Modern Homes standards

Important shifts in home building are enhancing the liveability of new homes, making them more accessible, energy efficient and comfortable to live in.

The National Construction Code (NCC 2022) incorporates new Modern Homes standards that include new requirements for accessibility and energy efficiency in new homes and better reflect community expectations for modern homes.

The NCC 2022 is given legal effect through Queensland’s Building Act 1975 and varied through amendments to the Building Regulation that adopts the Queensland Development Code (QDC).

Queensland implemented the Modern Homes standards through a new QDC 4.5— Livable dwellings and grading to floor wastes (PDF, 1135.29 KB) and amendment of the existing QDC 4.1—Sustainable Buildings (PDF, 371.03 KB). The new QDC 4.5 accessibility requirements took effect on 1 October 2023, with the QDC 4.1 energy efficiency changes commencing on 1 May 2024.

The NCC 2022 also introduced new requirements for electric vehicle (EV) charging in class 2, 3, 5, 6, 7b, 8 and 9 building carparks on 1 October 2023.


The Livable Housing and Design Standard (LHDS) will ensure new houses and units are designed and constructed to be more accessible for everyone, including older people, people with disability, families with young children and people with temporary mobility injuries.

These important changes will allow people to remain in their homes as they age, without the need for costly adaptations.

The LHDS requires:

  • at least 1 step-free entry
  • slightly wider internal doors and corridors
  • 1 step-free access into a bathroom and shower
  • an accessible toilet
  • reinforcing of bathroom and toilet walls to allow handrails to be installed later.

Residential energy efficiency

The energy efficiency changes will improve the energy efficiency of the building shell, and for the first time, account for the energy usage of household appliances and equipment. It has been more than a decade since the last change to the energy efficiency requirements for homes under the NCC.

New houses and units require a:

  • 7-star rating (out of 10) for the building shell (roof, walls, windows and floors).
    • Energy efficiency features may include optimal house orientation, better insulation and window design, ceiling fans and a lighter-coloured roof.
    • While Queensland aligns with the NCC 2022 energy efficiency requirements, the optional one-star credit towards the building shell for inclusion of an outdoor living area has been:
      • extended to take advantage of Queensland’s outdoor lifestyle and climate
      • expanded to apply state-wide (all climate zones) for apartment buildings.
    • However, the optional credit for installation of a solar photovoltaic (PV) energy system ceased on 30 April 2024, as it is counted in the Whole of Home energy budget.
  • Whole of Home energy budget that promotes energy efficient appliances and equipment (including air-conditioners, hot water heaters and lighting) and on-site renewable energy e.g. solar photovoltaic (PV) system.

Facilities for EV charging equipment

The uptake of EVs will be supported by ensuring that certain buildings can be equipped with EV charging infrastructure.

Carparks in class 2, 3, 5, 6, 7b, 8 and 9 buildings must be provided with electrical distribution boards dedicated to EV charging. These distribution boards must be labelled to indicate their use for EV charging equipment and must be installed on each story of the carpark.

NCC 2022 also mandates that electrical distribution boards dedicated to serving EV charging must be fitted with a charging control system that can manage and schedule charging of EVs in response to total building demand.

Benefits and costs of the Modern Homes standards

The new residential energy efficiency standards will provide an average electricity saving of $185 per year for new homes in Queensland.

Adopting the Modern Homes energy efficiency standards is expected to provide a net benefit of $506 million to Queensland and reduce emissions by 4.63 million tonnes. It is also expected to provide a net benefit of $2,696 over the life of a detached dwelling at the household level.

Building more accessible housing will improve the quality of life for many people. The new standard reflects community aspirations about becoming a more inclusive society.

Not only is it possible to build a compliant new home at a reasonable cost, but doing so increases the stock of houses that can improve a person’s economic and social participation in society by making their life easier.

People who are affected by the lack of suitable housing with accessible features will be able to leave hospital when they are ready, which reduces the need for care services. Additionally, they can live in their homes longer close to family and friends.

Independent expert economic analyses suggest the combined capital cost for both energy efficiency and accessibility standards for a new house in Queensland is between 1 and 2 percent of the cost of a new build.

Up-front investment in accessibility features will save homeowners about $18,821 for houses and $20,260 for units and apartments by avoiding retrofit costs.

For more information, view the NCC 2022 decision regulation impact statement (PDF, 9.6MB).

Implementation of the Modern Homes standards

On 26 August 2022, building ministers agreed that the NCC 2022 would be available from 1 October 2022 for people who want to use the Modern Homes standards voluntarily, with the Modern Homes standards formally taking effect in NCC 2022 on 1 October 2023.

In Queensland, the Modern Homes standards were implemented through a phased approach, with:

  • the phase in of the Livable Housing Design Standard commencing on 1 October 2023
  • the energy efficiency standards commencing on 1 May 2024.

As part of the Modern Homes changes, transitional arrangements apply to building assessment provisions under section 37 of the Building Act 1975. New homes that were already significantly designed or where construction had commenced prior to the introduction of the Modern Homes standards, were not impacted by these changes.

Further detail of Queensland's measures to support implementation of the Modern Homes standards are available online.

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) and jurisdictions are working with industry to support industry implementation of NCC 2022.

Guidance materials

The ABCB has prepared the following guidance materials to support awareness and implementation of the NCC 2022 Modern Homes standards.

Residential Energy efficiency:

Livable housing:

The Department of Housing, Local Government, Planning and Public Works has delivered a webinar on the Modern Homes standards under the NCC 2022.