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Service Updates

We are prioritising critical services and some services may be reduced. This means there will be longer wait times for customers contacting us by phone. Many of our services are available online. Advice on which services can continue is changing rapidly. For regular updates, go to knox.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

Frequently Asked Questions

My development achieves a 6 star standard. Do I still have to have to complete a SDA?

The Building Code of Australia (Victoria) requires all new residential buildings to obtain a minimum 6 Star rating under the FirstRate home energy rating system (or equivalent) and include either a rainwater tank for toilet flushing or a solar hot water system.

Renovations and extensions are also required to obtain a minimum 6 star rating under FirstRate (or equivalent).

In general the 6 Star standard relates to the energy efficiency of the structure in terms of the amount of heat or cooling required to reach a predetermined temperature per square metre of floor. FirstRate does not assess the actual efficiency of the appliances used to heat or cool a dwelling, nor does it cover issues such as water efficiency and stormwater quality.

BESS deals with a much broader range of issues relating to the environmental performance that are in excess of those covered by the 6 Star standard. It is important to note that in order to correctly complete a BESS assessment a FirstRate assessment is required.

Why do I have to provide a Sustainable Design Assessment?

Knox City Council’s Environmentally Sustainable Design Policy represents the cornerstone of our commitment to achieving a sustainable built environment.

What if I cannot achieve enough points to complete the STEPS tool?

Design elements that could assist in achieving an improved sustainability assessment are:

  • Orientation - Locating living and working spaces on the northern side of a building layout, wherever possible.
  • Setbacks - Setback walls sufficiently from north site boundaries and structures to enable winter solar access to main north-facing windows.
  • Windows - Limit and/or provide double/triple glazed south-facing windows. Limit windows (particularly west facing) where strong summer sun can enter. Incorporate window-shading devices to windows located on west/east facing walls designed to protect from exposure to hot summer sun. Select windows that can be opened to allow air ventilation.
  • Natural cooling mechanisms - Provide opportunities for good cross-ventilation to help cool buildings in summer. Provide deciduous planting on north side of buildings and evergreens on the west side. Include eaves, particularly on the north-side of the building to reduce unwanted summer heat gain, whilst maintaining winter heat gain.
  • Stormwater collection - Water collection tanks to provide water for gardens or toilet flushing are recommended.
  • Permeability - Adequate permeable site area to reduce the amount of stormwater run-off should be provided. ResCode requires a minimum of 20% of a site to be water permeable, and this should be exceeded wherever possible. Rain water tanks are available from a wide variety of sources. Contact Council’s Engineering Services area for requirements in relation to rainwater tanks. For further information on grey water re-use and system installation contact your water provider.

I am building a single house, dwelling extension or small commercial extension. Can I still use BESS?

If you are not required to provide a Sustainable Design Assessment, Council still recommends that you incorporate sustainability in your design.

You can still use the BESS tool to improve your design.

Find out more about designing a sustainable home or extension, please refer to our External Web Links to Sustainable Design at the bottom of this page.

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