Is DTS a better solution?
As Ari Akritidis pointed out, the construction industry is unique in the way that it offers two pathways to compliance, that are equally valid - deem to satisfy (DTS) and performance solution. However, the industry perception is that DTS is the better solution; which the panel argued isn’t necessarily the case. In the words of Blair Stratton, a DTS only approach could drive away the innovation and stagnate the industry. Performance solution pathway opens new venues for industry stakeholders to deal with current issues around making buildings more energy efficient, addressing the scarcity of real-estate space, as well as making buildings safer.
“As thermal envelope takes centre stage there will be more awareness in the industry”
With the introduction of more stringent energy efficiencies in the National Construction Code (NCC) 2019, some of the traditional systems are becoming challenging to use, for example in the wall applications, added Gary Wertheimer. Achieving thermal efficiencies, without relying on innovative products that are required to be covered by a performance solution will become an impossible challenge in the upcoming year.
Combustible or fit for purpose
The issue of fire safety in buildings is of the utmost importance, as it has far reaching consequences in the communities that inhabit those spaces, highlighted Blair Stratton. All design solutions need to keep the end users in mind, especially the fire brigades as they need to be able to understand and use the design in the worst possible circumstances. Ari Akritidis added that there should be no black and white rules about products being combustible or non-combustible, but rather there should be an approach that considers the levels of combustibility. Ultimately, products should be assessed on a basis of being fit for purpose and meeting the intent of the design.
What about the insurance?
The confusion around compliance pathways, combustibility and the impending problems that will arise with the enforcement of NCC 2019 energy requirements, is being further compounded by the PI insurance crisis currently gripping the construction sector in Australia. Paul Smyth from Aon Australia observed that at the moment there are too many unknown factors in the sector and that it will take some time for the insurance market to rebalance itself. The change will come from the confidence that comes from the construction industry and from the collaboration with the government, added Smyth.