On the 8th of December 2015 the Queensland Department of Housing and Public Works released a Building and Plumbing Newsflash #548 titled “Energy assessments for residential dwellings and use of software”. Its purpose was to advise building certifiers, other building practitioners and home owners about energy assessments in Queensland.
This is predominantly because the current Thermal Calculation (Star Ratings) system for demonstrating compliance with Queensland Development Code MP4.1 (Sustainable Buildings) Performance Requirements P1 or P2, has changed since the current version of MP4.1 commenced (1 February 2013).
- Approved thermal modelling software has been updated
- A new National Qualification (Certificate IV NatHERS Assessment) is now available that is suitable training for residential energy assessors
- Assessment procedures must now follow the relevant NatHERS Technical Note
- The updated software will produce a Universal Certificate to aid transparency of the Energy Assessment
- The Universal Certificate clarifies the building specifications for a complying Building Solution.
- It also shows whether the assessor is accredited or non-accredited, so that the risk of not being accredited is more visible.
- Energy assessors should provide stamped plans as part of their reporting
This means that Building Certifiers who continue to accept Energy Efficiency Reports for Residential Buildings that do not meet these requirements are accepting an increased risk for themselves and their businesses. In addition, Energy Assessors that are not currently following these requirements are not complying with the Queensland government expectations and leave themselves open to litigation.
Building practitioners and their clients should insist that energy assessments follow these requirements for Queensland projects.
The Australian Building Sustainability Association (ABSA) fully supports the Newsflash. Building Certifiers are required to verify the competency of assessors producing energy efficiency certificates.
Once all approved versions of the software have full functionality to produce Universal Certificates, these should be included with stamped plans for all Queensland residential Star Rating reports.