Modern Homes standards
From 1 October 2023, the Modern Homes agenda adopted in the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 will introduce new standards for both energy efficiency and accessibility in new homes. These standards reflect community expectations for modern homes.
The NCC 2022 will be available from 1 October 2022 for people who want to use the Modern Homes standards voluntarily.
Residential energy efficiency
It has been more than a decade since the last change to the energy efficiency requirements for homes in the NCC.
Improving the energy efficiency of new housing stock will:
- provide occupants with cost-of-living savings on their energy bills
- reduce emissions
- improve comfort.
The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) conducted extensive public consultation on the Modern Homes provisions between 2020 and 2021.
The energy efficiency standards for residential buildings will:
- increase the level of thermal comfort from 6 stars to 7 stars (out of 10)
- promote the installation of energy-efficient major appliances and onsite renewable energy systems.
Read more about the residential energy efficiency standards.
Accessibility is about designing homes that are more livable and adaptable to the changing needs of occupants. In new homes, the livable housing design standards will meet the changing needs of all of us as we age, without the need for costly adaptations. The basic accessibility features will allow us to remain in our homes as we age.
In practice, this means providing:
- a step-free entry
- more space in the bathroom
- wider doorways
- provision for future adaptations, such as grabrails in bathrooms and toilets.
Sensible exemptions for step-free entry requirements have been adopted for small and steep lots, and the protection of the iconic Queenslander.
Read more about the Livable Housing Design Standard.
Cost benefits of the standards
Recent analysis by the ABCB suggests the combined capital cost for both energy efficiency and accessibility standards for new houses in Queensland is between $3,637 and $6,056.
This represents approximately 1 to 2 per cent of the total cost of a new house. These costs are expected to reduce over time as industry adjusts to the new standards.
For new homes in Queensland, the new standards will provide an average electricity saving of $173 per year.
Additionally, building more accessible housing now will reduce future costs for the community. ABCB analysis suggests that including accessible housing features will reduce retrofitting costs by $18,821 for houses and $20,260 for apartments. Some changes, like increasing the width of a corridor in an apartment, may not be possible to make.
For more information, view the NCC 2022 decision regulation impact statement (PDF, 9.6MB).
Importance of accessible new homes
Building accessible new homes provides future generations with more livable homes for all, including:
- young families with children
- people with injuries
- people living with disabilities.
An aging population will increase the demand for accessible housing.
Implementation of the Modern Homes standards
On 26 August 2022, Building Ministers agreed that the NCC 2022 will be available from 1 October 2022 for people who want to use the Modern Homes standards voluntarily.
The NCC 2022 will commence on 1 May 2023, with a transition period to 1 October 2023 for the Modern Homes standards. These transitional arrangements acknowledge the pressures that industry is currently facing by providing additional time to adjust.
The ABCB and jurisdictions will work with industry on a communication and engagement strategy to support the industry’s implementation.
- Last updated:
- 20 September 2022