What is the National Construction Code of Australia?

The National Construction Code of Australia (NCC) is a uniform set of technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings and other structures throughout Australia.

The NCC comprises the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) is a uniform set of technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings and other structures throughout Australia.

How does it effect Locksmiths?

Legislation prescribes very specific locking requirements for Exit Doors, including Fire Doors and “Path of Travel” Doors, Childcare Centres, Pool Regulations and openable windows.

It's important for Locksmiths to know what's required by Law and to be aware of the risks associated with non-compliancy.


Building Codes available online FREE

MLA Members can access the current version of the National Construction Code free from the ABCB website.

National Construction Codes (ABCB wesite)

Building Commission of NSW

The Building Commission of NSW's Technical Helpline is a great resource for free information. The Code is applicable in every State and Territory so members Australia wide can use this resource.

Phone: (02) 9228 6529 (Tues, Wed & Thursday from 9:30am – 11:30am). 

Information Sheets

We have put together two fact sheets covering the most common enquiries from members regarding the Building Code.  They are simple to follow and may answer questions you may have.

Unit Entry Doors (PDF - 312KB)
200 Square Metre Rule (PDF - 281KB)

MLA Office

If you have a question that needs answering in relation to compliance issues, please let us know.  The more specific the information, the more accurate response we can provide.



Australian Standards

Standards are published documents setting out specifications and procedures designed to ensure products, services and systems are safe, reliable and consistently perform the way they were intended to. Standards establish a common language which defines quality and safety criteria.

Standards can be guidance documents including Australian Standards®, International Standards and joint Standards, Codes, Specifications, handbooks and guidelines.

What you need to know

Legislation prescribes very specific locking requirements for Exit Doors, including Fire Doors and “Path of Travel” Doors. These are set out by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB). Not all the technical detail is contained within the NCC itself.

The most pertinent information for locksmiths can be found in the Australian Standards.

If you are unsure on technical information on door handles, doorway openings, fire doors, or self-latching locks, please consult the Australian Standards.

Locksmiths and security professionals need to be familiar with:

  • AS 1428.1 – 2009: Design for access and mobility - General requirements for access - New building work

  • AS 1428.2 – 1992: Design for access and mobility - Enhanced and additional requirements - Buildings and facilities

  • AS 1530.4 - 2005: Methods for fire tests on building materials, components and structures. This standard sets out test procedures and criteria for the determination of fire-resistance of elements of building construction.

  • AS 1905.1 – 2005: Specifies requirements for design, construction and installation of doorsets used to protect openings in fire-resistant walls and partitions

  • AS 2201 - Specifies the requirements for installing, maintaining and monitoring of intruder alarm systems

  • AS 4806 - Specifies the requirements for installing, maintaining and monitoring CCTV systems

*** As a general rule of thumb, unless specifically excluded, all the design specifications in AS 1428.1 should be applied to building elements in areas required to be accessible.

AS 1428 & Section D2.21 Compliance

Updated: 15/11/2013

AS 1428 and Section D2.21 of the National Construction Code sets out the exit door and fire door lock regulations.

Please refer to the summary below or download the D2.21 Operation of a Latch attachment.

 BCA 2013 - D2.21 Operation of a Latch (PDF - 80KB)

  • The egress opening action of a lock must be a single handed downward lever action. A pushing action is also allowed, and is preferred
  • Only one lock per door 
  • Internal knobs or turn snibs are not permitted
  • Key locking is not permitted on the inside of the door
  • Locks must be fitted at a height of between 900mm and 1100mm from the floor level. Maximum height of a door handle is therefore 1.1 meters. (see Figure 36)
  • Fire Doors must only be fitted with door hardware fire rated in accordance with AS1905.1
  • Fire Door locks must be self-latching. Hold open features are not permitted
  • Non-complaint deadlocks, multiple locks, locking bolts, padlocks, knob type handles or pad-bolt type fittings are not permitted to be used
  • ‘D’ type handles are required by AS 1428.1. The shape provides support and prevents hands from slipping off. 
  • ‘D’ type handles must be provided on sliding doors
  • Clearance between the handle and back plate or door face at the centre grip section of the handle must not be less than 35mm and not more than 45mm
  • A minimum of 800mm is required on door way openings

** There has been a change (as of May 1, 2013) in relation to the height of a a "single hand pushing action on a single device” which has increased from 900 – 1,100 to 900 – 1,200. This is set out in Sec D2.21 Operation of Latch. This refers to push-bars, crash bars, etc. (Not lever handles).

AS 1428.1-2009
AS 1428.1-2009
Door lever height



There are exemptions to the National Construction Code which affect what Locksmiths can and can't do when it comes to the installation of door hardware. For example the location of locking controls on early childhood centres differs to the standardised lock height of between 900 – 1200 mm.

The 200 square metre rule is a prime example of a black and white rule which is often misinterpreted by locksmiths, professionals and councils alike.

200 square metre rule

D2.21 Operation of a latch

A sole occupancy unit with a floor area not more than 200m2 in a Class 5, 6, 7 or type 8 building (office, shop, café, dining room, sales room, car park, laboratory) are all classes of buildings that are exempt.

  • It must be a single tenancy unit under 200m2
  • A class 5, 6, 7, or 8 type building

What does this mean?

A small shop or office can be fitted with panic bolts inside and out, have dead locks or any kind of security measures on the door and it will still comply with the current National Construction Code. If there is an exit sign above the door, it is still exempt.  The exit sign is purely there as a guide only.

This is a clear exemption under the code.

Practical Example - A pizza shop's premises is 160 square metres. They have an exit sign on the door.  Being under 200 square metres, that door can have five deadlocks.  The only requirement is the door to be inward swinging with a hold open unit.

Useful Tip - If you're unsure on the usable space within a premises, ask to see the lease documents, use a laser pointer measurement device. Don't simply take the customers word for it.

Building Type 3a

Type 3a


Building Type 3b, c, d, e, f 

Type 3b c d e f exemptions

Openable Windows

Updated: 09/12/2014

The National Construction Code introduced openable window provisions (1 May 2013) to address the issue of children falling from bedroom windows in residential buildings.

The code applies to openable windows in bedrooms of residential buildings and early childhood centres. Window are to be fitted either with a device to restrict the window opening so a 125mm sphere cannot pass through, or a suitable a screen.

The device or security screen can have a child resistant release mechanism (such as a key lock) that can enable the device or screen to be removed, unlocked or overridden (for example, so a window can be cleaned).

Not all windows require the same restrictions. The important factors are the size and height above the floor of the opening and whether or not it is possible for a child to climb up to the window.

The National Construction Code will require windows to be fitted either with a device to restrict the window opening, or a suitable screen, so a 125mm sphere cannot pass through.

A barrier is not required for windows 1.7m or more above the floor.

New requirements for openable windows in BCA D2.24 & stipulate:

  • Protection (child-proof screens) to habitable room windows where the sill is less than 1.7m above floor level and the floor below the window is more than 2m above the surface beneath; and

  • barrier at least 865mm high above the floor where either:

        • the protection above has a child-resistant release mechanism, or
        • if not protected, where openable windows are more than 4m above the surface beneath

The changes apply not only to new construction but also to any window replacements and the new provisions are in addition to the existing requirements under the Building Code of Australia.

 Window Barriers - ABRB Information Sheet (PDF - 247KB)


* In New South Wales, these laws are retrospective. Within 5 years every window must comply with the new provisions.

** In Victoria, they are not retrospective and must comply in buildings constructed or approved from May 1, 2013 onwards.

Pool Regulations

For locksmiths performing work or providing advice in relation to installing pool fences, it’s important that you keep up-to-date with government regulations and standards.

An important change in the standards is that a barrier (see definition below) must separate the pool structure, including any above ground sections of pool, from any residential building entry/exit door. These new rules were introduced into the BCA Volume 2, for all pools & spas, where construction was completed after 1st May, 2011. The new rules are not retrospective.

Therefore, doors that provide access from any building to an outdoor swimming pool or spa area are no longer permitted as part of a safety barrier for new swimming pool or spa installations. A detached or attached garage, laundry, shed, boatshed, clothes line or any structure not solely associated to the pool must be located outside the pool area.

Walls and child resistant windows can still be used as part of a safety barrier.

Apartments, motels and hotels

The Building Regulations also require owners of Class 2, 3 and 4 buildings (multi-storey apartments, motels, hotels and houses attached to factories) to have safety barriers around swimming pools or spas.

Key definitions

Swimming pool or spa - A swimming pool or spa is any excavation or structure capable of containing a depth of water greater than 300 mm and used principally for swimming, wading, paddling or the like.

Safety Barriers - A safety barrier restricts children’s access to the area containing a pool or spa. “Safety barrier” refers to a fence, wall, gate or screen, and includes, windows, locks, latches, hinges and self-closing devices attached to them.

What is required?

Swimming pool and spa owners are required by law to meet government regulations and standards. The following laws apply to all swimming pools and spas:

  • All swimming pools and spas capable of containing a depth of water exceeding 300 mm must have suitable child resistant safety barriers
  • A building permit is required for the construction of all pools (including those above ground) and spas that are capable of containing a depth of water greater than 300 mm. The permit must be issued by a municipal or private building surveyor
  • A building permit is required for installing and altering all swimming pool and spa safety fences and barriers
  • Suitable child resistant safety barriers must be completed within six months of building work starting on swimming pools and spas
  • Any swimming pool or spa safety barrier must be maintained in good working order
  • All access points to a swimming pool or a spa must have self-closing and self-latching devices, regardless of when they were built
  • It is an offence to prop open any self-closing or self-latching device providing access to a swimming pool or spa.

Disclaimer – The MLA will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor the availability of this information. The MLA will not be liable for any losses, injuries or damages from the display or use of this information. It is imperative that you check relevant legislation and seek further advice where required.


 NCC Building Classifications (PDF - 80KB)
 What buildings require maintenance (PDF - 57KB)
 Window Barriers - ABRB Information Sheet (PDF - 247KB)
 BCA 2013 - D2.21 Operation of a Latch (PDF - 80KB)


Disclaimer: The information contained on this page is given in good faith, based on information from the ABCB website, Australian Standards and information provided to the Master Locksmiths by industry professionals. The Master Locksmiths Association of Australasia Limited, its directors and/ or employees do not give any warranty for the reliability or accuracy of this information or accept any responsibility for errors or omissions in the information provided, whether by negligence or otherwise.