Building Code of Australia Compliance Report
Building Code of Australia Compliance Report
The BCA (Building Code of Australia) refers to Volumes 1 and 2 of the NCC (National Construction Code) and is produced and enforced on behalf of the national, state, and territory governments by the Australian Building Codes Board, or ABCB (Australian Building Codes Board, 2013). All territories and states have accorded the BCA the status of building regulation. The purpose of this report is to provide a BCA Volume 1 assessment for the mixed-use development at Ron’s Parade. The proposed building comprises a restaurant, fourteen (14) residential units, a basement, as well as an ancillary car parking.
Basis of the Report
The fundamental objective of this report includes:
Providing an assessment under the current BCA and detailing any deviations and information related to the BCA
Offer BCA compliance guidance and information in cases where deviations have been identified
Limitations of this Report and Exclusions
Some issues fall outside the purview of this report. These include:
Appraisal of any fire services operations, such as electrical, hydraulic, and related systems
Operation health and safety (OH&S) issues, reporting on hazardous materials, as well as the contamination of the construction site
Prerequisites of statutory bodies
Appraisal of drainage and plumbing installations, including stormwater
Appraisal of any geotechnical matters and structural aspects in respect of the building
Energy efficiency of the building
Consideration of water and energy authority requirements
Environmental or planning issues
2.0 BCA Assessment
Below is a summary of the pertinent areas of BCA Compliance that must be addressed for the proposed mixed-use development at Ron’s Parade.
2.1 Structural Provisions
This section comprises the requirements for the building’s structural stability, including the structural resistance that forms of construction and the materials used must attain against, inter alia, termites, wind loads, permanent loads, imposed loads, and dampness. Structural engineering information prepared by a competent and suitably qualified structural engineer should be availed to demonstrate conformity with Part B1. This will comprise some aspects listed below:
AS 1170.0 – 2002 General principles
AS 1170.1 – 2002 permanent, imposed, and other loads, including documentation for balustrading (live and dead loads)
AS 1170.2 – 2002 relating to wind loads
AS 1170.4 – 2007 on earthquake loads
AS 2047 – 1999 on windows in buildings
AS 4600 – 2005 on cold-formed steel
NASH steel construction standard (low-rise and residential steel framing)
AS 3660.1 – 2000 on termite control (due to use of timber as a primary building element in some of the walls)
2.2 Fire Resistance
C1.1 Fire Hazards Properties
Certification is needed for fire hazard characteristics of floor coverings and floor linings, as well as ceiling and wall linings, which must comply with the provisions of section C1.10 (Australian Building Codes Board, 1998). The fire hazard properties of the wall and ceiling linings, as well as floor coverings such as rugs and carpets, need to be certified to ascertain their compliance with section C1.10a of the BCA. The Construction Certificate application is to be submitted along with test sheets of a new ceiling, wall, and floor linings.
C2.6 Vertical Separation of Openings in External Walls
Because the building is not sprinkler protected, it must be provided with compliant spandrel separation as provided for under the BCA. The fire engineer could address this issue before the Construction Certificate issuance. Where spandrel separation is to be supplied to the external openings, parts of a window, or openings in an external wall situated above another opening in the floor next below and its vertical projection is required to fall no further than 450mm beyond the lower opening, a spandrel no less than 900mm in height and extending no less than 600mm over the upper surface of the intervening storey must separate the opening. In the alternative, a horizontal spandrel of 1100mm or more may be provided. It is imperative to note that the details of the spandrels, which are required to be non-combustible and to have a fire resistance level (FLR) of 60/60/60, must be supplied at the Construction Certificate phase.
C2.7 Separation by Fire Walls
Firewalls are required to extend to the bottom of the slab above or to the bottom of the roof sheeting. Also, there should be no penetration through the firewall except for roof battens parking or having dimensions of 75mm x 50mm (Australian Building Codes Board, 1998). This is necessary to separate commercial from residential and residential from the restaurant on the ground floor.
C2.8 Separation of Classifications in the Same Storey
Because of the mixed classification on the proposed ground floor that would require different fire ratings, fire engineering will determine the requisite fire rating prior to the Construction Certificate phase.
C3.2 Protection of Openings in External Walls
The proposed building has several openings within three (3) meters of the rear or side boundaries. Such openings should be protected in conformity with the provisions of Clause C3.4. In the alternative, a fire engineered solution could be used to rationalize performance-based compliance.
According to the concession provided under Specification C1.1 (Clause 3.5), the roof of the residential portion of the building is not required to have a fire-resistance level.
In parts where combustible materials have been employed, or awning, roof or wall, or sunscreen, to a building element that must have a fire resistance level, the material is required to be exempted or comply with the fire hazard properties outlined in C1.10.
Internal lightweight walls, non-load bearing lift, garbage and other shafts must be made of non-combustible material.
The walls to fire rated shafts are required to attain fire rating from both outside and inside the shaft.
2.3 Access & Egress
This section of the report includes provisions about the size, number, type, as well as the separation of emergency exits and the distance to such exits. The class, size, and the number of occupants determine the provisions. The section also incorporates provisions regarding the building’s accessibility for persons with disabilities.
D1.10 Discharge from Exits
This clause requires that an exist should not be obstructed at the point of discharge. Also, where necessary, proper barriers must be installed to prevent vehicles from blocking access to the exit or the exit itself. In the proposed plan, vehicles may occasionally block the exit to the driveway on the basement. This issue can be addressed by developing a performance-based solution prior to Construction Certificate issuance.
D1.2 Number of Exits Required
In view of the fact that the effective height of the building is less than twenty-five (25), every occupant is required to have an unfettered access to at least two exits (Australian Building Codes Board, 1998). Only the basement has a fire exit and the restaurant, commercial units, as well as the residential units, do not have fire exits. Additional exits should be provided in compliance with clause D1.4. Also, two exits should be provided in the restaurant area, as well as for each occupant of the building.
D1.3 When Fire Isolated Exits are required
The fire separation ratings as provided by Clause C1.1 required fire stairs from the residential stories to be fire isolated. In cases where fire stairs join more than two levels, the BCA requires such stairs to be fire isolated except for sprinkler protected buildings. For the egress stairs connecting the car park with the building, the BCA requires fire isolation for the fire stairs where the entire building is not sprinkler protected (Australian Building Codes Board, 1998). In the current design, the building is not sprinkler protected and. Therefore, it is proposed that a performance-based solution be provided to justify the lack of fire isolation for the egress stairs from the basement parking.
D1.4 Exit Travel Distances
In the current plan, the exit travel distances in the first and second floors, which are residential areas, exceed six (6) meters. Therefore, a performance-based solution to comply with the provisions of clauses DP4 and EP2.2 is needed in addressing this matter prior to the Construction Certificate phase.
D1.7 Travel via Fire-Isolated Exit
This specification requires isolated fire exits to discharge directly into an open space. In the alternative, such exits may discharge to areas that are open for 1/3 of the perimeter and with a clear all through height of at least three meters within six meters to open space or an area open for 2/3 of the perimeter of twenty meters of open space (Australian Building Codes Board, 1998). In this respect, the fire stair that serves levels 1 and 2 in the residential areas of the building is non-compliant with the above because it discharges into the ground floor restaurant entry area at the center of the building. This discharge area is open for less than 2/3 and, therefore, non-compliant. This can be resolved through fire engineering before the Construction Certificate stage.
If the path of travel from the discharge point from an isolated fire exit demands to pass within six meters of any portion of an external wall of the building, the said portion of the wall must have a fire resistance rating of 60/60/60 or more, and any openings must be protected internally as per the provisions of C3.4 . The current design proposes fire stairs that discharge at the center of the building at the entry of the restaurant, which will require the occupants to pass within a distance of six meters perpendicular to the external façade of the building. This issue must be resolved through fire engineering before the Construction Certification phase.
D1.17 Access to Lift Pits
This clause gives recommendations on how to provide access to Lift Pits. If the lift pit does not exceed three meters in depth, then access to the pit should be accessed via the lowest landing door. Clause D1.17 (b) applies where the lift pit is more than three meters deep (Australian Building Codes Board, 1998). The current design does not specify the depth of the lift pit and, therefore, the lift specifications will be needed before the issuance of the construction certificate.
2.4 Services and Equipments
E1.3 Fire Hydrants
The hydrant system should be installed in strict conformity to the AS 2419.1 – 2005. Also, the location of the hydrant booster assembly is subject to review and approval by the fire brigade because the proposed location is not within the building’s main entrance. The hydrant booster assembly must also be firmly attached to the external wall and sheltered by a radiant heat shield with a fire resistance level of 90/90/90.
E1.4 Hose Reels
The hose reels for fire protection must be located within the building in conformity with AS 2441 – 2005 and must be provided to serve the entire building where internal hydrants have been installed. Therefore, hose reel coverage is needed all through the building and must be situated next to internal hydrants (except hydrants situated in fire-isolated exits) or within four meters of an exit. Additionally, all fire hose reels will be positioned such that the hose shall not traverse entryways fitted with a fire door, except doors comply with clauses C2.12, C2.13, C3.11, as well as C3.13 (Australian Building Codes Board, 2005).
This report provides an evaluation of the architectural drawings for the proposed mixed-use development situated at Ron’s Parade against Volume 1 of BCA’s deemed-to-satisfy provisions. The items discoursed in the compliance issues above must be addressed to permit the plans to be developed in a manner that makes them compliant with BCA’s performance-based and deemed-to-satisfy requirements, which would render Section 96 modifications unnecessary prior to the issuance of the Construction Certificate.
Australian Building Codes Board. (1998) Guide to the BCA: Class 2 to 9 buildings. Sydney: CCH Australia Ltd.
Australian Building Codes Board. (2005) BCA: Building Code of Australia. Canberra: CanPrint Communications on behalf of the ABCB.
Australian Building Codes Board. (2013) Regulatory framework: The National Construction Code. Available at http://www.abcb.gov.au/en/about-the-national-construction-code/the-regulatory-process.aspx (Accessed: 29 September 2015).