Unpacking Section J

At WSP, our in-depth understanding of the industry frameworks our clients operate around, is something we pride ourselves on.

The recent release of the National Construction Code (NCC) 2019, introduced significant changes to Section J Energy Efficiency. These changes aim to improve energy efficiency across the built environment in Australia.


To help professionals in our industry navigate these changes, Engineering Education Australia has engaged two of our sustainability experts Katie Fallowfield, Director – Sustainability and Ben Gibbs, Associate – Sustainability, to facilitate a webinar around the updates.


Katie says “In the three years since its last revision, the energy efficiency requirements have increased dramatically.


“The changes aim to improve building energy efficiency by around 40%, with a goal of bringing the Australian building stock in line with global comparisons as well as supporting national targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions.”


WSP has worked closely with the ABCB in the development of the NCC changes, including conducting four case studies for the Board to assess the impact to building design and to the industry.


“Our in-depth understanding on this topic is extensive,” says Katie.


Ben and Katie will be running two sessions, with each session focussing on a different case study.


The webinar will also include an analysis of the changes required to the building fabric and systems. The technical and cost impacts of these changes and the likely challenges design and construction teams will face in meeting the new requirements.


In an article for The Fifth Estate, Katie observed that Section J was a phrase that struck fear into the hearts of many in the construction industry.


Among the reasons for this fear, Section J can be a bit difficult to understand. While for some clients, the guidelines stopped them from building what they wanted.


Katie says, “I think since that article, the industry adapted to the requirements of section J. But the new changes have renewed and possibly accentuated the fear.


“The requirements are a big step up in efficiency and will change the way many of our buildings will look.”


Based in Sydney, Katie has been with WSP for 12 and a half years. She has a distinct passion for passive design and achieving the best environmental outcome for projects through the simplest and most cost-effective measures.


Katie is also a Green Star Accredited Professional, NatHERS Accredited Assessor and a LEED Accredited Professional.



  • Monday 27 July - National Construction Code 2019 Section J: School Design, Case Study. For more info click here.
  • Thursday 30 July - National Construction Code 2019 Section J: Aged Care Facility Design, Case Study. For more info click here.


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