BASIX – or Building Sustainability Index – is a planning measure introduced by the NSW Government in 2004 with the aim of reducing household water and electricity use by setting minimum sustainability targets for both brand new and also renovated and extended homes. It forms a part of the NSW’s Environment Planning and Assessment Act.
Different design factors in the home such as home location, building size, orientation, type of construction, fixtures and landscaping all impact upon a likely level of thermal comfort, along with water and energy usage in that household. Learn more about these factors below.
BASIX therefore provides the minimum targets that need to be reached before a new building or extension can be approved and a BASIX certificate supplied. This is then submitted as part of the initial building process via a Development Application (DA) or other similar application.
When Do I Need a BASIX Certificate?
A BASIX certificate is generally required for the following construction projects:
- New Homes
- New Townhouses & Villas
- New Dual Occupancies
- New Flats & Apartments
- New Granny Flats
- Renovations with a value of more than $50,000 to an existing Home
- Swimming Pools and/or Spas that are larger than 40,000 litres
- Converting an existing non-residential building into a residential one.
A BASIX Certificate is not required for:
- Commercial of Industrial Buildings
- Minor residential building works that meet the criteria for exempt development. For more information on exempt development – for which approvals are not needed – see the NSW Planning Portal.
If you are not sure if your proposed development requires a BASIX Certificate, check with your local council or accredited private certifier.
Even if your development does not require BASIX Certification, you may still like to invest in a BASIX Certificate to give you the direction and confidence that your project will still be environmentally sustainable.
How Do I Get a BASIX Certificate?
In some circumstances you can generate a BASIX Certificate yourself, otherwise we can do this for you. In addition to individual home owners, we work with Architects, Draftsmen and Designers, Certifiers and Builders across NSW for their BASIX Certification needs.
A BASIX Certificate is valid for 3 months. If you have not lodged within three months of getting your certificate, it will no longer be valid and the process will need to be redone. Likewise a new certificate will be needed if you make any changes to your project.
The BASIX Certificate lists all of the design features and commitments that you have agreed to. These will need to be noted on plans and they will be checked during construction.
What Design Features Help With BASIX Compliance?
The following are a few ideas and suggestions that you can consider to help your new home or extension meet the levels of BASIX Compliance needed to generate a Certificate of approval. This list is not exhaustive, but provided general concepts that could be discussed with your architect, designer or builder:
- Passive Heating and Cooling: Think about the actual design of your new home or extension, including basic items such as the orientation of the home (will living areas ideally have a northerly aspect?), the sizing and placement of windows and the type of construction materials to be used. These will all impact the amount of heating and cooling load required with more sun in winter, less in summer.
- Active Heating and Cooling: Will fans, air conditioning and heating systems be needed? If so, how energy efficient will those systems be?
- Insulation: Insulate the Ceiling and Walls of the home (and underfloor if applicable).
- Water Use: Consider alternative water sources, such as rainwater for household water (if approved by council) and connecting to toilets and the laundry.
- Water Saving: Ensure water-saving fixtures are used in Showerheads, Taps and in Dual Flush Toilets.
- Use eaves and strategic window shading.
- Choose light coloured roof materials.
- Choose an efficient hot water system.
- Select landscaping that requires less water and use rainwater if possible.
- Pools & Spas: Consider pool covers and other shading which helps to save considerable amounts of water to evaporation. A pump timer can help save electricity. Topping the pool up with rainwater. And if heating the pool, consider solar heating which is the most efficient.