NatHERS News - April 2020

Friday, April 3, 2020

The NatHERS Administrator extends its best wishes to all our stakeholders in this difficult time. We understand that COVID-19 is having a major impact on many people’s lives. 

The NatHERS Administrator is aiming to deliver its program as best it can and maintain a level of operation, keeping you informed of changes that will soon come into effect. Important changes over the coming weeks are:

  • the new NatHERS Certificate, will be in circulation from 1 April 2020
  • the National Construction Code (NCC) 2019 will come into effect on 1 May 2020
  • software tools will incorporate the latest version of the NatHERS Chenath Engine 3.21 (all accredited software tools must have this capability from 1 May 2020)

New NatHERS Certificate

As indicated in our December newsletter the NatHERS Certificate incorporates verification measures to build trust in the Scheme and reduce non-compliance. Improvements include:

  • easy to read format
  • unique identifiable watermark for each certificate
  • check list for certifiers
  • glossary of technical terms
  • addition of key information such as National Construction Code (NCC) requirements
  • smaller file size for ease of use and storage
  • relocated "Additional notes" from the back to page two so important assessor notes are not overlooked

The new NatHERS certificate has been developed with significant consultation with industry users.

Software tools will begin to generate the new NatHERS certificate from 1 April 2020. The new certificate represents an improvement on the current ‘universal certificate’, and will soon completely replace it, however there will be a short period where both certificates will be in circulation. Either certificate can be used to demonstrate compliance to NCC 2016 or NCC 2019.

NCC 2019 mandatory provisions coming into effect 1 May 2020  

On the 1st of May 2020, mandatory provisions in the 2019 National Construction Code (NCC) will come into effect.  

This means that new heating and cooling load limits for the NatHERS compliance pathway will be introduced for Volumes One and Two of the 2019 NCC. Check the NatHERS heating and cooling load limits (ABCB Standard 2019.1) to see what heating and cooling load regulations apply in each jurisdiction, noting some state and territory variations apply.

NatHERS accredited software tools to be based on the latest version of the Chenath Engine  

Software tools are being accredited to use the latest Chenath Engine (version 3.21). There will be some new features in the accredited software tools that have transitioned to the Chenath version 3.21. These are set out in the NatHERS Technical Note (Version June 2019) and are summarised below.

Waffle Pod Values: The material values for waffle pods have been amended. There may be some need to adjust designs that may have rated at 6 stars with the ‘old’ waffle pod values.

Modelling of Common Underground Basement Carpark under Class 2 dwellings: Individual apartment ratings that are located directly above an underground basement carpark should be modelled with the basement carpark zone (refer to Technical Notes, release June 2019).

Modelling of Unconditioned Common Corridor for Class 2: Individual apartments that border a shared, unconditioned, common corridor with glazing or partial glazing should be modelled using the new corridor zone (refer to Technical Notes, release June 2019).

New Limestone material values: If your dwelling has limestone cladding or flooring, you will now be able to select Limestone in the material library.

New NatHERS Certificate (formally known as the Universal Certificate): All NatHERS software accredited using Chenath version 3.21 will start producing the new look NatHERS Certificate. During the transition period to Chenath version 3.21, if assessors are completing assessments using Chenath version 3.13, the new certificate may also be generated.

Improved modelling of Double Height Voids for Class 1: Refer to your software for the improved modelling of double height voids.

Improved modelling of Slab Edge Insulation: Refer to your software for the improved modelling of slab edge insulation.

Useful information

Don’t forget the NatHERS Administrator has some useful resources for assessors, approvers and certifiers. 

The NatHERS Assessor Handbook guides assessors through the NatHERS assessment process, describing how assessments should be conducted, including mandatory and recommended steps.

The NatHERS Technical Note (version June 2019) outlines the requirements that must be followed when conducting a NatHERS assessment. This enables NatHERS assessments to be completed in a consistent way for regulatory compliance and other purposes.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

We understand that this is a difficult and uncertain time for all Australians and businesses are facing major challenges in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. You may already be aware of the information and advice available at www.australia.gov.au. This site will link you to the latest COVID-19 news, updates and advice from government agencies, including how to use the new WhatsApp and Coronavirus App.
 

Help for Businesses

Information for businesses on the assistance available to help them can be found at www.business.gov.au. The Government’s Business Hotline - 13 28 46 - has also been expanded to provide specialist advisers and extended hours to support small and medium businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.