Understanding the technical requirements for greenhouse construction and safe operation can be a steep learning curve for growers seeking to establish, expand or modify a greenhouse or grow structure.

Navigating local government approval processes for construction can be complex, and can be made even more daunting by the fact that the National Construction Code (NCC) doesn’t currently have specific requirements for greenhouses.

A recently completed levy-funded project has investigated ways to help growers better understand safe management practices, approval processes, and other issues and grower concerns around NCC compliance, and has produced an easy-to-use online greenhouse toolbox.

This toolbox offers two-page factsheets covering 13 important topics, ranging from understanding the basics of greenhouse construction (like site selection and layout) through to navigating local government requirements.

The toolbox offers growers guidance for getting their greenhouse built, and gives them the tools they need to ask the right questions of the right people throughout the process.

The project also developed a Proposal for Change to the NCC to incorporate specific classification guidelines for greenhouse structures. This is designed to help alleviate some of the expensive (and sometimes unnecessary) compliance measures that growers need to add to their greenhouses to gain approval – like needing to install fire-related sprinkler systems to comply with a determination that a greenhouse should be treated like a factory.

The project was completed by Osborn Consulting Engineers, RM Consulting Group (RMCG), FERM Fire Engineers and Doyles Construction Lawyers, and was funded through Hort Innovation’s Vegetable Fund.

You can read a full breakdown of the project’s methods and activities in the latest edition of Vegenotes, which you can read online here.

Vegenotes is levy-funded and is released alongside our industry magazine Vegetables Australia, so if you’d like to receive these great profiles of levy-funded research and development for free, e-mail us at communications@ausveg.com.au to sign up!

This post appeared in the AUSVEG Weekly Update published 28 August 2018. Subscribe to the Update using our online form to receive the latest industry news in your inbox every week!