Insights

Prefabricated construction methods on the agenda for the Australian Building Codes Board

Image of prefabricated housing units being moved into place

Overview

On 21 June 2024, the Building Ministers Meeting took place to discuss the priorities of the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) for 2024-2025. The ABCB is responsible for developing and maintaining nationally consistent technical standards for the design, construction, and performance of buildings in Australia.

Addressing regulatory issues associated with prefabricated construction methods is firmly on the agenda for the ABCB, which is welcome news for the construction industry.

Areas of focus for the ABCB

The ABCB supports the construction sector by facilitating housing supply / affordability, promoting innovation / productivity, and enhancing safety and performance.

Amongst other things the Building Ministers Meeting focussed on the ABCB's immediate priorities. Unsurprisingly, delivering a contemporary and relevant National Construction Code (NCC) which is evidence based and meets stakeholder needs, remains a key priority.

Another important, and more recently identified priority for the ABCB is to promote the uptake of prefabricated construction methods, the use of which is becoming much more prevalent in the building industry. Facilitating the uptake of such methods has many advantages, as they can reduce costs, waste, and environmental impacts, as well as improve quality and efficiency.

The ABCB will work with stakeholders to facilitate the uptake of prefabricated construction methods, such as modular, panelised, and 3D-printed buildings, by addressing regulatory impediments, developing appropriate standards and promoting awareness / education.

Conclusions

The use of prefabricated construction methods is on the rise in Australia and the potential benefits to stakeholders are immense. However, the regulatory environment is complex, and inconsistent, and presents a barrier to the adoption of these new methods and technologies. With construction costs on the rise and housing availability a persistent challenge, this makes removing barriers to adoption of innovative and environmentally friendly construction methods more important than ever.

We look forward to seeing the ABCB promote regulatory reform to drive greater uptake of prefabricated construction methods in the immediate future.

All information on this site is of a general nature only and is not intended to be relied upon as, nor to be a substitute for, specific legal professional advice. No responsibility for the loss occasioned to any person acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material published can be accepted.

Key contacts

Anita Batorowicz

Anita Batorowicz

Lawyer