There are several assessment methods available to determine compliance with the energy efficiency requirements prescribed in the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and each will require specific information be submitted to the council or private certifier undertaking the building rules assessment.

Assessment methods

Elemental assessment

The most common compliance method is to meet a set of prescriptive construction requirements (known as the elemental provisions).

The energy assessment and any relevant documentation must be submitted to the council or building certifier (accredited professional).

Energy rating assessment

An energy rating of at least 6-stars (unless the building is eligible for a concession) must be gained using an accredited software program. The accredited software programs are: FirstRate5, AccuRate and BERSPro.

This method of assessment also requires compliance with other prescribed energy efficiency requirements not addressed by the software program.

The energy rating certificate, summary report, assessment of other energy provisions and any relevant documentation must also be submitted to the council or private certifier.

Performance solution

A performance solution must comply with the performance requirements of the BCA and can be formulated by various methods. A performance solution will generally need to be prepared by a person with appropriate qualifications and expertise in energy efficient building design.

The proposed performance solutions, stating the performance requirements that are being met, the assessment method used and any relevant documentation must be submitted to the council or private certifier.

Guidance on performance solutions and the methods for complying with the six star energy efficiency requirements are available in Advisory Notice 05/03 Alternative solutions and Advisory Notice 04/12 Alternative methods for complying with the energy efficiency requirements.

For further advice on the various assessment methods available, contact the Australian Building Codes Board.

Energy efficiency certification

Energy efficiency compliance can be certified by a person with the necessary skills, software program, expertise and knowledge including:

  • architects
  • building designers
  • builders
  • building surveyors
  • energy consultants.

An individual certifying energy efficiency compliance will need to satisfy the council or private certifier that they have not been involved in the design of the house and have appropriate qualifications to act as an independent technical expert under Regulation 85 of the Development Regulations 2008. Guidance is available in Advisory Notice 11/05 Independent technical experts.

Accreditation is not required in order to certify energy efficiency compliance, however accreditation with an Assessor Accrediting Organisation (AAO) under the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) may assist in demonstrating that a person meets the requirements for recognition as an independent technical expert.

An AAO is a professional organisation responsible for the accreditation of assessors and ensuring that accredited assessors deliver reliable and consistent energy ratings, with a commitment to continuing professional development and appropriate insurance. Accredited assessors are also subject to auditing. Currently there are two recognised AAOs:

  • Australian Building Sustainability Association (ABSA)
  • Building Designers Association of Victoria (BDAV).

Related information

Other websites


Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016

For an alternative version of a document contact the PlanSA Service Desk.

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      Page last updated 22 March 2021

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