A Section J – Deemed to Satisfy (DTS) report provides a list of prescriptive insulation values and thermal performance requirements in order for a commercial building to comply to construction code. Section J of the National Construction Code (NCC Vol. 1), or as it was formerly known, the Building Code of Australia (BCA), applies to all commercial buildings (i.e. except for Class 1 – residential dwelling, and Class 10 – unoccupied spaces like a garage or shed).
The Section J – DTS report is the minimum required standard to ensure energy efficiency compliance of your building to the code. It is simple, low cost, and can usually be delivered in 1 to 3 business days.
At Energy Compliance, we offer all avenues to demonstrate your building compliance under almost any conditions.
What is covered in a section J- DtS report
Australia’s building codes seek to minimize the energy demand of commercial built spaces to minimize their carbon footprint. The NCC or BCA Section J energy efficiency requirements take into account the following :
Roof and Ceiling construction
Walls and glazing
|Section J2||—left blank —-|
|Section J3||Building sealing|
|Section J4||—left blank —-|
|Section J5||Air-conditioning and ventilation systems|
|Section J6||Artificial lighting and power|
|Section J7||Heated water supply and swimming pool|
|Section J8||Facilities for energy monitoring|
Click on the highlighted numbers in the following figure to see the energy efficiency requirements for a typical commercial building.
Figure 1: Deemed to Satisfy requirements for typical commercial building (class xx) in Melbourne (climate zone 6) – Click on each component to see the minimum requirements.
The core of a Section J – DTS report, is a short table that outlines the minimum applicable thermal performance parameters – mainly to the building fabric and building services. This information is the minimum required for compliance, but architects and builders can benefit from additional information being supplied to make their jobs faster and easier.
Below is a sample extract of the DTS requirements for an Office – Class 5 building in Climate zones 5 and 6, for example.
|Building class||5 (Office building)|
|Roof solar absorptance|
|Wall with major glazing|
|Wall with minor glazing|
|Wall solar absorptance|
|Windows overall U value|
|External Shading||No limit|
|Onsite renewables||There is no mandate on this, however, NCC allows offsetting carbon emission from building with onsite renewable energy|
|Mechanical ventilation and exhaust|
|Minimum chiller efficiency|
Notes: Major glazing: When a glazed surface area of a wall is more than 20% of the wall area, it is called major glazing.
SHGC (Solar heat gain coefficient): the ratio of solar heat gained through the building’s window to the total irradiation on the window
WHY AUSTRALIA IS RAISING THE BAR ON ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Energy efficiency measures reduce the carbon footprint of built spaces, reduce heating, cooling, lighting and ventilation energy costs for owners, and improve the building occupant comfort level.
The main target of energy efficiency requirements is to minimize the carbon footprint of buildings.
The use of fossil fuels to maintain living comfort in built spaces risk contributing to the climate and environmental challenges around the globe. Australia is not immune to these problems, so the National Construction Code is updated every 3 years to future proof Australia’s buildings by promoting more cost-effective, energy efficiency requirements to help maintain the environment’s quality.
Energy-efficient buildings cost less to operate and are less exposed to the risk of increased energy costs. The money saved can be used to build stronger, more resilient businesses.
Energy-efficient buildings are more comfortable to occupy day and night; require less use of often disruptive active heating and cooling systems, and benefit from natural daylight.
A growing Australia places evermore pressure on the reliability of the electricity grid – more so than any other form of energy. Energy efficient buildings reduce reliance on grid electricity and reduce business risk.
DO YOU NEED A SECTION J REPORT?
If you are planning to build a new building or a major extension, you need to have a report (such as Section J – Deemed to Satisfy Report) demonstrating compliance to National construction code.
A Section J compliance report is part of the documentation required when applying for a building permit. The report is used by the building surveyor to satisfy your local council requirements. The NCC is applicable nationwide, and all councils in all states require this report.
Major extensions (depending on the extent of the area) might trigger a requirement to upgrade the whole building to the applicable sections of the NCC.
WHO CAN DELIVER A SECTION J REPORT?
Any person with any qualification that can satisfy the building surveyor can produce a Section J report. However, highly qualified mechanical engineers with an in-depth understanding of building services and building materials, with experience in the NCC, are the people who can best identify energy cost saving opportunities and reduce construction costs while satisfying energy compliance requirements.
PROCESS AND DURATION TO GET YOUR SECTION J DTS REPORT
If we get all the required information from client, we might be able to finish DTS report in a single business day. The following shows the typical process.
Geoflow provides quotation
Client signs the professional service agreement
|We discuss client’s energy targets and limitations|
Geoflow provide the draft report
Client reviews report, and we discuss any alterations to the report
The final report is issued
Payment is made.
|2 hours||1 hour||1-3 business days||1 business days||1 business day|
HOW EASY IS IT TO UNDERSTAND A SECTION J-DTS REPORT?
At Energy Compliance, we want to be better than our competitors and that is why we put time to illustrate the added insulation to all sections of the building. This way, the building construction and planning team can make sure that there is no miscommunication between parties by use of energy efficiency jargons.
We specify only the required minimum amount of insulation by the National Construction Code. Our first target is to assist the building owner to minimize installation costs, but the building owner can install as much as they want. Sometimes, this means dividing walls into many sections to specify only the required amount of insulation. This is the level of service you can expect from the team at Energy Compliance.
Wall, roof and floor cross-sections are illustrated to make sure that what is specified in the report is installed by the builder. (make the below pics gallery)
ALTERNATIVES TO DTS
What are limitations of DTS Energy Compliance?
Section J is a low cost and fast compliance avenue to National Construction Code. At Energy Compliance we always recommend DTS solution first as it is low cost. However, as it is prescriptive, it is also not flexible, which may pose a challenge for meeting compliance. In some cases, achieving compliance to DTS might significantly increase construction costs, or it may be highly undesirable to adopt due to aesthetic limitations. But don’t worry, there are other avenues to help reach a favourable solution, such as utilising the performance-based “Verification using reference building (JV3) modelling” method.
Though Section J DTS reports provide a fast, simple and straight forward NCC energy efficiency compliance method, they have some potentially significant drawbacks:
- Deemed to Satisfy requirements are very strict and must be followed with no exception. For instance, if for aesthetics reasons, the client wants to have an exposed concrete wall both inside and outside the building, the Deemed to Satisfy requirements would still require insulating every inch of that wall.
- Fully glazed walls typically don’t pass the NCC DTS glazing requirements, or they’ll only pass with triple glazed windows which are cost-prohibitive.
- The DTS methodology only looks at specific building fabric components as individual items, and doesn’t consider the holistic performance of the entire building.
What are alternatives to DTS?
Luckily, the NCC offers an alternative Energy Compliance method which considers holistic building performance! This, importantly allows us to consider the interaction between all the different parts of the building fabric, and to improve some parts by assigning alternative, lower cost DTS thermal performance requirements to the rest of the building.
This alternative type of Energy Compliance method is called a “performance solution” and is discussed in Section JV3 of the NCC. That is why this method is also called JV3 modelling. JV3 is a Verification Method, which allows demonstrating compliance with the mandatory Performance Requirement JP1 in NCC Volume 1. It can be used instead of the DTS Provisions of Parts J1 to J7.
The JV3 method essentially provides flexibility in how to achieve Energy Compliance and reduce construction costs, whereas the prescriptive DTS Provisions may not work for certain building designs and may be a higher cost approach.
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