliance may also be attributed to some confusion around changing efficiency ratings and labelling standards, and general plan-marking practices beyond BASIX-related design measures and technologies.
- In response to the findings, the Department will continue to engage with key stakeholders to resolve and to deliver on recommended actions, including developing improved on-line support and training, refining the single dwelling web-based tool and certificate, and future compliance monitoring studies with private certifying authorities.