Energy efficiency of residential buildings

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The energy efficiency requirements for housing (Class 1 buildings and certain Class 10 buildings and structures) are contained in the Building Code of Australia (BCA) Volume Two which forms part of the National Construction Code. The Performance Requirements for new housing take into account both the thermal performance of the house and performance of its domestic services.

Options for complying with energy efficiency requirements

The options to meet the energy efficiency performance requirement of a house can be achieved through Deemed-to-Satisfy provisions or an Alternative Solution.


The Deemed-to-Satisfy provision consists of two compliance options:

  • Option 1: Energy rating in accordance with clause 3.12.0(a)(i) of the BCA.
  • Option 2: Elemental provisions in accordance with clause 3.12.0(a)(ii) of the BCA.

In addition where either of the options used, provisions for Services under Part 3.12.5 of the BCA also apply.

Alternative solutions

  • An alternative solution must demonstrate compliance with the relevant performance requirements in the BCA by using one or more of the following assessment methods:
  • Verification method (such as verification using a reference building under V2.6.2.2 of the BCA Volume Two or any other verification method that the relevant building surveyor accepts)
  • Comparison with the Deemed-to-Satisfy provision
  • Evidence of suitability
  • Expert judgement

Part 2.6 of the BCA contains Performance Requirements for Energy Efficiency and Part 3.12 provides Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions. The BCA is available free online from the Australian Building Codes Board website.

WA Alterations and Additions Protocol for Energy Efficiency

The Building Commission has supported an industry-led project to provide a practical building solution to enable alterations and additions in Class 1 or attached Class 10 buildings to meet the energy efficiency requirements.  This project has resulted in the development of a WA Alterations and Additions Protocol for Energy Efficiency (the Protocol).

The Protocol provides the basis of an alternative solution that can be developed to demonstrate compliance with the BCA’s energy efficiency performance requirements for alterations and additions in Class 1 and Class 10 buildings.

Check sheets

Please note the ability to use BCA2009 for alterations, renovations additions to existing homes ended on 1 May 2015. Accordingly the BCA 2009 check sheets previously available on the Building Commission website should not be used for building permit applications submitted on or after 1 May 2015. 

The BCA2012 check sheets previously available on the Building Commission website for new houses are out of date and should not be used.  Therefore they have been removed from the website. The Building Commission will not be providing updated versions of these check sheets.

Compliance with the BCA energy efficiency provisions should be documented and provided to a registered building surveyor. It is the responsibility of the registered building surveyor to request sufficient documentation to be satisfied the building will meet the relevant provisions. 

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