Apply building codes and standards

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Student Handbook
(For training purposes only)
Compiled By
The R&D Team
CPCCBC5001B – Apply building codes and standards to the
construction process for medium rise building projects
1. Access and interpret relevant code and standard requirements.
Relevant performance requirements from the BCA that apply to individual projects
(described as low rise) are identified.
Builders are granted only after being assessed against the relevant performance requirements from
the BCA that apply to individual projects (described as low rise.
This assessment method includes a method used for determining that a Building Solution complies
with the Performance Requirements.
1.2. Requirements of relevant BCA deemed-to-satisfy (DTS) provisions are determined.
Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions means provisions which are deemed to satisfy the Performance
Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions are elaborated in the BCA standards and codes as follows:
(a) Where a Building Solution is proposed to comply with the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions,
Performance Requirement BP1 .1 to BP1 .3 are satisfied by complying with 81.1, B1 .2, B1.4 and
(b) Where a Building Solution is proposed as an Alternative Solution to the Deemed-to Satisfy
Provisions of B 1.1, 81.2, 81 .4 and 81 .5, the relevant Performance Requirements must be
determined in accordance with AO.10.
Resistance to actions
The resistance of a building or structure must be greater than the most critical action effect
resulting from different combinations of actions, where-
(a) the most critical action effect on a building or structure is determined in accordance with 81.2
and the general design procedures contained in AS/NZS 1170.0; and
(b) the resistance of a building or structure is determined in accordance with 81.4.
Determination of individual actions
The magnitude of individual actions must be determined in accordance with the following :
(a) Permanent actions:
(i) the design or known dimensions of the building or structure; and
(ii) the unit weight of the construction; and
(iii) AS/NZS 1170.1.
(b) Imposed actions:
(i) the known loads that will be imposed during the occupation or use of the building or
structure; and
(ii) construction activity actions; and
(iii) AS/NZS 1170.1.
(c) Wind, snow and ice and earthquake actions:
(i) the applicable annual probability of design event for safety, determined by-
(ii)(A) assigning the building or structure an Importance Level in accordance with Table 81
.2a; and
(d) Actions not covered in (a), (b) and (c) above:
(i) the nature of the action; and
(ii) the nature of the building or structure; and
(iii) the Importance Level of the building or structure determined in accordance
(e) For the purposes of (d) the actions include but are not limited to-
(i) liquid pressure action; and
(Ii) ground water action; and
(iii) rainwater action (including ponding action); and
(IV) earth pressure action; and
(v) differential movement; and
(vi) time dependent effects (including creep and shrinkage); and
(vii) thermal effects; and
(viii) ground movement caused by-
(A) swelling, shrinkage or freezing of the subsoil; and
(B) landslip or subsidence; and
(C) siteworks associated with the building or structure; and
(ix) construction activity actions.
1.3. Requirements of relevant Australian standards referenced in the BCA are accessed and
interpreted accordingly.
Compliance with the Performance Requirements can only be achieved by- (a) complying with the
Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions; or (b) formulating an Alternative Solution which- (i) complies with the
Performance Requirements; or (ii) is shown to be at least equivalent to the Deemed-fa-Satisfy
Provisions; or (c) a combination of (a) and (b).
Performance Requirement means a requirement which states the level of performance which a
Building Solution must meet.
A building or structure, during construction and use, with appropriate degrees of reliability, must-
 perform adequately under ali reasonably expected design actions; and
 withstand extreme or frequently repeated design actions; and be designed to sustain local
damage, with the structural system as a whole remaining stable and not being damaged to
an extent disproportionate to the original local damage; and
 avoid causing damage to other properties, by resisting the actions to which it may
reasonably expect to be subjected.
The actions to be considered to satisfy (a) include but are not limited to-
 permanent actions (dead loads); and
 imposed actions (live loads arising from occupancy and use); and
 wind action; and
 earthquake action; and
 snow action; and
 liquid pressure action; and
 ground water action; and
 rainwater action (including ponding action); and
 earth pressure action; and
 differential movement; and
 time dependent effects (including creep and shrinkage); and
 thermal effects; and
 ground movement caused byo swelling, shrinkage or freezing of the subsoil; and
 landslip or subsidence; and
o siteworks associated with the building or structure; and
 construction activity actions; and
 termite actions.
The structural resistance of materials and forms of construction must be determined using five
percentile characteristic material properties with appropriate allowance for-
(a) known construction activities; and
(b) type of material; and
(c) characteristics of the site; and
(d) the degree of accuracy inherent in the methods used to assess the structural behaviour; and
(e) action effects arising from the differential settlement of foundations, and from restrained
dimensional changes due to temperature, moisture, shrinkage, creep and similar effects.
Glass installations that are at risk of being subjected to human impact must have glazing
(a) if broken on impact, will break in a way that is not likely to cause injury to people;
BP1.2 NCC 2012 Building Code of Australia· Volume One
Australian Building Codes Board Page 79
(b) resists a reasonably foreseeable human impact without breaking; and
(c) is protected or marked in a way that will reduce the likelihood of human impact.
Classify buildings.
BCA requirements for multiple classification are identified and interpreted.
Building Classifications
2.1. Nature of a building is determined according to its use and arrangement.
Building classification The BCA classifies buildings according to their use which in turn reflects the
level of risk to which occupants are exposed. Generally, the system of classification places buildings
into three use categories: • residential buildings (includes classes 2, 3 and 4) • commercial buildings
such as offices, shops, warehouses and factories (includes classes 5, 6, 7 and 8) • buildings of a
public nature such as halls, hospitals and aged care facilities (class 9 buildings). The risk matrix has
allocated a level of risk to the various use categories considering the rise in storeys and vulnerability
of the occupants. Essentially, it is considered that all building classes, with the exception of class 9,
with a rise in storeys not exceeding three can be considered as low risk. The medium-risk level
applies to all building classes except class 9 that have a rise in storeys of more than three. The highrisk level includes class 9 buildings and any class of building that has been determined to have an
importance level of 3 or 4 in accordance with the BCA. Height and floor area Buildings are
considered to pose less risk to occupants where the rise in storeys is no greater than three and the
size of fire compartments does not exceed the maximum areas set out under the BCA. The required
level of fire resistance and the type of fire safety systems required under the BCA mean occupants
can generally evacuate quickly and safely to open space. Buildings greater than three storeys are
subject to more complex requirements relating to fire resistance and have more complex fire safety
systems. These requirements are a reflection of the increased risks to occupants. This is particularly
important in those buildings involving permanent residency, where people sleep on a regular basis
or where residents have high levels of dependency.
The BCA is a nationally consistent technical document that represents the level of safety that meets
community expectations. Compliance with the BCA is the responsibility of local government
The BCA provides a classification system for a building or part of a building and is determined by the
purpose for which it is designed, constructed or adapted to be used.
Summary Classifications
Type of building
Class 1
Class 1a – a single dwelling being
. a detached house;
one of a group of two or more attached dwellings, each being a building,
seperated by a fire-resisting wall, including a row house, terrace house, town
house or villa unit;
Class 1b – a boarding house, guest house, hostel or the like
is not located above or below another dwelling or another Class of building
other than a private garage.
Class 2
a building containing 2 or more sole-occupancy units each being a separate
Class 3
Backpacker accommodation, residential parts of hotels or motels, residential
parts of schools, accommodation for the aged, disabled or children a residential
building, other than a building of Class 1 or 2, which is a common place of long
term or transient living for a number of unrelated persons, including –
a. a boarding-house, guest house, hostel, lodging-house or backpackers
accommodation; or
a residential part of a hotel or motel; or
a residential part of a school; or
accommodation for the aged, children or people with disabilities; or
a residential part of a health-care building which accommodates members of
staff; or
f. a residential part of a detention centre.
. with a total area of all floors not exceeding 300 m2 measured over the
enclosing walls of the Class 1b; and
. in which not more than 12 persons would ordinarily be resident, which
Class 4
a dwelling in a building that is Class 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 if it is the only dwelling in the
Class 5
an office building used for professional or commercial purposes, excluding
buildings of Class 6, 7, 8 or 9.
Class 6
a shop or other building for the sale of goods by retail or the supply of services
direct to the public, including?
a. an eating room, cafe, restaurant, milk or soft-drink bar; or
a dining room, bar, shop or kiosk part of a hotel or motel; or
a hairdresser?s or barber?s shop, public laundry, or undertaker?s
establishment; or
d. market or sale room, showroom, or service station.
Class 7
a. Class 7a – a carpark; or
b. Class 7b – for storage, or display of goods or produce for sale by
Class 8
a laboratory, or a building in which a handicraft or process for the production,
assembling, altering, repairing, packing, finishing, or cleaning of goods or
produce is carried on for trade, sale, or gain.
Class 9
a. Class 9a – a health-care building, including those parts of the building
set aside as a laboratory; or
Class 9b – an assembly building, including a trade workshop, laboratory or the
like in a primary or secondary school, but excluding any other parts of the
building that are of another Class; or
c. Class 9c – an aged care building.
Class 10
a. Class 10a – a non-habitable building being a private garage, carport,
shed, or the like; or
Class 10b – a structure being a fence, mast, antenna, retaining or free-standing
wall, swimming pool, or the like.
c. Class 10c — a private bushfire shelter.
BCA criteria to determine the defined classification are applied.
BCA criteria to determine the defined classification are applied.
2.2.BCA criteria to determine the defined classification are applied.
A building certifier is responsible for managing the building approval process with all relevant
practitioners. This important role ensures that all the aspects of the building work comply with the
building assessment provisions of the BA.
Building certifiers are required to undertake sufficient inspections of buildings at stages at which the
building development approval states the work must be inspected. In practice, this means that a
building certifier is required to take a holistic view of a building rather than just consider a single
aspect, such as structural adequacy. The BR requires mandatory inspections for more simple
buildings and structures, such as houses (class 1a buildings) and sheds and garages (class 10
buildings and structures). Guidelines are available for these classes of buildings to assist building
certifiers to undertake inspections. The BR does not currently provide a similar inspection schedule
for class 2 to 9 buildings (which include multi storey residential buildings, office buildings, shops,
public halls and commercial and industrial buildings
Analyse and apply a range of solutions to a construction problem for compliance with the
Range of criteria that will ensure that construction methods comply with BCA performance
requirements is determined.
Legal status of these guidelines These guidelines are made under section 258 of the BA which
provides for guidelines to be made to help achieve compliance with the BA. Section 133A of the BA
requires a building certifier, in performing a function under the BA, to have regard to the guidelines
made under section 258 of the BA. Section 24(2) of the BR requires that building certifiers must set
out the stages of work that require inspection in the conditions of the building development
approval. Evidence of regard to guidelines made under the BA may assist a building certifier in the
event of a complaint about the performance of a building certification function.
A risk level is established if all the criteria under a particular level are met. For example, a building
will be considered to have a low-risk level if it meets and does not exceed any of the risk factor
criteria for that level. If the criterion of one or more risk factors under the low-risk level is exceeded,
the building’s risk level would be increased to the next relevant level.
The risk matrix contained in these guidelines identifies three risk categories: low, medium and high.
To establish the risk level, a building is assessed against five risk factors. Each risk factor contains
broad criteria against which to compare buildings so that a risk level can be established.
This matrix is a guide to establishing the level of risk. There may be development proposals that
present unique risk factors that are not specifically addressed. In these cases the matrix should be
considered in context, along with any additional unique factors, to arrive at a logical level of risk for
a proposal.
Risk factors
The risk matrix comprises factors that are most likely to pose an element of risk for those occupying
a building. These risk factors range from the physical size of a building to its classification under the
BCA. Also included are criteria relating to the experience of the design and building team. While this
aspect is not directly aligned with the requirements of the BCA, it is an important issue to consider in
the context of a building certifier’s statutory functions. The BCA is structured in a way that sets out
standards of construction based on general risk to the occupants of a building. For example, the BCA
provides that a single storey shop with a floor area of less than 500 m2 can be constructed to a
lower fire resistance level than a four storey shop with a floor area exceeding 2000 m2 . This reflects
the higher risks to occupants required to exit a multi-storey building in the event of an emergency. A
multi-storey building under fire conditions must be capable of maintaining structural integrity so
that people can evacuate safely. The BCA also recognises that buildings of a public nature such as
public halls, hospitals and aged care facilities pose greater risks to occupants than buildings used for
bulk storage or manufacturing processes. Public buildings pose unique risks to occupants who may
be incapable of evacuating a building without assistance. The risk factors and their criteria are
broadly aligned with those set out in the various parts of the BCA.
Alternative solutions to a design or construction problem that will comply with BCA
requirements are discussed and proposed in accordance with company policies and procedures.
Performance-based solutions are identified and documented in accordance with BCA
Alternative solutions
Alternative Solution means a Building Solution which complies with the Performance Requirements
other than by reason of satisfying the Deemed-la-Satisfy Provisions.As a performance-based
document, the BCA provides a framework for building solutions that can be achieved by altering or
departing from the prescriptive deemed-tosatisfy requirements. Departing from the deemed-tosatisfy requirements of the BCA often means that a building must comply with a complex, one-off,
specific design. The design will generally involve the coordination of multiple systems or methods of
construction within a building. Commonly, alternative solutions address changes to the type and
level of fire safety systems incorporated in a building. These solutions directly relate to occupant
safety and will require a high level of scrutiny to ensure compliance. The use of alternative solutions
involving fire safety systems will therefore place the building into the high-risk level so that an
appropriate amount of attention is paid to the inspection frequency and type. Some alternative
solutions relate to non-fire related matters such as access for people with disabilities or health and
amenity issues such as ceiling heights and room sizes. While these solutions are as equally important
as those relating to fire safety, they are considered to attract less risk and should be scrutinised
3.4. Assessment methods referenced in the BCA to determine whether a building solution
complies with performance requirements or DTS provision of the BCA are analysed and applied.
7. ASSESSMENT METHODS FOR ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS In determining whether the proposed
Alternative Solution complies with the applicable Performance Requirements, the RBS must consider
the assessment methods set out in part A0.9 of the BCA. The application for building permit must
contain detailed documentation which shows that the proposed Alternative Solution will comply
with the applicable Performance Requirements with specific reference to the assessment methods
in A0.9. The RBS can review that material to determine whether the applicant has properly applied
and demonstrated compliance via those assessment methods. Practice Note 2014-63 Issued April
2014 Page 4 of 5 If the application for a building permit does not contain
documentation which applies one or more of the assessment methods set out in Clause A0.9 of
Volume One or Clause 1.0.9 of Volume Two of the BCA the RBS should call for additional
documentation. In checking that the appropriate assessment methods have been used, the RBS can
rely on the ‘expert judgement’ of an expert who has the qualifications, experience and is a
Registered Building Practitioner (where relevant) to determine whether the building solution
complies with the Performance Requirements. The expert to be relied upon should be an
independent third party. There may be times where the RBS will have qualifications and expertise on
a particular matter and can rely on that knowledge. However, the RBS must be cautious about
relying solely on their expert judgement to confirm that the appropriate assessment methods have
been used when assessing whether a proposed Alternative Solution complies with a Performance
Requirement. The assessment methods generally rely on reports or documents from others. The
documentary evidence to support that the use of a material, form of construction or design meets a
Performance Requirement is set out in Clause A2.2 of Volume One or Clause 1.2.2 of Volume Two of
the BCA. If an RBS were to rely only on their own judgment, this may not allow for a sufficient
measure of independent assessment and may also expose the RBS to liability if their decision to
accept the Alternative Solution is unreasonable.
Assessment Methods
The NCC contains four Assessment Methods. Any combination of them can be used to determine
that a Building or Plumbing and Drainage Solution complies with the Performance Requirements.
1. Evidence of Suitability requires evidence, as described in A2.2, to support claims that a
material, form of construction or design meets the Performance Requirements or DTS
2. Verification Methods are tests, inspections, calculations or other methods, which determine
whether a proposed Building or Plumbing and Drainage Solution complies with the relevant
Performance Requirements. Verification Methods are not limited to using those in the NCC.
Another Verification Method may be used if the appropriate authority is satisfied that it
establishes compliance with the NCC. However, in making a decision, the appropriate
authority may have regard to the relevant Verification Methods or DTS Provisions provided
within the NCC.
3. Comparison with the DTS Provisions allows a comparison between the DTS Provision and a
proposed Building or Plumbing and Drainage Solution. If it can be demonstrated to the
appropriate authority that the Solution complies in an equivalent or superior way to the DTS
Provisions, then it can be deemed to meet the relevant Performance Requirements.
4. Expert Judgement is the judgement of a person who has the qualifications and experience
necessary to determine whether a Building or Plumbing and Drainage Solution complies with
the Performance Requirements. Where physical criteria are unable to be tested or modelled
by calculation, the opinion of a technical expert may be accepted.
3.5. Relevant documentation is identified and completed in accordance with BCA requirements.
Decisions made under the SeA should be fully documented and copies of all relevant
documentation should be retained. Examples of the kind of documentation which should be
prepared and retained include: (a) Details of the Building Solution including all relevant plans and
other supporting documentation. (b) In cases where an Alternative Solution has been proposed- (i)
details of the relevant Performance Requirements: and (ii) the Assessment Method or methods
used to establish compliance with the relevant Performance Requirements; and (iii) details of any
Expert Judgement relied upon including the extent to which the judgement was relied upon and
the qualifications and experience of the expert; and (iv) details of any tests or calculations used to
determine compliance with the relevant Performance Requirements; and (v) details of any
Standards or other information which were relied upon.
Section 24(1)(a) of the Act states that the RBS must not issue a building permit unless he or she is
satisfied that the building work and the building permit will comply with the Act and the Regulations.
In order to do this, the RBS must assess and determine that the information contained in a building
permit application demonstrates compliance with the Act, the Regulations and the building work if
constructed in accordance with the approved documentation. Part 3 of the Regulations establishes
the minimum documentation requirements for an application for a building permit that is to be
submitted to the RBS. It may be the case that more than the minimum documentation required
under Part 3 will be necessary to enable the RBS to make the assessments. As the approval
authority, the RBS must not supplement or augment the application of design documents by either
participating in or preparing designs or submissions or by correcting errors or by making
assumptions as a consequence of poor quality documents. For example: The documents provided to
the RBS must be, but not limited to: a) Clearly document (in the plans) all calculations of building
areas, site areas, site coverage, floor areas, building heights, habitable rooms, windows and secluded
private open space on adjoining allotments in order to enable the RBS to determine compliance with
Part 4 of the Regulations. b) In the case of plans or drawings, contain all necessary notes,
specifications and analysis necessary to enable the RBS to determine compliance with the Act, the
Regulations and the BCA. These may include notes in relation to the construction of sanitary
compartments, location of smoke alarms or a glazing calculation. c) Contain full details of any
Alternative Solution proposed – see Practice Note 2014- Practice Note 2014-62 Issued April 2014
11 Page 2 of 7 d) 63 ‘Alternative Solutions – procedures and documentation’ for
further details. e) Contain all submissions necessary in support of the exercise of discretionary
powers under regulations 608, 609 and 1011. The foregoing is not intended to prevent the RBS
discussing suitability of a proposed design prior to lodgement, however, the applicant must not
place the RBS in a position where the RBS is being called upon to assess his or her own design input.
4. Apply fire protection requirements.
4.1. Passive and active fire control elements for low rise building required by the BCA and other
legislation are identified and applied.
Fire safety requirements Fire safety requirements may differ across the various classes of buildings,
potentially being more complex for buildings of a public nature or residential use when compared
with general commercial buildings such as warehouses and factories. Fire safety requirements can
also be broken down to those methods that make up fire safety systems. These can include a
combination of both passive and active systems such as the construction of fire-rated walls and
ceilings, fire-stop collars separating floors, smoke hazard management, automatic or manual fire
suppression systems and methods such as provision for safe evacuation from the building. These
should be inspected at a time when they are accessible and able to be clearly viewed. An inspection
schedule must be established with consideration given to the complexity of fire safety systems, the
number of storeys in the building and the construction program. For example, a three storey, class 2
building may contain multiple fire safety systems. It may be appropriate that these fire safety
systems are inspected as each level of the building reaches a stage in the construction program that
precedes wall and ceiling finishes. It is beneficial to audit items such as walls, ceilings and service
penetrations for appropriate fire resistance levels. It may be convenient to audit the construction of
those same building elements that include acoustic construction. Other fire safety systems such as
fire detection and alarms can be inspected at a later stage in the construction program which
coincides with testing and commissioning. This can be near the completion of the building work or at
various stages towards the end depending on the type and complexity of the actual system. The
inspection of fire safety system requirements at appropriate times will reduce the risk of these
systems being incorrectly installed. Identifying noncompliant fire safety requirements early in the
construction process will permit corrective or remedial action to be taken without causing further
delays or additional costs to the completed project.
4.2. Level of fire resistance required for the construction of various low rise buildings is
This SECTION provides clarification on the interpretation of fire resistance levels (FRL) as specified in
the Australian Standard AS3959 – ‘Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas’ and the
Building Code of Australia (BCA). FRL’s are extensively used as a performance indicator throughout
the BCA and the AS3959. The NSW Rural Fire Service now recognises FRL’s as a performance
indicator for elements of construction. AS3959 defines the FRL as the nominal grading period, in
minutes, that is determined by subjecting a representative specimen to the standard time
temperature curve regime as set out by Australian Standard AS1530.4 ‘Methods for fire tests on
building materials, components and structures – Fire-resistance test of elements of construction’
(AS1530.4) to specify: Structural Adequacy – The ability of a load bearing element of construction to
support a load when tested in accordance with AS1530.4. Failure for structural adequacy is deemed
to have occurred when the element collapses or the rate of deflection for the element is in excess of
prescribed limits. Integrity – The ability of an element of construction to resist the passage of flames
and hot gases from one space to another when tested in accordance with AS1530.4. Failure for
integrity criteria is deemed to occur when continuous flaming occurs on the nonexposed side of the
test specimen, or when cracks, fissures and other openings through which hot flames and gases can
pass through are present. Insulation – The ability of an element of construction to maintain a
temperature on the surface that is not exposed to the furnace, below the limits specified, when
tested in accordance with AS1530.4. Failure for insulation criteria is deemed to have occurred when
the temperature rise of the non exposed side exceeds predetermined thresholds. The FRL is
expressed in the above order (i.e. structural adequacy/integrity/insulation). For example, a wall that
is required to meet an FRL of 120/60/30 means that the wall must maintain structural adequacy for
120 minutes, integrity for 60 minutes and insulation for 30 minutes, as tested to AS1530.4. A dash in
the FRL means that there is no requirement for that criterion. For more information regarding the
determination of fire resistance levels (FRL), refer to AS1530.4.
Fire Separation Walls
Fire safety is a critical aspect in multi-residential construction. Walls that separate residences are the
major element in multi-residential construction relating to fire safety. Recent changes to the
Standard Building Regulation (1993) have seen fire safety included as a major aspect that must be
checked at the Final Inspection Stage for a Class 1a Building. Incorrect construction or lack of
consideration given to separating wall systems can expose building contractors to excessive
rectification bills. Even worse, loss of property or life, due to a fire spreading between residences can
have serious legal implications for building contractors.
The Building Code of Australia Defines a Class 1a Building as:
 A detached house or
 One or more attached dwellings, each being a building separated by a fire-resistant wall,
including row houses, terrace houses, town houses or villa units. Duplexes and town houses
are the most common form of attached dwellings in residential construction that require fire
separation between adjoining residences.
Fire separation must achieve compliance with the Performance Requirement of the BCA (compliance
with BCA p2.3.1 and be deemed to satisfy BCA P3.7.1.8). The former provision requires that Class 1a
Buildings be protected from the spread of fire from adjacent buildings and the allotment boundary
other than a boundary adjoining a road or public space. The latter deemed to satisfy provision states
that fire separating walls Between Class 1 dwellings must have a continuous fire resistant level (FRL)
of not less than 60/60/60 (a grading rate in minutes for structural adequacy/integrity/insulation) and
commence at the footings extending to the underside of a non-combustible roof covering across
voids in roof spaces between residences and over eaves and verandahs.
This separating wall must not be crossed by timber or any other combustible building elements
except for roof battens with dimensions of 75X50mm. Any gaps between the top of the wall and the
underside of the roof covering should be packed with mineral fibre or other suitable fire resistant
material as recommended by the manufacturer. In the case of combustible roof covers, the fire
separating wall should extend 450mm above the combustible material.
Fire Separation Walls
 Should extend completely to the underside of the roof
 Mineral fibre should be in place between the wall and to the underside of the roof sheeting
 Should be fully sealed to the roof with no penetrations
 Should have no timber penetrations except for roof battens greater than 75X50mm
 There should be no gap greater than 50mm between the wall and underside of the roof
which should be packed with mineral fibre
A Fire Separation Wall is a wall with appropriate resistance to spread of fire that divides a storey or
building into a fire compartment
Ceilings Should be Constructed
 as per the CSR Gyprock Fire and Acoustic Design Guide
 Of 2 layers of 16mm Gyprock Fyrcheck plasterboard… or
 Perforated gypsum lath with a normal paper finish… or
 12mm fibrous plaster reinforced with 13mm X 13mm X 0.7 galvanised steel wire mesh
located not more than 6mm from the exposed face… or
 Fibre-cement sheeting… or
 Pre-finished metal sheeting not exceeding 1mm thick… or
 12mm cellulose cement flat sheeting
External Walls and Soffits
 External walls should extend to the underside of the soffit and preferably to the outside by
more than 900mm
 External walls including gables are required to be of masonry-veneer or masonry
construction 90mm thick
 Soffits should have a non-combustible eaves lining
 Where the external wall does not extend to the underside of the roof, mineral fibre should
be included
Building Between Units
 The garage between the units should be single, walled to the height of the roof space and of
non- combustible material
 The carport between buildings should be more than 2/3 enclosed
Roof Lights Must be
 non-combustible
 an aggregate area not more than 20% of roof or part of the roof
 not less than 900mm from the allotment boundary other than the boundary adjoining a road
or other public space
 1.800mm apart from any roof light or another building or detached part of the same building
Carports and Boundary Clearances
 Units should be correctly separated from carports
 Boundary clearances should be greater than 900mm
Major Issues Involving Fire Separation
 Binders for trusses being carried through fire separating walls
 Numerous penetrations being made through separating walls that break down the fire rating
 Separating walls not being carried through to the underside of the roof sheeting and packed
with an appropriate fire resistant material to manufacturer’s specifications
 Gaps not being packed between separating walls and external wall construction
 Inadequate protection to roof spaces of eaves, verandahs and voids that are common to
more than one unit/dwelling
 Valley gutters crossing fire separating walls (a separating wall must not be crossed by timber
or any other combustible product with exception of roof battens with dimensions of
75X50mm or less or roof sarking)
 Non-compliance with the manufacturer’s tested fire separating wall system
 Electrical power points/switches placed back to back in the separating wall
Reason for Firewall Failure
 Approved plans and specifications which do not provide details of every construction
application related to fire separating wall systems
 Builders not adhering to proper fire separating wall installation requirements
 Building supervisors not providing adequate information and supervision to installers of fire
separating wall systems
 Installers or trade contractors not possessing an adequate understanding of how to
construct a continuous fire separating wall system
Corrective Measures
Proper construction of separating walls starts at the footings and slab. Engineer’s details should be
closely followed to ensure sufficient support for separating walls, in particular masonry walls. The
detail of finishing the top of the wall to the underside of roof coverings is an important aspect and
must be complete to fine tolerances.
Close consideration must also be given to construction of separating walls in relation to verandah
and eaves overhangs. Another area to be closely checked is the vertical gap between the end of the
separating wall and the inner face of external brickwork.
All trades involved in work related to separating walls e.g. electricians and plumbers should be
advised that penetrations or chasing into separating walls is not permitted for Class 1a Buildings.
To Ensure Firewalls are Properly Constructed
 Details on approved plans for construction should be closely followed
 Proper materials should be employed & all manufacturer’s recommendations adhered to
 The designer and building certifier should be closely consulted;
 All trades involved with work on separating walls should be licensed, informed and
 Inspections should be conducted by a building certifier responsible for approving the
building work
Builders should maintain full documentation on fire separating wall design details, manufacturer’s
recommendations, installation compliance certificates (where applicable) and ensure that they can
satisfy compliance with building certifier’s requirements.
4.3. Check of existing buildings for compliance with passive and active fire protection
requirements is carried out in accordance with BCA requirements.
Active/Passive fire protection systems
Active measures involved the control of smoke spread, detection and communication process that informs
the occurrence of a fire outbreak and triggers some sort of counteraction towards design and in addition
augment the active measures. It is a proactive approach extinguishing the fire.
Passive measures more concerned with building structures integrity, compartmentation and the integrity of
the building envelope.
Passive Fire Protection is an all encompassing fire safety concept which embraces the passive measures in
fire containment taken at the building design stage, aimed at addressing a comprehensive solution to the
fire problem”.
Active Fire Protection
Modern buildings built under the strict design and buildings codes of today have many fire protection
systems installed by default. These systems assist with detection and response to fire related emergencies.
If you have questions or maintenance issues in regards to any of this equipment, please contact the Property
and Campus Services – Maintenance Department
Fire Break Glass Alarm (B.G.A.)
Buildings fitted with a “Fire – Break Glass Alarm” allow occupants to activate the fire alarm and alert the fire
brigade easily. The red panel on the wall houses a small button that when depressed will contact the Fire
Brigade. The Fire Brigade will respond instantly to the building. You should always try to ring University
Security on x46666 to confirm the fire.
The glass, or perspex material is easy to break with your fist, elbow or a pen. Smashing the glass will
sometimes activate the button automatically.
Fire Control Systems
Some buildings or sections of buildings are fitted with automatically activated sprinkler
heads. On activation, the sprinklers discharge a fine mist of water to
extinguish/contain a fire.
In other special risk locations such as flammable liquids storerooms, computer rooms
(main frames), flood systems are used to extinguish fire. Where gaseous flooding
systems are installed in normally occupied areas (e.g. computer rooms), a warning
alarm is sounded prior to the discharge of gas into the room. A warning notice instructing personnel what to
do should also be displayed.
Fire Indicator Panel (F.I.P.)
The F.I.P. is the hub of the fire alarm system in a building. It is usually located on the
ground floor near an entrance close to the nearest road. The panel may be located in
a cabinet or on a wall. On the panel is a number of lights and buttons. These lights
“indicate” which fire sensor has activated in the building.
The F.I.P. will automatically notify the fire brigade of an alarm when one of its sensors locates a fire. The
F.I.P. will usually talk to the E.W.I.S. (where installed) and notify the building occupants that they need to
Fire Doors
Fire doors are installed to minimise the spread of fire, including the passage of smoke through a building.
Fire doors may be automatically operated by heat activated mechanisms or smoke detectors. The securing
of fire doors must be such that persons leaving an area via the fire door can do so without the use of keys or
similar at all times. Fire doors must not be wedged open.
Smoke and Thermal Fire Detectors
The detection system in buildings may sense either heat or smoke or a combination of these. Smoke
detectors are increasingly being used because of their earlier warning of an emergency situation. Smoke
detectors may also be used to activate fire doors to isolate zones in the building.
Portable Fire Extinguishers
Portable fire fighting equipment such as fire extinguishers are designed to provide the user with an
appliance to attend a small fire during its initial stage.
Fire Hose Reels & Fire Hydrants
Canvas fire hoses attached to or adjacent to fire hydrant points are installed only for use by the Fire Brigade.
They must not be used by untrained personnel
Passive Fire Protection
There are many passive fire protection systems available to reduce the rise in temperature of steel members
when exposed to elevated temperatures in a fire situation. Buchanan, (2001), states that fire resistance
rating of a protected steel member although determined by calculations and depends on factors such as
properties of protection material and fire temperature, there has to be some assurance of the fire resistance
rating. This usually is achieved by full-scale testing of the structural system incorporating fire protection
material, thus validating the effectiveness of the protection material used for specified fire duration in a real
fire situation.
Protection systems commonly used to increase the fire resistance rating of steel members are listed below
and briefly explained (Buchanan, 2001).
 Concrete encasement,
 Board systems
 Spray- on systems
 Intumescent paints
 Timber encasing
 Concrete filling
 Water filling, and
 Flame shields
Concrete encasement involves pouring of concrete in the formwork housing the steel members.
Reinforcement is provided to hold concrete in place during a fire situation and the required thickness of the
concrete is determined from the design codes. A certain disadvantage of this form of protection is that it
results in increased construction costs and bulky structural members.
Board systems are mainly developed using calcium silicate or gypsum plaster. Calcium silicate boards are
made of an inert material that is designed to remain in place during the duration of the fire. Gypsum boards
have good insulating properties as well, and its resistance in fire is enhanced by the presence of water in the
board which vaporise in elevated temperatures. This reaction provides a time delay when the board reaches
about 100 C, but reduces the strength of the board after exposure to fire. Advantages of this form of
protection system are that it is easy installation and finishing enhancing the aesthetic aspects of design.
Spray-on protection system is usually the cheapest form of fire protection for steel members. Materials
used for this method usually are cement-based with some form of glass or cellulosic fibrous reinforcing to
hold the material together. The disadvantage of this method is that the application is a wet and messy one
and the finished work is not aesthetically attractive. This form of fire protection is usually applied to beams
rather than columns because it can be easily damaged due to soft material composition. Structural
components such as bolts, steel brackets are likely to be protected with the spray-on protection system
because other forms of protection might be difficult.
Intumescent paint is a special paint that swells into a thick char when it is exposed to elevated temperatures
enhancing the fire rating of the steel member beneath. The advantage of this protecting system is that the
application is a quick process, is less bulky and the member can be simply painted over thus not
deteriorating the appearance of the steelwork. The disadvantage being that it is more expensive than other
systems such as board and spray-on systems.
Using timber boards to encase structural members is another method of fire protecting system. The timber
used has to be well seasoned and a thermosetting adhesive are usually used to firmly fix the boarding over
the structural members.
Concrete filling is mainly used for hollow steel sections to improve their fire performance. An advantage of
the system is that external protection is not required and can increase the load bearing capacity of that
member. The infill concrete can be reinforced or be in the form of plain concrete.
Water filling system works in a similar principle to concrete filling where hollow steel sections are filled with
water. The in filled water has some additives added in order to prevent corrosion. This form of protection
requires plumbing systems to ensure water will flow in the members by convection and excessive pressure is
not developed by heated water. It is only used in special structures and is considered expensive when
compared with other systems.
Flame shields are used to protect external structural steelwork from radiation by flames exiting through the
window openings. Usually architectural claddings are installed to form the shields
AS 1530.4 – 2.11 Criteria of Failure
Loss of loadbearing capacity:
Limit or rate of deflection:
For flexural elements: D = L/20 * D = L2/9000d, * not before L30 is exceeded
For vertical elements: no specific requirements
d = distance from top structural section to bottom design tension zone
Loss of integrity:
Failure upon collapse when cracks, fissure or other openings through which flames or hot gases can pass
Loss of insulation:
Temperature rise: +140°C average or,
+180°C max.
Passive fire protection deals with the design of a building for adequate load bearing resistance and for
limiting fire spread under fire conditions. Structural Fire Engineering is generally categorized in this
Fire Protection Engineering
Fire Protection Engineering comprises active and passive ways of providing satisfactory protection level to
buildings and/or its contents from fires.
Sound design for guaranteeing fire safety of buildings
Design Specifications
 Layout of the facility
 Construction materials
 Potential ventilation openings
 Interconnections among compartments
 Location of concealed spaces
 Proposed egress routes
 Anticipated fuel load (type & quantity)
 Functions in the building
 Passive fire protection systems
 Active fire protection systems
 Occupant load and characteristics
Failure Criteria for Compartmentation
AS 1530.4 – 2.11 Criteria of Failure
Compartment Failure or Failure of the Enclosure??
 Criteria for compartment failure or structural failure as given in Standardised test requirements
provide a means of ranking the performance of materials and products under a specific set of
 The objective of defining a compartment is to prevent fire spread. In dealing with real fires in real
buildings we should therefore dispense with the traditional approach of defining a compartment but
quantify the ability of fire to spread from an enclosure.
Building Code of Australia
Fire resistant Construction
 Type A
 Type B
 Type C
C1.1 Type of construction required
The minimum Type of fire-resisting construction of a building must be that specified in Table
C1.1 and Specification C1.1, except as allowed for—
(i) certain Class 2, 3 or 9c buildings in C1.5; and
* * * * *
open spectator stands and indoor sports stadiums in C1.7.
* * * * *
Type A construction is the most fire-resistant and Type C the least fire-resistant of the Types
of construction.
Rise in storeys
Class of building
2, 3, 9
5, 6, 7, 8
3 A B
2 B C
1 C C
BCA extract
Fire-resistance of building elements. In a building required to be of Type A construction—
(a) each building element listed in Table 3 and any beam or column incorporated in it, must
have an FRL not less than that listed in the Table for the particular Class of building
concerned; and
(b) external walls, common walls and the flooring and floor framing of lift pits must be noncombustible; and
(c) any internal wall required to have an FRL with respect to integrity and insulation must
extend to—
the underside of the floor next above; or
the underside of a roof complying with Table 3; or
(iii) if under Clause 3.5 the roof is not required to comply with Table 3, the
underside of the non-combustible roof covering and, except for roof battens with
dimensions of 75 mm x 50 mm or less or roof sarking, must not be crossed by timber or
other combustible building elements; or
(iv) a ceiling that is immediately below the roof and has a resistance to the
incipient spread of fire to the roof space between the ceiling and the roof of not less than
60 minutes; and
(d) a load bearing internal wall and a load bearing fire wall (including those that are part of
a load bearing shaft) must be of concrete or masonry; and
(e) a non- load bearing—
(i) internal wall required to be fire-resisting; and
(ii) lift, ventilating, pipe, garbage, or similar shaft that is not for the discharge of
hot products of combustion, must be of non-combustible construction; and
(f) the FRLs specified in Table 3 for an external column apply also to those parts of an
internal column that face and are within 1.5 m of a window and are exposed through that
window to a fire-source feature.Table 3.9 Requirements for carparks
Fire- resistance of building elementsIn a building required to be of Type B construction—
(a) each building element listed in Table 4, and any beam or column incorporated in it,
must have an FRL not less than that listed in the Table for the particular Class of building
concerned; and
(b) the external walls, common walls, and the flooring and floor framing in any lift pit, must
be non-combustible; and
(c) if a stair shaft supports any floor or a structural part of it—and
(d) any internal wall which is required to have an FRL with respect to integrity and
insulation, except a wall that bounds a sole-occupancy unit in the topmost (or only) storey
and there is only one unit in that storey, must extend to— and
(e) a loadbearing internal wall and a loadbearing fire wall (including those that are part of a
loadbearing shaft ) must be of concrete or masonry; and
a non- loadbearing internal wall required to be fire-resisting must be of noncombustible construction; and
(f) in a Class 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 building, in the storey immediately below the roof, internal
columns and internal walls other than fire walls and shaft walls, need not comply with Table
4; and
lift, subject to C2.10, ventilating, pipe, garbage, and similar shafts which are not for the
discharge of hot products of combustion and not loadbearing, must be of non-combustible
construction in—and
(g) in a Class 2 or 3 building, except where within the one sole-occupancy unit, or a Class 9a
health-care building or a Class 9b building, a floor separating storeys or above a space for
the accommodation of motor vehicles or used for storage or any other ancillary purpose
2.1 Exposure to fire-source features
(a) A part of a building element is exposed to a fire-source feature if any of the horizontal
s traight lines between that part and the fire-source feature, or vertical projection of the
feature, is not obstructed by another part of the building that—
(i) has an FRL of not less than 30/–/–; and
(ii) is neither transparent nor translucent.
(b) A part of a building element is not exposed to a fire-source feature if the fire-source
feature is—
(i) an external wall of another building that stands on the allotment and the part
concerned is more than 15 m above the highest part of thatexternal wall; or
(ii) a side or rear boundary of the allotment and the part concerned is below the
level of the finished ground at every relevant part of the boundary concerned.
(c) If various distances apply for different parts of a building element—
(i) the entire element must have the FRL applicable to that part having the least
distance between itself and the relevant fire-source feature; or
(ii) each part of the element must have the FRL applicable according to its
individual distance from the relevant fire-source feature,
but this provision does not override or permit any exemption from Clause 2.2.
Fire protection for a support of another part
(a) Where a part of a building required to have an FRL depends upon direct vertical or
lateral support from another part to maintain its FRL, that supporting part, subject to (b),
(i) have an FRL not less than that required by other provisions of this Specification;
(ii) if located within the same fire compartment as the part it supports have an FRL
in respect of structural adequacy the greater of that required—
(A) for the supporting part itself; and
(B) for the part it supports; and
(iii) be non-combustible—
(A)if required by other provisions of this Specification; or
(B)if the part it supports is required to be non-combustible.
(b) The following building elements need not comply with (a)(ii) and (a)(iii)(B):
(i) An element providing lateral support to an external wall complying with Clause
5.1(b) or C1.11.
An element providing support within a carpark and complying with Clause 3.9,
A roof providing lateral support in a building—
(A)of Type A construction if it complies with Clause 3.5(a), (b) or (d); and
(B)of Type B and C construction.
A column providing lateral support to a wall where the column complies with
Clause 2.5(a) and (b).
An element providing lateral support to a fire wall or fire-resisting wall,
provided the wall is supported on both sides and failure of the element on one side does not
affect the fire performance of the wall.
Vertical and lateral support
Fire behaviour of steel members penetrating concrete walls
The measurement of heat release rate (HRR) and smoke production rate (SPR) are direct
indicators of the fire hazard. The growth of the HRR enables a lining material to be classified
with respect to time based on if or when flashover occurs. The measurements of gas species,
percentage of flame spread area over the lining surface, and compartment temperatures
and smoke layer height, are compared to confirm that the conditions generated are
consistent with the primary parameters of HRR and SPR and accurately reflect the fire
3.5 Roof: Concession
A roof need not comply with Table 3 if its covering is non-combustible and the building—
has a sprinkler system complying with Specification E1.5 installed throughout; or
has a rise in storeys of 3 or less; or
is of Class 2 or 3; or
has an effective height of not more than 25 m and the ceiling immediately below the
roof has a resistance to the incipient spread of fire to the roof space of not
less than 60 minutes.
Key Factors for Time-Equivalent Analysis
When a fire reaches a stage where there is full involvement of the combustibles within a
compartment (known as flashover), the intensity of the heat in the hot smoke layer will
cause glazing and non-fire resisting facades to fail, allowing hot gases to escape (see Figure
Similarly, openings to atria will also allow hot gases to escape. The temperatures reached in
a compartment and the duration of a fire depend on natural ventilation through openings to
atria and glazing or non-fire resisting facades that fail in a fire.
Mechanism of Fire Spread
• Conduction
(Heat transfer to another body or
within a body by direct contact.)
• Radiation
(Heat transfer by way of electromagnetic
• Convection
(Heat transfer by circulation within a
medium, such as a gas or a liquid.)
• Pyrolysis
(The transformation of a compound into one or more other substances by heat alone.
Pyrolysis often precedes combustion. Irreversible chemical decomposition caused by heat,
usually without combustion.)
• Mass transfer
• In a fire engineering approach the conditions for failure and its consequences should be
set in a qualitative design review for the particular building or structure concerned.
• Some of these may be more or less onerous than the traditional specifications given in
Standardised test methods but should be prescribed to suit the particular circumstances and
their potential impact on the overall safety of the building and its occupants.
• All enclosures can initially be considered as a compartment until one of the conditions for
fire spread has been achieved.
Methods of Direct Fire Spread
A simply supported beam will fail as soon as one plastic hinge forms in the beam.
At this point the flexural capacity of the beam is same as the applied moments.

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