BCA Section J FAQ

Section J of the volume one of the Building Code of Australia specifies the energy efficiency requirements of non residential buildings and multi unit residential buildings. Like any other parts of the BCA, compliance with section J is required for any form of construction in Australia. It also has several parts which address the requirements of building fabric elements, electrical and HVAC systems, sealing and energy monitoring provisions.
For each proposed construction development, the list of provisions and requirements to comply with energy efficiency requirements of the section J of the BCA are being documented in form of a report read more here. The report is is one of the documents that councils and certifiers require to be prepared as part of the development design documentation and studies.
In most cases councils and certifiers require a section J assessment to be completed at the construction certificate (CC) stage. This is generally requested in the development application (DA) notice of determination letter issued by the councils. It is however beneficial for the design team to complete this assessment at the DA stage because of the fact that some of the requirements, particularly in the glazing part (J2), can potentially change design of the building.
Although assessment of a development to comply with requirements does not require any certification or special training (like NatHERS), the assessment needs to be completed by an experienced consultant with in-depth understanding of energy efficiency measures of mechanical and electrical systems of a building as well as broad knowledge of building fabric thermal properties and specifications. As a result, BCA section J assessment is generally being conducted only by experienced and educated energy efficiency consultants. Our Assessors at Eco Certificates have some great insight and always give back great solutions.
There is no validity period for the BCA Section J report. In certain circumstances when we complete a report and deliver this to the client, they come back to us and ask for an update when a newer version of the BCA is in effect. In these cases sometimes the certifier requires the report to be completed under the requirements of the new BCA so the old report will become invalid and hence needs to be replaced.
You will need to send us enough information so that we can determine the extent of your development and be able to quote for preparation of the report. When your design plans are fully developed we then start our assessment on those plans and the report will be ready shortly after. We issue a draft report initially for your review and upon your confirmation and processing of any invoices you will receive the final report ready for immediate council submission.
Generally a full set of scaled architectural plans in PDF format is what we require as the minimum to be able to complete our reports. If design and documentation of electrical or HVAC systems of a building are also completed, provision of those plans enable our assessors to consider those specifications while compiling a BCA Section J report of a construction project.
Like all other parts of the BCA, requirements of the section J which are being specified in the report need to be complied with and being followed during construction. It is the responsibility of the certifying authority of the project to inspect the development site and ascertain that all the requirements are being successfully followed. In several situations, Eco Certificates has being asked to provide these inspections and provision of compliance certificates however this is not within the area of expertise and responsibility of our assessors and this tasks should be undertaken by associated certifying authority of the project.
Deemed to satisfy (DTS) provisions of the Section J is one of the methods of compliance with this part of the BCA. Like all other parts of the BCA, an alternative approach can be followed which demonstrates compliance with the BCA without necessarily following the requirements of the DTS. In case of the section J, this alternative approach is clearly formulated under specific guidelines at the beginning of the section J under part JV3 of the document. Therefore this alternative method of assessment is called a JV3 assessment and requires the building to be modelled using certain energy modeling computer programs.