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LCA Update: National Construction Code Decorative Lighting

06 Aug 2018

Under the proposed draft of the 2019 National Construction Code for commercial buildings, only very small allowances will be given for decorative lighting. These will be provided on a sliding scale, based on the area of a building, overlooking the obvious issue that industrial spaces typically have little to no requirement for decorative lighting compared with shopping centres, hotels and other commercial spaces that place a premium on aesthetics.

The reductions in overall allowances will impact on the decorative lighting market, increase the complexity of design work, and result in bland buildings and spaces. In this context, decorative lighting should be thought of as "architectural lighting", or any lighting including indirect lighting that is not general or task-based.

In further developments since early July Lighting Council Australia has:

  • Undertaken additional work to estimate the commercial impact of the proposal.

  • Developed an alternative proposal that would significantly reduce the impact of the current decorative lighting proposal on the market, with a view to creating a workable policy for 2022.

  • Made joint submissions to members of the Building Codes Committee; members of the Australian Building Codes Board; and written to the Australian Building Codes Office, CEO and Chairman.

  • Met with the offices of the relevant Ministers in South Australia, Tasmania, and New South Wales. Other state offices have been briefed, along with the shadow minister in Victoria.

  • Arranged for multiple LCA members to write to local parliamentarians, especially Ministers in key jurisdictions.

  • Put out more than half a dozen media releases, receiving coverage in News Corporation print, Sky News television, as well as industry publications including Electrical Connections, Australian Manufacturing, and Climate Control News.

  • Engaged with other key bodies relevant to the issue, including those represented within the ABCB's processes and others including NECA and Master Electricians.

  • Engaged with influential members of the Coalition Backbench to ensure that they are across the issue and aware of the likely impact on Australian industry.

Next Steps
Lighting Council Australia is working to ensure that members of the Building Codes Committee are aware of the impact of these changes. This includes not only the impact on industry (through job losses in manufacturing, supply, design and engineering), but also in terms of reductions of choice for building designers, and reductions in amenity as buildings tend towards more utilitarian and uninspiring lighting outcomes.

After the Building Codes Committee meeting, there is a Building Ministers' Forum meeting scheduled for early August, and an additional meeting of the Building Codes Committee before the National Construction Code is put to the Australian Building Codes Board for endorsement in November. Lighting Council Australia will continue its advocacy on this issue through those remaining decision-points.

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