External Shading & Building Regulations

In 2018, the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) introduced amendments to the National Construction Code (NCC) to improve fire safety in Australian high-rise buildings.

These amendments removed an exemption clause that applied to awnings and blinds and added stringent requirements, particularly for installations above ground level. These amendments now require that any ‘Ancillary Element’, (which include an awning, sunshade, canopy, blind, shading hood, etc), must be ‘non-combustible’.

As a result, these amendments by the ABCB have impacted the installation of external shading in certain building types when the external shading is to be installed above ground level. The specific building types affected are Class 2 to 9 buildings which include multi-unit residential buildings. See NCC Building Classifications for detailed definitions of the building classifications.

Note that there are no requirements if the installation is for a Class 1 Building (i.e.: a single dwelling being a detached house; or one of a group of attached dwellings being a town house, row house or the like).

Architects for new projects and, homeowners and body corporates for existing projects can however obtain a ‘Performance Solution’ as a means of demonstrating compliance with the NCC regulations. To discuss obtaining a Performance Solution from the BMAA for your particular project, please reach out to a BMAA member:

Queensland (QBCC) Fact Sheet

One of the functions of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) is to audit the performance of building products, with a view to identifying whether a product is a Non-conforming Building Product (NCBP).

In June 2024, the QBCC published the Awning, Sunshade, Canopy, Blind or Shading Hood and Non-conforming Building Products Fact Sheet to help ensure that the supply and installation of awnings, sunshades, canopies, blinds or shading hoods in Queensland comply with Queensland laws in relation to NCBPs.

Consumers should also be aware that a QBCC licence is required to install external window shading products in Queensland where the value of work exceeds $3,300 (including the cost of materials). Please see the QBCC Licence Information Tool for more specific details.

Further information about the NCBP laws from the QBCC include fact sheets, FAQs and the Department of Housing and Public Works’ NCBP Code of Practice.