Performance-Based Building Reform

The Centre for International Economics (CIE) stated in the report ‘Benefits of building regulatory reform’ released in 2012[1]:

The building regulatory reforms of the early 1990s, culminating in the single national BCA, were always directed at the ultimate goal of introducing a nationally consistent performance-based building code. This was supported by the findings and recommendations of the BRRT report in 1991. The 1996 release of the BCA (BCA96) was the first performance-based building code in Australia.

The objectives behind a performance-based building code have been well established internationally: by focussing on the outcomes that the building is required to deliver, it is expected that the market will have more flexibility to develop innovative and cost effective solutions. The ultimate goal is to improve the efficiency of the market in delivering no less than a minimum level of building quality, without being overly prescriptive and impeding the uptake of new technologies and design principles.

The ideology behind a performance-based code is that it focusses on the following attributes.

  • minimum requirements, not aspirational goals;
  • objective outcomes, not subjective methods; and,
  • final product delivery, not process of delivery.

[1] The Centre for International Economics (CIE), Benefits of Building Regulatory Reform, p.13, http://www.abcb.gov.au/~/media/Files/Download%20Documents/About%20the%20NCC/The%20CIE%20-%20Benefits%20of%20building%20regulation%20reform%20-%20Final%20Report.ashx, viewed 20 September 2015

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