Basix was introduced by the NSW Government to ensure homes are built to be more energy and water efficient. It is an online program that assesses the design of a house or unit, and compares it to the energy and water reduction targets, and a BASIX Certificate cannot be produced until these targets are met.
Basix uses information such as site location, house size, type of building materials and fitting for hot water, cooling and heating. It is important to realize that the commitments made during the Basix process are shown on the final certificate and must be marked on the plans, and adhere to during the building process. Any changes made to the house design means another Basix assessment must be completed and a new Basix Certificate submitted to Council.
The Building Applicant (e.g. architect, building designer, builder, owner builder) is responsible for completing the assessment, ensuring Basix commitments are clearly marked on plans, and submitting a Basix Certificate with the development application.
- 1st July 2005 – Basix Certificate must accompany any development application for:
- new single dwellings and dual occupancy
- new boarding houses, guest houses, hostels, lodging houses and backpacker accommodation under 300m2, through NSW.
- 1st October 2005 – a Basix Certificate must accompany any development application for:
- all new residential dwellings, including single dwellings, villas, townhouses, and low-rise, mid-rise and high-rise developments in NSW.
- 1st October 2006 – a Basix Certificate must accompany any development application for:
- all residential alterations and additions through NSW (however refer to the Information on Basix for alterations and additions for more information).
Basix for Alterations and Additions
The Basix for Alterations and Additions scheme will become mandatory across NSW on 1st October 2006. The scheme will operate online and set specific requirements for building work, based on the type of project. These requirements have some flexibility and only apply to the section of the home that is being renovated. This ensures that practical measures (e.g. insulation, glazing, shading, hot water systems, and any relevant water and lighting fixtures) are included when renovation work is planned. The aim is to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and potable water consumption, as well as improve the thermal comfort of existing homes.
Exemptions from the Alterations and Additions scheme
- From the 1st October 2006 projects that are valued at less than $100,000 will be exempt.
From the 1st July 2007, projects valued less than 50,000 will be exempt. However, when an applicant lodges a Basix Certificate for a project of a lesser value, Basix will prevail over Council provisions.
- Minor developments, including garages storerooms, carports, gazebos, verandahs and awnings will also be exempt from Basix.
Basix for Swimming Pools and Outdoor Spas
The average size domestic pool in NSW is approximate 45,000 litres, and due to evaporation; splash and backwash factors, will require a similar volume of water every 2 years to keep it full.
Swimming pools and spas also use energy through the pool pumps and heating (where installed). Most pool pumps will use over 1,500kWh per year. A heated pool will use more energy and also have greater evaporation rates, which will result in greater water use. For these reasons, the Department of Planning has decided that a Basix Certificate will be required for swimming pools and spas from the 1st October 2006 (more details regarding pools and spas has yet to be determined).
For a pool to meet the requirements, items such as pool filter pump timers, pool covers, rainwater tanks for top ups of pool water may need to be included to meet the Basix requirements.
To create a Basix Certificate go to: http://www.basix.nsw.gov.au/
From the 1st May, 2006, owners of homes and shared accommodation buildings need to install smoke alarms, under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Smoke Alarms) Regulation 2006.
Property owners have been given 6 months from May 1 to comply with the alarm installation requirements, before the regulations offence provisions commence.
Private dwellings smoke alarms can be powered by either the mains electricity supply or battery. The choice rests with the building owner. Smoke alarms powered by the mains electricity supply must however have a standby power source (battery) to energise the alarm if the mains electricity supply fails.
Smoke alarms in homes generally need to be installed on or near the ceiling in hallways associated with bedrooms of if there is no hallway, between the sleeping areas and the living areas. An alarm must also be installed on any storey which does not contain bedrooms
Further detailed advice about type, location and number of smoke alarms that need to be fitted can be obtained by going to http://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/ or Department of Planning be calling the Smoke Alarms Helpline 1800 858 812.