Upcoming Changes To The Construction Code: Livable Housing Design And 7-Star Energy Efficiency Rating

A new year often means many changes come into effect across all areas of government regulation, and the construction industry is no different.

There are some significant changes that are coming into effect for the construction industry in May 2024 in Victoria. These include updates to liveability and accessibility criteria and increased energy efficiency standards. Swanbuild has been working hard to implement these changes as they come into effect. Read on for a summary of the most important new building changes and what you need to know if you are building a new home this year…

NDIS & NCC Requirements: New Livable Housing Requirements

From May 1st, the National Construction Code will include new provisions for all new homes in Victoria to meet the new Livable Housing Design requirements. These requirements have been updated to futureproof our homes and improve the accessibility for older people and people requiring assistance. Livable Housing Design aims to transform how we design homes to make them more user-friendly and adaptable to the evolving needs of the inhabitants. If there is a need for an owner or occupier to use mobility aids or to include extra support railings and fittings, the homes we build will be ready to accommodate them.


The provisions include:
•    Providing step-free access to the home.
•    Making doorways and hallways easier to use for people with reduced mobility.
•    Providing extra space in the bathroom and toilet, including at least one toilet with access and circulation space of 900 x 1200mm.
•    Wall reinforcing in the bathroom and toilet to make it easier to install grabrails in the future.

Deck with ramp access

* Please note: the ramp pictured was customised for this home. The standard ramp is 1.14 slope.

At Swanbuild, we are prepared to introduce these modifications, which will only result in minor differences in certain home layouts and construction techniques. Our designs are completely customisable, and we can make almost any adjustments to accommodate your needs should you want changes beyond the Livable Housing Design requirements.

7-Star Energy Efficiency Building Standards

Also, starting May 1st, all new homes in Victoria must meet increased 7-star energy efficiency standards. The standards ensure all new homes are cheaper and more efficient to heat and cool, more comfortable to live in, and more resilient to extreme weather. The standards also encourage the installation of energy-efficient appliances like hot water heaters, heating, cooling, lighting and pool and spa pumps. The standards strongly promote the inclusion of rooftop solar to reach the 7-star rating. These new standards will be calculated on a Whole-Of-Home basis, meaning the design and build of your home, energy-efficient appliances, and Solar panels will all count towards ensuring your home meets the 7-star standard. 

To meet the 7-star rating, new homes will need to be:
•Designed with optimal orientation for passive heating and cooling.
• Include improved insulation for ceilings, walls, or under-floor areas specifically designed for the Victorian climate.
• Include high-performance glazing for windows to better insulate the home from heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer.

home being constructed

At Swanbuild, we design and build our homes to meet an already high energy efficiency standard; these new standards will make it easier for consumers to understand how their homes are ready to take on the challenges of a more extreme climate. The 7-star energy efficiency rating of a new home reduces its carbon footprint and significantly cuts down its running costs.


We have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that all homes we construct will meet these new standards and the various standards across all states that will be changing in 2024. These changes come into effect in South Australia on 1 October 2024. If you have any questions about what this means for your new home, please reach out to the team, who will be more than happy to discuss them with you.

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