Performing BCA section J assessments for almost 10 years now, I have realised that quoting, engaging and energy efficiency assessment process can be optimised and expedited if our clients, particularly architects and building developers in Australia, have a good understanding about the overall assessment process.
So, in this short narrative, I am trying to shed some light on the general ways in which we can complete our BCA section J assessments with Eco certificates. I hope this will best-benefit our clients to have a quicker and seamless experience while dealing with the process.
Before going down to further discussion, please note that, while I am writing this, (NCC) 2019 is already in effect. Section J of the (BCA) volume one, has undergone some radical changes compared to the 2016 edition of the BCA. The revolutionary process changes were much needed and owing to which (ABCB) have allowed a one-year transitional period during which provisions of both BCA 2016 and 2019 needs to be recognised and complied with the 2019 changes. It is quite difficult to comprise the BCA 2019 changes in a single article, but an important thing to note here is, 2016 version will be applicable till 1st of May 2020 only.
So let’s now focus on getting through the section J assessment. When you approach us for BCA section J assessment, it is required for you to have a set of architectural plans. If only the designs for electrical and mechanical systems(HVAC and Ventilation) are available, you need to give them to us before we give the price quote for the project. If you do not have that in your hand, it is okay, we can still go ahead with the assessment but if you have, we would be able to recognise and address more parts of section J. These designs if provided, at the later stages may affect our service fees. Do not worry, we provide our client’s cost-effective quotes for the projects.
To start with the next step, we need a complete set of architectural plans which is not limited to the floor plans(Basement included), elevations, sections and construction detail plans. It is necessary for you to mention all the spaces on the floor plans in details as, it may impact the lighting requirement and the building envelope. A major thing to note here is, your building envelope if the main factor for assessment layout insulation requirements. This further impacts the glazing component requirement which has to be inlined with the BCA section J requirements. For everyone, who have worked with us or other energy efficiency consultants before, would know that this is potentially the most challenging area of the BCA section J to comply with. It needs to be assessed more accurately by an experienced assessor.
The floor plans need to be designed so precisely that, all the windows dimensions(including internal windows if any) should be reflected in it. Even it can be covered in the elevations or in a window schedule section, where it would be easy to correlate it with the floorplans. Both, internal and external windows may or may not be part of the building envelope and therefore some of them might not even trigger any of the performance requirements. if it is not possible to reflect the dimensions numerically on the plans, we can try our best to measure them from the PDF documents but, it will be less accurate as compared to the numbers given by the designer using CAD software. It may happen that, some windows part may not be visible on the plans or the elevations and thus, numeric values are welcomed.
Now for the final stages, i.e for the HVAC and mechanical systems, the main information that would be required is the system types, power capacity, flow rates and ducting layouts. These are generally the standard design documents created by most reputable system designers. So you practically only need to forward us what has been provided to you by your mechanical design engineers.
And here, I try to give you a very bird eye view of the assessment process and the steps required for compiling a BCA Section J (DTS) Compliance Report.
- Building classification and climate zone;
- Recognition of building envelope;
- Insulation requirements of construction envelope elements (Floors, Walls, Ceilings and Roofs);
- Thermal performance requirements of envelope glazing elements (U and SHGC values of the whole glazing system);
- Calculation of maximum allowable lighting power and other lighting requirements of the BCA Section J;
- Recognition and addressing the provisions which must be addressed for HVAC and ventilation systems (If we have the design plans);
- Addressing other generic parts like energy monitoring, hot water system etc and finally compiling a BCA Section J DTS compliance Report.
I hope, all this information will help you to prepare your submission documents in a better and easier way and also enable us to facilitate you with quick service with less back and forth communication. We mainly focus on improving our service process and our internal structure. We ensure that we keep on offering you the best service possible in our highly specialised area of the construction industry.