15 January 2014 – They must have hit a nerve with the BASIX (Building Sustainability Index) Target Review  with the New South Wales Government announcing an extension until February 14 for submissions on the proposed changes, due to the high level of interest from stakeholders.

The extension was in response to “considerable community and stakeholder interest”, a department spokeswoman said.

The interest is also evident in the strong comments on our previous article.

  • See Getting the BASIX right in NSW will bring economic rewards
  • See comments on the article from Dick Clarke who has serious concerns about compliance; Dr Chris Reardon, who said the ASIX benchmarks is indeed well overdue, but that “BASIX remains a world best practice regulatory tool”; David Eckstein, who wants other jurisdictions to match the standard; and Scott Hanson, who says that because “anyone can perform an assessment” (except on multi unit developments) “most houses in NSW are being designed and built without expertise in the areas of orientation, shading, glazing, insulation and materials” and are not properly checked.

Since 2004 BASIX ratings for water and energy efficiency have been a requirement for all new homes constructed in New South Wales, and the proposal is to increase the original targets by around 10 per cent, depending on region.

The state government is also proposing caps on heating and cooling, and changes to the zone boundaries and zone requirements in order to more closely reflect what is achievable and appropriate in the different regions and climates.

The Department of Planning and Infrastructure released the proposed changes to BASIX targets in December.

The proposal documents, reports and supporting research are available here.  You can make a formal submission here or participate in an on-line survey here.

2 replies on “More time for BASIX submissions”

  1. The BASIX review is indeed long overdue and if the proposals are adopted will see NSW raise its housing standards almost to levels as high as the rest of Australia. However BASIX itself has fundamental failings and as noted by Scott Hanson, one has to ask why persist with it? The entire concept, as lovely as it presents electronically, is flawed by permitting the unskilled to participate. This however is another discussion but its significance should not be overlooked.
    For too long the householders of NSW have been asked to tolerate substandard housing thermal performance by the BASIX system. Housing averages across this State still populate the 3 to 4 star band when other states have had 6 stars for some time. Even considering that NSW has heating and cooling load limits rather than stars, one could legitimately ask: “are housing designs today generally poorer in NSW than elsewhere in Australia” – indeed I believe so and this is largely determined by low BASIX requirements.
    BASIX, once upgraded to be more BCA compliant, could be beneficial for Apartment buildings, due to their sizeable loads and environmental impacts. Houses however could be dealt with much more cost effectively and consistently by simply adopting the BCA and, for the present time, adding a water tank and non-electric HWS. These measures still are the most significant, identifiable outcomes from BASIX.
    Alts and Adds. should be removed completely and replaced with the BCA. The BASIX glazing provisions are far too restrictive.
    BASIX was introduced at a time when there was no national environmental standard or code to rely on and as a Code had, at that time, significant potential. As noted by Dr Reardon this potential was suffocated by the lack of industry consultation. But today with National standards to fall back on – why persist with a system that is costly to operate and yields only ‘suspected’ outcomes.
    Why does the Government not undertake actual inspections of completed houses to see if the current system is actually working? Are BASIX commitments – on paper – actually being installed?

  2. The BASIX review is indeed long overdue and if the proposals are adopted will see NSW raise its housing standards almost to levels as high as the rest of Australia. However BASIX itself has fundamental failings and as noted by Scott Hanson, one has to ask why persist with it? The entire concept, as lovely as it presents electronically, is flawed by permitting the unskilled to participate. This however is another discussion but its significance should not be overlooked.
    For too long the householders of NSW have been asked to tolerate substandard housing thermal performance by the BASIX system. Housing averages across this State still populate the 3 to 4 star band when other states have had 6 stars for some time. Even considering that NSW has heating and cooling load limits rather than stars, one could legitimately ask: “are housing designs today generally poorer in NSW than elsewhere in Australia” – indeed I believe so and this is largely determined by low BASIX requirements.
    BASIX, once upgraded to be more BCA compliant, could be beneficial for Apartment buildings, due to their sizeable loads and environmental impacts. Houses however could be dealt with much more cost effectively and consistently by simply adopting the BCA and, for the present time, adding a water tank and non-electric HWS. These measures still are the most significant, identifiable outcomes from BASIX.
    Alts and Adds. should be removed completely and replaced with the BCA. The BASIX glazing provisions are far too restrictive.
    BASIX was introduced at a time when there was no national environmental standard or code to rely on and as a Code had, at that time, significant potential. As noted by Dr Reardon this potential was suffocated by the lack of industry consultation. But today with National standards to fall back on – why persist with a system that is costly to operate and yields only ‘suspected’ outcomes.
    Why does the Government not undertake actual inspections of completed houses to see if the current system is actually working? Are BASIX commitments – on paper – actually being installed?

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