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Mt Barker’s Exemption to National Housing Standard

December 6, 2023 8:44 am in by
Aerial Panorama Mount Barker. Supplied Mt Barker Council

Mount Barker Council is not happy with a State Government decision to exempt new homes in Mount Barker’s growth area from up-coming national minimum building code requirements.

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has agreed on a new seven-star energy standard for all new residential dwellings in Australia from October 2024 onwards, up from six-stars.

New houses will have to be better insulated, with double and triple window glazing, lighter roof colours and more internal doors and ceiling fans.

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The Master Builders SA and the Housing Industry Association advocated for an exemption for the region, with concerns houses could cost an extra $15,000 and $40,000 per home, as a result of the new measures.

A State Government spokesperson has told us they chose to grant the exemption for a few reasons.

“Industry cited climate conditions and ‘reactive soils’ as reasoning behind the requirement for a delay. Mount Barker has also experienced high growth and is responsible for doing the heavy lifting in providing more houses – delivering over 600 homes each year,” the State Government spokesperson said.

“Mount Barker’s extreme polarity between the highest day time temperatures in the middle of summer and lowest overnight temperatures in the winter months make it more challenging for the region to meet the NCC 2022 building fabric requirements (7 Star) for energy and condensation.

“Under the new code this can bring on additional cost with the need for under slab insulation, which is more challenging in the reactive soils found in this region.

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“Accordingly, the Minister made provisions to extend the Mount Barker implementation date.”

In response, both the South Australian Greens party and the Mount Barker Council, have shared concerns about the move.

Marc Voortman, General Manager Planning and Community at Council, said that the move is another ‘knock’ to the town following the ‘infrastructure failures of the Rann Government’s 2010 rezoning’.

“It is widely known that houses constructed to a greater level of energy efficiency will be cheaper and more efficient to run over time,” Marc Voortman said in a statement.

“Whilst issues of affordability and housing availability are understood and appreciated, it is disappointing that the positive steps the Minister has made in the NCC changes will not apply to the predominant area of housing growth in Mount Barker.”

Greens MLC Robert Simms agrees that there is a risk that the cost-cutting measure, will ‘doom’ house buyers and renters in the long run, as energy efficiency measures are more cost effective.

“Whilst issues of affordability and housing availability are understood and appreciated, it is disappointing that the positive steps the Minister has made in the NCC changes will not apply to the predominant area of housing growth in Mount Barker.”

Greens MLC Robert Simms agrees that there is a risk that the cost-cutting measure, will ‘doom’ house buyers and renters in the long run, as energy efficiency measures are more cost effective.

“There’s a real risk that cutting corners now will only doom those who purchase these new properties to higher power prices in the long run, as energy efficiency measures are more cost effective,” Robert Simms MLC said.

“There’s also the risk of more costs down the line, with properties needed to be retrofitted to improve standards as communities continue to grapple with the effects of climate change.”

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