NCC 2019 - Section J6 Update

Earlier this year Section J6 of the National Construction Code (NCC) was significantly re-written.

We summarized the key points to help you understand these changes.

Key Dates

The new provisions apply from 1 May 2020.

New provisions can be followed from now onwards.

What is Section J?

Section J is the section of the NCC that relates to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

All new buildings in Australia need to demonstrate their compliance with the NCC.

What is Part J6?

Part or Section J6 of the NCC outlines the minimum performance requirements relating to Artificial Lighting and Power.

These minimum requirements include:

  • Levels of artificial interior lighting
  • Switching and other control devices
  • Control of decorative and display lighting
  • Levels and control of exterior artificial lighting
  • Control of boiling and chilled water storage
  • Efficiency requirements for lifts

What are the major changes?

To fully understand the changes, we advise reviewing the full documentation.

The changes we find most notable are:

  • Reduction to Maximum Illumination Power Density (w/m2); The allowances for watts (power) per square meter are lower. For example,

Section J6 IPD change summary table

  • Permittable adjustment factors expanded; For example, the use of 3500K (warm colour temperature) and below allows you to adjust your total w/m2 for a room by a factor of 0.8. This can help reduce your overall w/m2 and potentially reach compliance.
  • No penalty for Track Lighting; Track lighting was previously penalised due to its moveable nature. This no longer occurs.
  • Use of switching, timers and motion sensors; Artificial lighting must be operated by a switch, control device or a combination of the two.

Does Part J6 apply to all types of Artificial Lighting?

No, there are some types of lighting that are exempt from calculation:

  • Emergency lighting provided in accordance with Part E4.
  • Signage and display lighting within cabinets and display cases that are fixed in place.
  • Lighting for accommodation within the residential part of a detention centre.
  • A heater where the heater also emits light, such as in bathrooms.
  • Lighting of a specialist process nature such as in a surgical operating theatre, fume cupboard or clean workstation.
  • Lighting of performances such as theatrical or sporting.
  • Artificial Lighting for the permanent display and preservation of works of art or objects in a museum or gallery other than for retail sale, purchase or auction.
  • NEW EXCLUSION: Lighting installed solely to provide photosynthetically active radiation for indoor plant growth on green walls and the like.

Will this impact my lighting layouts?

Possibly. The goal of Section J is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, not prioritise occupant comfort.

Therefore, we recommend consulting with a reputable lighting professional, like the team here at Lumen8, who can collaborate with you to achieve the best possible outcome.

Please note: The above information is to assist in understanding the recent changes to the National Construction Code (NCC) Section J6.

This article should not be used in lieu of the official National Construction Code (NCC) 2019 documentation.