Staying on the right side of the law is essential for any tradesperson, and those working in the building sector are no exception. This is why efforts are being made to ensure access to legislation is as easy as possible, starting with the free online publication of the National Construction Code (NCC).
Builders and contractors had previously been required to pay around $400 to access the information, but thanks to recent reforms, this is no longer the case.
The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) announced in June last year that reforms would be coming into force - a move that was welcomed by various industry groups. ABCB Chair John Thwaites explained in a June 2 release that not only would it mean reduced costs for builders, but would it might encourage more people to take up professions such as plumbing.
Initial estimates suggest the amount of building and plumbing experts making use of the NCC now that it can be accessed free of charge could rise from 12,000 to as many as 200,000.
There's also the added benefit of the amendment cycle being reduced to every three years. At present, the NCC is updated on an annual basis, leaving builders with little option but to acquaint themselves with the latest regulations.
Among the groups welcoming the free introduction of the NCC is the Housing Industry Association. It agreed that whether builders are responsible for air conditioner installation or laying foundations of a new home, being able to gain access to the code will make their job a lot easier.
Kristin Brookfield, senior executive director of building, development and environment at the HIA, said the benefits will be more far-reaching than some people realise.
"Limiting changes to the code will also give builders and home buyers certainty about the rules, and help to reduce the red tape involved in getting house plans approved," Ms Brookfield commented in a February 2 statement.