By Guest Contributor – Rebecca Robins – MD Efficiency Assessments
One of the most critical and a key part of being a good Assessor is the relationship between entering data into the NatHERS Software and the regulatory documentation and procedures surrounding that data entry.
It is surprising how many new Assessors jump straight into their software assessment without determining the requirements within which they are working. Assessors should know the regulatory framework prior to commencing an assessment. Many questions asked in mentoring and technical support could be avoided by ensuring preliminary research and reading.
Firstly, you should carefully read all the information that you gather. Initially, this may seem quite overwhelming. It will get easier. The more you use it, the more you will remember and the more natural it will become. If you don’t understand or feel confused, you should ask for help. This could be from your trainer, your mentor, the department responsible for the document or a technical support service. Technical support is available from both public and private sources- feel free to contact me if you require additional information.
All Assessors must refer to, and operate within the requirements of the following documents, available on the NatHERS website :
- NatHERS Technical Note 1
- NatHERS Technical Note 2
- Addendums to Technical Note 1
In addition, all Assessors, including those in NSW, should refer to the National Construction Code(NCC). The NCC is available as a PDF and online version, for free, on the Australian Building Codes Board website following registration (www.abcb.gov.au). You will also find helpful calculators, education material and guides.
Each State and Territory jurisdiction will generally have requirements that must be considered. This information can usually be found by entering the jurisdiction name and the words ‘energy efficiency’ into a search engine such as Google or Bing eg ‘NSW energy efficiency’.
Some documents to look at include:
- NSW- BASIX Thermal Comfort Protocol
- VIC- Building Commission Practice Note 55
- QLD- Queensland Development Code part MP4.1
- SA- Several Advisory Notes including 04/12 & 05/12
- WA- Building Commission Advisory Note 2012/022
In addition to the documents outlined above, the local government or Council area may have their own policy. Once again, this is something you should need to investigate prior to commencing your assessment.
The NatHERS Technical Note is the key document guiding Assessor practice in Australia. If there is a direct conflict with a state or territory document, however, the State or Territory document will take precedence over the Technical Note.
Don’t forget to familiarise yourself with the requirements of your Assessor Accrediting Organisation (AAO), ABSA or BDAV, to ensure nothing you do breaches any agreement you have made.
I highly recommend subscribing to the newsletters and updates issued by NatHERS, ABCB, your AAO and any jurisdiction you work in. Changes are due to occur to the Australian energy efficiency requirements in May 2019 instigated by changes to the Technical Note, NCC and Chenath Engine. There are currently information seminars and webinars available to assist in understanding these changes.
Research is a key skill that you will use repeatedly as you progress through your NatHERS journey. Getting these research basics right, sets you up for looking up unknown information on previously un-used procedures, materials, construction methods, terminology and more.