Australia Building Codes

Freshman (College 1st year) ・Architecture ・APA ・4 Sources

BCA is the "Building Code of Australia", a professional guide for a complete set of systems for modeling and developing buildings and other construction projects. These principles are formulated and maintained by the Australian Building Code Board (ABCB), and are dealt with by the Construction Act of 1975 (Association, 2016). An analysis is conducted and new revisions are included each year to incorporate various professional and administrative changes. BCA focuses on the following issues; fire resistance, access routes, occupant health and comfort guidelines, energy, efficiency, sustainability and structural adequacy. In this regard, the focus of this article will be on regulations and standards that affect the compliance of various types of construction projects for various medium size buildings.

Sydney Royal Hotel Building

The structure is located on the Great Western Highway, South Bowenfels (Government, 2017). Mainly, it is a rectangular symmetrical stone formation; 2-storey with garret rooms and dormers. Moreover, two chimneys extend above the trendy roof arrangement, formerly twelve pane windows, which were altered in the recent past. The building has a sandstone extension on one part with a gabled roof that includes a brick parapet. Notably, a classic rock rectangular shed at the rear has been elevated in cinder block situated within the interior façade modifications, thus, heightening the gabled roof. The hotel offers accommodation with a variety of Australian delicacies (Government, 2017).

The Sydney Royal hotel is a structure categorized under class 3. According to Volume 1 of Building Code of Australia, this group comprises residential houses, unlike category 1 or 2, which are familiar places of transient or long-term residence for a number of unrelated individuals. Buildings comprise a guest space, a boarding residence, lodging, hostel or backpackers’ take in or a residential part of a hotel or motel (Board, 2016). Additionally, the hotel is a medium size structure that requires type A construction, since it is a high occupant edifice that should be most fire resistant. Furthermore, the structure lies under the 25 meters effective height

Fire Safety systems

National Construction Code, NCC’s prerequisites for fire protection enable expedites denizen life safety in the occasion of a blaze and reduces destruction of adjacent structures. However, extensive fortification of a structure is not an obligation (Board, 2016). Developing a fire safety scheme can involve one or many protection measures, with each being classified as passive or active. The designs are categorized into five groups:

  1. Suppress fire
  2. Warn individuals of an emergency
  3. Restrain the spread of fire
  4. Allow for safe evacuation or
  5. Consolidate the above measures

Passive fire protection schemes work without changing their condition when subjected initially to flames. They include smoke proof doors, fire brigade accessibility, unhampered open space, and fireproof building materials, construction elements that prevent the nascent spread of flames, and protective integuments (Board, 2016). On the other hand, active fire protection strategies execute under stimulation by sensing smoke, specific gases or heat, or enforced manually to contain fire (Board, 2016). The plans include fire hose reels, retardant coverings, smoke alarms, extinguishers, sprinkler systems, smoke detectors and fire hydrants (Board, 2016).

Although the current buildings are supposed to consist of a consolidation of fire safety approaches, they may not comprise a similar scope of plans as would be required in the present-day construction of identical size and classification (Board, 2016). Consequently, this effect may be a combination of actual codes, which tend to rely on passive fire protection strategies to a greater extent than the current NCC deemed-to- Satisfy Provisions. As such, the consolidation of active and passive fire protection strategies within this contemporary building may be satisfactory to adhere to the requirements of particular performance.

Acceptable BCA Volume 1 Construction practices for fire protection systems

The Building Codes of Australia Vol. 1 outlines relevant practices that should be adopted in the implementation of fire safety strategies. First, in CP2, it states that a structure should have materials that will, to the extent required, prevent fire from spreading to the exits, sole-inhabitant units, and public passageways, between and to the interior of a structure (Board, 2016). CP2, to doors and sole-inhabitancy and public passageways, is a requirement to category 2 or 3 building or category 4 portion of a structure (Board, 2016). Secondly, CP3 states that a structure must be safeguarded from smoke and fire escalation to allow adequate time for organized clearing of the structure in case of an emergency (Board, 2016). Additionally, section 4 outlines that to uphold acceptable conditions amid denizen evacuation, an assembly, and materials should, to the extent required, thwart fire escalation and restrict the production of any poisonous gases, heat, and smoke expected to be generated (Board, 2016). More importantly, CP5 outlines that a concrete exterior wall that can break as a whole panel like precast and tilt-up concrete is required so that that in case of fire epidemic amid the structure, the possibility of outward breakdown can be shunned (Board, 2016). Notably, this is not put to use in a structure that has more than 2 storey surpassing the surface level. Regarding consolidation of fire protection systems, it states in CP7 that a structure is required to have units, which will, to the extent required, thwart fire escalation so that emergency apparatus presented in the structure will continue operating for sometimes to assure that the expected purpose of the equipment is upheld amid fire outbreak (Board, 2016).

Further, volume 1 provides materials that can be observed in the creation of a structure to prevent fire escalation. For instance, in C1.12, it lists non-combustibles that may be regarded as fiber-reinforced cement sheeting, plasterboard, fibrous-plaster sheet, gypsum piling with holes and a basic paper accomplishment; bond laminated materials and pre-finished metal sheeting (Board, 2016).

Preparation of a performance solution

A performance solution is defined as an approach of adhering to the accomplishment obligations other than through a Deemed-to-Satisfy Solution. In the development of a fire hydrant accomplishment solution, the specifications according to vol. 1 of the construction codes provides that a fire hydrant scheme, to the extent necessary, expedite the requirements of fire brigade applicable to; fire-fighting efforts, the floor space of the structure and fire hazards (Board, 2016).

For assessment, the BCA vol. 2 outlines the following methods to be applied independently or in any combination to decide whether the solution complies with fire hydrant performance requirements. First, it can use evidence that supports the proposed fire hydrant design to conform to the provisions of a system’s performance as stipulated in BCA Volume 1 (Board, 2016). Further, verification approaches such as the substantiation approach in BCA and other certification methods, which the relevant authority accepts for conformity with the performance requirements (Board, 2016). More importantly, a contrast to the Deemed-to-satisfy outlines may be used to assess the system. Also, expert judgment may be used in the appraisal.

As proof that the fire hydrant system conforms to the requirements of relevant performance, documentation is vital. The first manuscript will be the certificate of Accreditation issued by the ABCB or the Territory accreditation, indicating the features and accomplishment of the system. Additionally, the Certificate of Conformity will be required to specify the design’s full requirements of the fire hydrant provisions (Board, 2016). The document is issued by ABCB. As such, the State Housing Authority will decide if the performance solution is viable for approval or rejection.


The board of Australian Building Codes plays a crucial role in the following areas of concern; fire resistance, access, and egress, guidelines for health and comfort of occupants, energy and efficiency and sustainability, and structural adequacy. The code provides instructions on how buildings are classified and the safety requirements that should be upheld. For instance, it stipulates the fire safety measures and how they should be maintained to ensure the wellbeing of residents. Therefore, the Australian Building Codes Board should be protected to ensure strict conformity of structures to the National Construction Standards


Association, Q. M. (2016). Master Builders Queensland. Retrieved from Building Code of Australia:

Board, A. B. (2016). Building Code of Australia. Canberra: Australian Building Codes Board.

Board, A. B. (2016). National Construction Code. The Australian Building Codes Board.

The government, N. (2017, November). NSW Government. Retrieved from Royal Hotel:

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