Understanding the New NSW Basix Requirements for Home Builders in 2023

Dev Kunasagaram
23 Oct 2023
5 min read

Australia's Push Towards Building Sustainability and the Basix Update

In line with the national goal of achieving "Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050", the Australian government introduced stringent requirements for home builders in 2023.

In New South Wales, these codes are reflected in the updated Building Sustainability Index (Basix) requirements. The new NSW Basix standards outline enhanced minimum benchmarks for thermal performance, water, and energy usage for new residential dwellings.

1. When Did the New Basix Changes Take Effect?

The updated Basix requirements came into effect on the 1st of October 2023. Any building contracts entered after this date must comply with the latest codes unless granted a special exemption during the 9-month transition period until June 2024.

2. Key Changes in the New Basix Requirements

The new Basix changes focus on further improving minimum standards for thermal and energy efficiency across three key areas:

Thermal Comfort: The 'Thermal Comfort' target has increased from 5.5 stars in the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) to a 7-star minimum equivalence with the National Construction Code (NCC). The maximum possible rating is 10, at which point a house does not require mechanical heating or cooling to maintain a comfortable temperature range.  

Energy Consumption: Stringency for energy consumption increases, varying based on building location and type.

Embodied Emissions: A new provision requires calculating and reporting the embodied emissions of building materials. While there is no specific target or benchmark, information on the embodied emissions must be reported using a new calculator.

3. What Do the New Basix Requirements Mean for Home Builders?

For those building new homes from October 2023 onwards, complying with the new Basix requirements will likely necessitate the following additions to their building contracts:

• Increased external wall insulation – R2.5 minimum

• Increased roof insulation – R6.0 minimum

• Use of light roof colours as much as possible, with some colours banned in most areas (e.g., black roofs)

• Single-storey homes: Low E coated glass in bedroom windows and double-glazed living room windows

• Double-storey homes: Double-glazing for all windows except wet areas

4. Curbing Costs for Basix Compliance

At Build 360°, the standard inclusions package supplied by our builders prior to October 2023 was already at 6.5 NatHERS (above the prior 5 NatHERS minimum). Therefore, our customers will not see a significant jump in building costs to reflect the new 7 NatHERS minimum requirements.

However, many other builders quoted based on 5 NatHERS ratings. Anyone planning to proceed with such a package should factor in an increase of roughly $50,000 or more in the price of building an average 20-square home to meet the new Basix standards.

5. Tips for Keeping Basix Compliance Costs in Check

For those looking to keep Basix compliance costs manageable, here are some general tips:

Block shape: Smaller, narrower blocks are proving more challenging to comply with the new requirements, as the homes generally have a large surface area and struggle with passive thermal regulation – unless shaded be neighbouring structures.

Cookie-Cutter Designs: Avoid forcing standard project home designs onto blocks. Having a customized design suited to your block will save you money in the long run.

Colour Selection: Flexibility with external colour choices can be cost-effective for offsetting some Basix requirements. Lighter colours reflect light and heat, reducing the load on other thermal mitigation aspects.

Early Assessment: Get a thermal assessment done early in your building or tender process to understand the costs involved before signing a contract.

6. Expert Guidance for Navigating the New Basix Requirements

If you still have questions regarding the updated Basix requirements or need assistance with a building quote, don't hesitate to contact the team at Build 360°. Our team acts as an advocate for new home builders and buyers, ensuring they get the best contract from their builder while adhering to the latest energy efficiency and thermal performance requirements.

We also have a panel of pre-vetted quality builders with access to discounted prices and premium inclusions that meet or exceed the new Basix standards.

Get in touch with experienced consultants today to kickstart your duplex building and sub division journey, ensuring a streamlined process from start to finish.
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Dev Kunasagaram
23 Oct 2023
5 min read

Meet Dev

As a Civil Engineer with over 30 years of experience in commercial, mega and residential construction, Dev is our lead consultant. He has a strategic understanding of local planning laws and building best practices, and works directly with each of our clients to plan and execute their home building project. Your independent guide for peace of mind!
Dev Kunasagaram
CEO and Lead Consultant

"The most expensive thing you will ever do is build a home. It's worth doing it right"
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