The Housing Industry Association (HIA) has welcomed the decision by the Building Minister’s Forum to deliver the National Construction Code, which includes the Building Code of Australia (BCA), free online from 2015.

HIA’s Kristin Brookfield, Senior Executive Director, Building Development & Environment said that the decision is a significant outcome for cutting red tape in housing, adding that access to the building code is a necessity for everyone in the building industry, and should therefore have been freely available online in the same manner as other state and territory regulation.

According to Ms Brookfield, to require builders and plumbers to pay for access to the most important compliance document for the industry is contrary to achieving the delivery of affordable housing at the highest possible standard.

While the establishment of a national building code in 1996 was one of the most successful examples of harmonisation across states and territories, the failure to deliver the code for free at that time was a significant oversight.

Ms Brookfield explains that after almost 20 years of having to pay every year for a new version of the building code, this agreement is a win for home builders and housing affordability. She added the federal government should be congratulated for co-ordinating this outcome.

Delivering the BCA free online was a key issue addressed in HIA’s Housing Australians federal election priorities and has been the subject of ongoing representations by the organisation for over a decade.

Today’s announcement is a first step in the overall goal of cutting red tape on home builders. The Australian Building Codes Board now must focus on the plethora of related Australian Standards that will still be required to be purchased. HIA is hopeful that this change will create a greater impetus to now complete the reforms and improve the builder’s access to these other standards.