By Adam Krajc

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Why the cost of your new home is actually going to cost more if you wait….

House pricing is at record highs, and thanks to state and federal Government environmental performance initiatives construction costs are set to increase again, significantly!

While things may be tough at the moment, progressing your new home design and submitting plans to council before these environmental initiatives come into effect will avoid the extra construction costs your new home will otherwise require.

Energy efficiency and sustainability considerations in design and construction of new homes is important, and we’ve had BASIX and NatHERS assessing and dictating new home requirements in this regard in NSW for years now.

The Building Sustainability Index (BASIX) regulates energy efficiency of residential buildings and sets sustainability targets for water and minimum performance levels for the thermal comfort of new homes. Every proposed new home or renovation exceeding $50k value requires a BASIX certificate to achieve the required authority approvals (Development Consent from council or Complying Development Certificate from a Private Certifier) required for the work to be undertaken.

The NSW Government controls and evolves the online BASIX assessment program home designers and builders use in undertaking the required BASIX assessments in procuring the BASIX Certificate required before councils or Private Certifiers can approve a proposed new home or renovation. On 29 August 2022 the NSW Government announced changes to the BASIX standards as part of the new Sustainable Buildings State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) 2022 which will come into effect on 1 October 2023. The NSW Department of Planning and Environment state the purpose of this new SEPP is to-

  • Minimise consumption of energy and potable water
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from energy use
  • Monitor the embodied emissions of building materials
  • Deliver buildings that are comfortable in summer and winter

These changes will advisedly ensure the homes we live in are cooler in summer and warmer in winter while being less costly to run, all while providing great benefit to the planet as well.

The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) is administered by the ‘Department of Climate Change, the Environment, Energy and Water’ on behalf of the states and territories in Australia. NatHERS to date has focussed on assessing the building shell (the construction materials used in walls, insulation, windows, and roofs) that are used to build a house. NatHERS has done this by providing software tools that can assess and rate a home’s energy efficiency performance, where minimum performance requirements will specify the building components to be used in construction to satisfy these requirements. NatHERS is changing now too, with focus broadening to include assessment and rating on the energy use for the whole home including major appliances such as heating and cooling systems, hot water heaters, cooking appliances, lighting, pool pumps, solar panels and batteries etc. These changes to NatHERS will be applied to achieve a streamlined pathway to meet or beat the new National Construction Code 2022 Energy Efficiency requirements. This change is coming with further detail on the implications and dates for commencement still to be confirmed.


At face value these changes are fantastic news for the environment and running costs of homes, the broader reality however is that these new requirements will add a significant cost to the construction of your new home or renovation. At a time where construction costs have pushed to record highs, further cost increases will have an effect on the home your budget will afford.

If you are looking to maximise the size and feature inclusions afforded in your next home, it might be time to get started on planning and design evolution to see the Development Application with council or Complying Development application to your Private Certifier submitted before 1 October 2023, as once the new Sustainable Buildings SEPP takes effect the costs to build the same home while complying with these requirements will add a significant cost to the construction of your new home or renovation.

As a boutique custom home builder, Rosewood Homes offer a design and construction service worthy of the emotional and financial investment your new home requires. Contact us now to discuss our Custom Design Process, and how we can ensure your new home is designed, tendered, and submitted to council or a Private Certifier before the new sustainability and energy efficiency requirements take effect. Even if you’re considering a more scaled-back home than you’ve previously dreamed of, it’s never too soon to plan.

Architect working on blueprint, Engineer meeting working with partner colleagues and engineering tools for architectural project, Construction concept.