New Guidelines - Occupation Certificates and Written Direction Notices - NSW
04 Jan 2020
As 1 December 2019, new provisions in Part 6 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A) have commenced including new provisions for Occupation Certificates (OC) and Written Directions Notices (Directions). This includes the removal of the term "interim OC" from the EP&A Act.
Two links provided below will give you more information:
Challenges to Law Enforcement when dealing with Cybercrime - Dr Maher Magrabi
02 Jan 2020
Governments across the world are struggling to keep up with the growing threat of cybercrime and the evolving techniques used by its practitioners. The Australian law enforcement in particular, is struggling to respond to the transnational nature of cybercrime, the evolution of technologies in encryption and the widespread distribution of computing and cloud computing.
Check out this article which details these issues and proposes a way forward by clicking link below:
Approved bushfire bunkers?
02 Jan 2020
Every year Australians are surprised by the ferocity of bushfires and shattered when their properties are destroyed. We need to plan appropriately for living in bushfire-prone areas because, as the current crisis demonstrates, they are only becoming more devastating.
Property protection measures should include mandatory installation of rooftop sprinkler systems, use of fire-resistant housing materials, appropriate housing design and more rigorous management of the local combustible environment.
Could approved bushfire bunkers be a solution?
ABCB survey on Performance Solutions
15 Sep 2019
If you are involved in the development or assessment of Performance Solutions, the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), invites you to complete a short survey to provide your views on this topic. The survey closes 11:59pm Thursday, 26 September 2019
To Complete the Survey here:
NSW Government Cladding Support Taskforce
14 Sep 2019
To ensure that fire safety and cladding issues are prioritized and adequately addressed, The NSW Government has established a Fire Safety and External Wall Cladding Taskforce.
This taskforce is led by the Department of Finance, Service and Innovation and includes representatives from NSW Fair Trading, the Data Analytics Centre, the Department of Planning and Environment, Fire and Rescue NSW, the Office of Local Government, Treasury and the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
The Taskforce will provide expertise on fire safety and building codes and streamline information between Councils and State Governments. The Taskforce will ensure assessments are performed to a superior level and work the council to ensure this is achieved.
The NSW Government Publication, Guide for the Assessment of Buildings with Combustible Cladding assists authorities and Councils to determine factors required to consider in an assessment and the level of complexity of each building. assessment tools and methodologies links are also detailed.
For Guide for the Assessment of Buildings with Combustible Cladding
Available Resources include:
QBCC Fire Engineering Statement for Combustible Cladding
10 Sep 2019
QBCC Safer Buildings Publish New Form Fire Engineering Statement for Combustible Cladding.
To Learn More
AS 1530.4:2014 NCC Update
01 Sep 2019
Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) has recently published a new Information Bulletin (IB-17) regarding the change to the reference of Australian Standard AS 1530.4:2014 in Volume One of the National Construction Code (NCC) 2019.
This Information Bulletin provides information and guidance on the relevant evidence of suitability required by NCC 2019 and the indicated change in required evidence of suitability from 1 May 2022 as a result of the change to this note
To Learn More
The Society of Fire Safety (SFS) is Celebrating Its 25th anniversary
19 Aug 2019
To commemorate this milestone, SFS is hosting a full day Seminar at Engineers Australia's Melbourne office followed by a Celebration Dinner.
The Seminar will showcase presentations themed as "SFS 25 Years On - Where is Fire Safety Engineering in Australia Heading ?"
For Further Details
BUSTING COMMON CERTIFIER MYTHS
15 Aug 2019
Recent press coverage has shown the limited understanding of the statutory role and responsibilities of NSW Accredited Certifiers. Read more about the common myths surrounding building certification in NSW
ABCB Advisory Note on Timber Framing and Non-Combustible Materials
22 July 2019
A new Advisory Note for Class 2 and 3 buildings: Concessions for use of timber framing and/or non-combustible materials has been released.
It explains the intent of the concession in Specification C1.1, Clauses 3.10 (a) and 4.3 (a) of NCC Volume One. The concessions apply to residential apartment buildings (Class 2) and residential parts of hotels, motels, boarding houses and the like (Class 3), typically with a height between 2 and 4 storeys. Single dwellings (Class 1) regardless of their height, and a number of Class 2 or Class 3 buildings of 2 storeys in height, are not subject to the non-combustibility requirements and therefore the concessions are not relevant to these buildings.
World-First Program to Tackle High-Risk Cladding
16 July 2019
The Victorian Government will establish a world-first program to tackle high-risk cladding involving a $600 million package to fix buildings with combustible façade cladding.
The grants will fund rectification works on hundreds of buildings, found to have high-risk cladding, ensure safety and compliance with relevant building regulations.
New Fire Safety Engineering Research Calls for Major Overhaul
01 July 2019
New research from the Warren Centre recommends fire safety design and verification methods should be clearly defined, with neither process interfering with the other.
The research, Fire Safety Engineering: The Methods Report, makes several recommendations, including:
- Revising the Fire Safety Verification Methods so they respect the independence of the design process and adequately verify that Performance Requirements are met.
- Updating the International Fire Safety Engineering Guidelines and phasing out previous editions; and
- Clarifying the purpose of Practice Guides to ensure they are compatible with existing articles of reference.
FIRE SAFETY CHANGES in NCC 2019
17 March 2019
New DTS Provisions for fire sprinkler systems, for apartment buildings and other residential buildings (i.e. Class 2 and 3 buildings) 4 storeys and above and up to 25 metres in effective height (generally those buildings 4 to 8 storeys).
OCCUPIABLE OUTDOOR AREAS
New DTS Provisions clarifying requirements for occupiable outdoor areas, such as roof-top bars and cinemas.
FIRE SAFETY VM
A new, non-mandatory VM for fire safety introduced (NCC Schedule 7). This VM can be used for developing a Performance Solution for up to 24 Performance Requirements. Its adoption will be delayed until 1 May 2020 to allow time for training and support.
Please contact Lote Consulting for further information on how these changes will impact on your project.
NSW CLADDING REGULATIONS
17 March 2019
New laws require building owners to register certain buildings with combustible cladding with the NSW Government. The FAQs provides more guidance to Building Owners.
On the background to the NSW Cladding Regulation here
Damage from a fire at the Neo200 apartment building on Spencer St in Melbourne (Ref: MFB)
A more Cost Effective Way to address Existing ACP Cladding
12 March 2019
Dr Nguyen from the Fire and Façade Group at RMIT says there's a cheaper way that's just as safe: introduce vertical firebreaks.
SPRINKLER TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS AWARENESS SEMINARS
10 March 2019
FPA Australia in collaboration with the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition will be hosting a national seminar series in April on the new requirements for residential sprinklers in the National Construction Code 2019. The seminar will cover new automatic fire sprinkler Technical Specifications referenced in NCC 2019, FPAA101D and FPAA101H, the relevant Deemed to Satisfy Provisions, and the background to the new residential sprinkler requirements.
Association of Accredited Certifiers launches 8-point plan for NSW Building Reform
01 March 2019
The 8-point plan to reform building in NSW from the Association of Accredited Certifiers (AAC) calls on the next NSW Government to implement these vital reforms in its first 100 days in office.
NSW Government recognises FPAS Accreditation Scheme
27 February 2019
The Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme (FPAS) will be formally recognised in NSW after a phase-in period of approximately 12 months. After this time the NSW Government will recognise as 'Competent Fire Safety Practitioners (CFSP) individuals who hold the appropriate class of FPAS accreditation.
New Education Campaign on the Role of the Certifier
Private and Council Accredited Certifiers - Ensuring your Safety
05 December 2018
The AAC has embarked on education campaign "Private and Council Accredited Certifiers - Ensuring your Safety" to inform the community about the important work Accredited Certifiers do in the community.
Accredited Certifiers support the development of housing and other building projects in NSW.
To commence building work or to subdivide land you are generally required by law to obtain approvals. Accredited Certifiers are responsible for issuing these approvals and ensuring safety.
An Accredited Certifier:
- can only be appointed by the owner of the property
- is not responsible for the quality of the building work
- must be paid upfront so they can't be pressured to issue approvals or certificates prematurely
- assesses the plans and specifications and if correct, issues the Construction Certificate where necessary
- ensures the work is proceeding according to the approval documentation through government mandated inspections
An Accredited Certifier does not:
- have input in the Development Consent issued by the Council
- attend the site at all times
- supervise the building work for or on behalf of the owner or builder
- act as a clerk of works on the project or administer the building contract
Private and Council Accredited Certifiers are a vital part of the NSW economy.
Combustible Cladding Reform Update
05 December 2018
Following the tragic fire at the Grenfell Tower in London in 2017 and the fire at the Lacrosse Building in Melbourne in 2014, new laws have been made for buildings with combustible cladding. These laws are part of a whole-of-government response to the potential fire safety risks posed by combustible cladding.
The new regulation with came into effect from 22-October-2018 are:
Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Identification of Buildings with Combustible Cladding) Regulation 2018: Click here to View/Download
State Environmental Planning Policy Amendment (Exempt
Development - Cladding and Decorative Work) 2018:
Click here to View/Download
Under the regulation, owners of certain buildings with external combustible cladding are required to register their building with the NSW Government through a simple, user-friendly online portal.
There are also new provisions in the regulation that require the referral of certain Alternative Solutions or Performance Solutions under the Building Code of Australiainvolving external combustible cladding to be referred to Fire and Rescue NSW.
The NSW Government has also amended eight State Environmental Planning Policies concerning the approval process for new cladding, re-cladding and decorative work on buildings.
What to expect from NCC 2019
04 December 2018
The ABCB recently gave consideration to the content of the 2019 edition of the NCC. Some of the key changes from the 2016 edition can be viewed at:
R U OK Day - Thursday 13 September 2018
02 September 2018
Next Thursday is R U OK Day. This inspirational initiative seeks to inspire and empower us to meaningfully connect with others and support anyone struggling with life.
With eight Australians dying every day from suicide, it is a topic we must confront. Research shows the risk of suicide increases when someone feels isolated and believes they are a burden on others. We can be part of a culture that values meaningful connections with others. An R U OK Day toolkit focused on the workplace is available here.
New website for QLD cladding legislation
02 September 2018
The Queensland Government has launched a new 'Safer Buildings' website for building owners on the state's new mandatory combustible cladding checklist at https://www.saferbuildings.qld.gov.au
The new Building and Other Legislation (Cladding) Amendment Regulation 2018, which comes into effect on 1 October 2018, applies to buildings that are:
- Are class 2-9;
- Are of a type A or B construction; and
- Are built, or have had the cladding altered, after
1 January 1994 but before 1 October 2018.
The site allows owners to register and begin the three-stage process to identify buildings in the state with potentially combustible cladding. The process requires a preliminary risk checklist, followed by an 'industry professional statement' for at-risk buildings, and finally requiring a building fire safety risk assessment by a fire engineer
NCC taskforce proposed at BMF-industry meeting
02 September 2018
The COAG Building Ministers' Forum (BMF) meeting earlier in August included an Industry Forum of peak industry bodies and professional association representatives from the building and construction sector, of which Fire Protection Association Australia (FPA Australia) was one.
During the Industry Forum, the representatives shared their views on the recommendations of the Shergold-Weir report, Building Confidence - Improving the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement systems for the building & construction industry across Australia. There was a consistent theme to responses, demonstrating a united resolve by industry to assist governments in implementing the Shergold-Weir recommendations.
The industry presented a combined proposal to the BMF on how to address the next steps following the report's recommendations, including regular meetings between industry and the BMF, and critically the establishment of a new taskforce between government and industry to oversee nationally-consistent regulatory reforms.
The proposed taskforce is intended to draw together government and industry to manage the development of a model administrative code for the National Construction Code (NCC) to harmonise requirements and compliance with the NCC across all states and territories wherever possible. Nationally-consistent implementation is critical to the success of the Shergold-Weir report's recommendations.
NSW Ban on Aluminium Composite Panels (ACPs)
23 August 2018
From 15 August 2018 ACPs with a core comprised of more than 30 per cent polyethylene (PE) by mass are banned in NSW for use as external cladding in Type A construction (as defined in the Building Code of Australia) and Type B construction (as defined in the Building Code of Australia). There are two exceptions to the ban, which involved testing in accordance the relevant Australian Standards and that the proponent of the use of the product makes a Statutory Declaration in relation to their installation. (CLICK HERE )
Fire hydrant system in existing premises
14 August 2018
FRNSW recommends any fire hydrant system installed in accordance with the provisions of Ordinance 70 and Ministerial Specification 10 (or earlier) should be upgraded to meet the requirements of the current Australian Standard AS 2419.1 for an equivalent new building, as these older fire hydrant systems no longer meet the operational needs of FRNSW. (CLICK HERE )
Building Product Compliance and Cladding Update
14 August 2018
Consult Australia has prepared a briefing document on the new laws across the jurisdictions on non-conforming building products (including cladding). The most recent change is in Queensland where from 1 October 2018 owners of private buildings will have to complete an online checklist. Where a building is considered to be affected by combustible cladding, the private building owner will then be required to obtain a Building Fire Safety Risk Assessment and a Fire Engineer Statement by 3 May 2021, in addition to displaying a notice on the building. (CLICK HERE to view. )
An update from the Victorian Cladding Audit team
22 July 2018
The VBA has recently contacted more than 700 builders, developers, surveyors and owners to request information on newly-commenced and upcoming projects, as well as the possible use of combustible cladding in these developments.
Several buildings already under construction have been inspected. These pre-occupancy inspections ensure Minister's Guideline MG-14 is followed. (CLICK HERE ) for MG-14 Guideline.
PI Insurance situation worsens as exclusions for cladding and non-compliant products become standard
14 July 2018
An increasing number of Professional Indemnity insurers have been excluding services involving building cladding and non-conforming products (definition unclear). For More information: (CLICK HERE).
Australian Insurance Market Update - Aluminum Cladding
14 July 2018
Recent multi-level building fires in Australia and overseas have resulted in Federal and State governments inquiring into the potential exposure for buildings in relation to non-conforming and non-compliant building products. Governments are particularly focused on the potential exposure caused by inappropriate use of some types of aluminium composite panels (ACPs) and other combustible façade materials. For More information: (CLICK HERE).
WARREN CENTRE: Inquiry
Fire Safety Engineering: An Inquiry into the Issue
04 July 2018
The delivery of major infrastructure and buildings requires detailed planning, design and construction. Robust but efficient approval procedures are vital to ensure safety. The process necessitates that all parties involved in the development understand and are appropriately qualified to deliver. This is particularly true for fire safety engineering.
The Warren Centre recognises that there is a much bigger issue to be considered that speaks to the core of fire safety engineering and is undertaking an independent review into fire safety engineering. Click here to read more and get involvedFor More information: (CLICK HERE).
A landmark report that is likely to have a big impact on building safety and compliance was made public by the Building Ministers' Forum in April 2018.
02 July 2018
Titled Building Confidence - Improving the effectiveness of compliance and enforcement systems for the building and construction industry across Australia, the report by Professor Peter Shergold and Ms Bronwyn Weir was commissioned last year by the BMF. The BMF directed Shergold and Weir to examine a range of issues outlined in comprehensive terms of reference for their work.
The Building Ministers Forum (BMF) has met to discuss an independent report that has recommendations to improve building safety and compliance.
Each of the state and territory Building Ministers gathered in Melbourne to review 24 recommendations on how to improve our building regulations nationally.
The report was written by Professor Peter Shergold and Ms Bronwyn Weir, who examined the building regulatory systems across the jurisdictions.
The 24 recommendations cover a range of issues - from registration and training of practitioners, to the role of fire authorities in building design and the approvals process.
Minister for Small and Family business, the Workplace and Deregulation, Craig Laundy said: "The Shergold and Weir report provides the BMF with a comprehensive package of recommendations to establish a national best practice model for compliance and enforcement.
The building industry has been calling for greater coordination between all levels of government on reform. Safety is our top priority when it comes to building regulation, and our compliance and enforcement systems need to be very robust.
"It is important that we do not lose momentum in progressing this work. I look forward to hearing how jurisdictions will incorporate these recommendations into their efforts to improve compliance."
GRENFELL TOWER: Inquiry
Expert lists litany of serious safety breaches at Grenfell Tower
04 June 2018
Five expert reports into the fire, its spread and the regulatory environment, were published alongside Millett's opening remarks. Jose Torero, academic and fire safety expert, came to a damning conclusion about the building regulation system, stating that "systems that introduce obvious dangers can be incorporated by designers in a routine manner." For More information: (CLICK HERE).
Victoria's Building Regulations have changed
02 June 2018
The Victorian Building Regulations 2018 commenced on 2 June 2018 marking a change from the previous Building Regulations 2006 and the Building Interim Regulations 2017. More information about the Building Regulations 2018, including practice notes and fact sheets, can be foundon their website (CLICK HERE).
New NSW EP&A Act commences
14 April 2018
Updates to the New South Wales Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 came into effect on 1 March 2018. The NSW Government has prepared several resources for certifiers relating to the changes:
- Guide to the updated Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979: CLICK HERE
- Quick reference guide: old vs new sections of the EP&A Act: CLICK HERE
- Summary of the biggest changes for certifiers: CLICK HERE
NCC 2019 regulation impact statement consultation
14 April 2018
To determine the likely costs and benefits of changes included in the National Construction Code 2019, which was released as a draft for public comment recently, the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has undertaken regulation impact analysis. The ABCB is now looking for feedback on Consultation Regulation Impact Statements:
- Accessible adult change facilities in public buildings;
- Fire safety in Class 2 and Class 3 residential buildings;
- Heating and cooling load limits for residential buildings; and
- Energy efficiency in commercial buildings.
You can read the statements and give feedback at the ABCB website hereCLICK HERE FOR ABCB WEBSITE
Government rejects call to ban PE cladding import & use
14 April 2018
The Australian Government has rejected a recommendation to ban the importation, sale and use of combustible cladding made by the Senate inquiry into non-conforming building products, determining such a ban would be neither effective nor practical.
The recommendation was one of eight made by an interim report on aluminium composite cladding released in September 2017 by the Senate Economics References Committee's inquiry. The report's recommendations aimed to address the fire risk posed by the non-compliant use of polyethylene core aluminium composite panels (PE-ACPs).
Difficulty in identification of PE-ACPs, legitimate uses of the material, domestic manufacturing, international trade obligations and costs to industry would make a total ban on PE-ACPs ineffective and impractical, the Government response determined.READ MORE
New Annual Fire Safety Statement form
10 April 2018
NSW Government has provided FAQs relating to the Annual Fire Statements - please refer to the below and follow links for further information.
Annual Fire Safety Statements Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
Following the introduction of the Amending Regulation, we have received numerous enquiries about the new Annual Fire Safety Statement form.
To assist building owners and practitioners, the Department has released a set of FAQsDOWNLOAD
Explosions heard as fire breaks out at Circular Quay construction site
13 March 2018
A major fire has broken out at a construction site in Circular Quay, billowing smoke into the CBD.READ MORE >>
The attached FSM journal article on Fire Safety during Construction by Lote Principal Dr Amer Magrabi provides a framework for an interim fire strategy for partially occupied buildingsREAD ARTICLE >>
Victorian Cladding Audit - Building product safety alert
13 March 2018
The Victorian Building Authority is warning building practitioners on the risks associated with the non-compliant use of aluminium composite panels and expanded polystyrene. This alert coincides with the release of new ministerial guidelines that ban the use of both aluminium composite panels with a polyethylene core of 30% or more, and expanded polystyrene, on multi-storey buildings.READ MORE >>
NCC 2016 Volume One Amendment 1 adopted
13 March 2018
From 12 March 2018, the NCC 2016 Volume One Amendment 1 has been adopted by States and Territories.READ MORE >>
NCC 2016 Vol One Amendment 1 Preview Available
18 January 2018
In preparation for the adoption of NCC 2016 Volume One Amendment 1 from 12 March 2018, the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has released a preview of the Amendment.
Accompanying the preview is a summary of changes, a new Evidence of Suitability Handbook and the Consolidated Performance Requirements preview. The ABCB is also progressively updating and releasing other materials affected by the Amendment. These include the:
- Fire Performance of External Walls and Cladding Advisory Note (2016-3)
- Guide to NCC Volume One
- Other ABCB resources.
The Amendment is a result of a Building Ministers' directive to expedite completing and adopting actions from a comprehensive package of measures for fire safety in high rise buildings, developed by the ABCB following the Lacrosse Apartments fire. Feedback on a draft of the proposed Amendment was sought in August/September 2017.
READ MORE >>
New Fire Brigade Intervention Model
29 August 2017
The Fire Brigade Intervention Model (FBIM) is an event-based methodology that encapsulates fire service activities from time of notification, to control and extinguishment. FBIM has been developed primarily for use in a performance-based environment to quantify the functional role of a fire service. The latest iteration of FBIM being developed by AFAC is being migrated to the online version and will be released to AFAC member agencies in the coming months. It will be released for general industry use in advance of the National Construction Code 2019 release of which FBIM will be referred to.
READ MORE >>
AS 2118.1 and AS 5113 in relation to NCC
25 August 2017
The out of cycle amendment to NCC 2016 also features referencing of AS 5113 Fire propagation testing and classification of external walls of buildings as a new Verification Method and referencing of the revised sprinkler standard AS 2118.1:2017 Automatic fire sprinkler systems
READ MORE >>
Fire safety amendments from 1 Oct 2017
01 August 2017
The Environmental Planning Assessment Amendment (Fire Safety and Building Certification) Regulation 2017 has been published and will come into effect on 1 October 2017.
From 1 October 2017 there will be stricter requirements for the design, approval, inspection and maintenance of fire safety systems in complex buildings.
These reforms are designed to improve fire safety in new and existing buildings. Part of these changes is the introduction of a framework for recognising industry schemes that will enable accreditation of competent fire safety practitioners.
READ MORE >>
NCC 2016 will be amended out-of-cycle: Fire safety in high-rise buildings
31 July 2017
The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) is seeking feedback on the proposed National Construction Code (NCC) 2016 Volume One Amendment 1 public comment draft with adoption anticipated in March 2018.
The NCC changes are the result of a Building Ministers' directive to expedite completing and adopting actions from a comprehensive package of measures for fire safety in high rise buildings, developed following the Lacrosse Apartments fire.
READ MORE >>
Inter-agency Fire Safety and External Wall Cladding Taskforce
16 June 2017
Since January 2015, the NSW Government has been working on specific measures to address the fire safety risks associated with external wall cladding. In addition, on 16 June 2017, the NSW Government developed and began implementing a co-ordinated, whole of government policy response to the Grenfell fire in London.
READ MORE >>
Have your say on Improving Fire Safety in NSW
19 Dec 2016
The NSW Government is seeking to improve fire safety in new and existing buildings and is asking for your feedback on changes to relevant legislation and certification.
Improving fire safety has been given special priority by the Government in its response to the final report on the statutory review of the Building Professionals Act 2005, released in September 2016.
Proposed reforms include:
- Additional critical stage inspections in Class 2-9 buildings
- New requirements for checking fire safety systems in Class 2-9 buildings
- Reports required for all Alternative fire safety Solutions in Class 1b-9 buildings
- Authority for Certifiers to give exemption from BCA compliance for existing fire safety systems
READ MORE >>
FRNSW Compatible Hose Connections
17 Nov 2016
New Technical information sheet published by Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) detailing compatible hose connections for fire hydrant and fire sprinkler systems in NSW.
READ MORE >>
Fire & Rescue NSW New Web Portal Subject
11 Nov 2016
Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Fire Safety Branch has published a new 'building and fire safety industry portal'. This web-portal has been developed specifically to assist stakeholders in the building and fire safety industries, and it can be accessed directly via the following link:
READ MORE >>
Fire Safety of Composite Facade Panels- The Australian Experience
21-22 Sep 2016
Drawing upon the Lacrosse Fire, this paper elaborates on the fire safety of combustible ACPs in high rise buildings from an Australian Perspective. The current Building Code requirements in Australia, their interpretation and its application are outlined. The paper also sheds light on the background and development of the new Australian Standard, AS 5113:2016 and key differences with other international standards for ACP fire safety such as NFPA 285:2012 and BS 8414.1:2015. Finally, the paper outlines a methodology for assessing external ACP applications in high rise construction in an Australian context.
Contact Lote for your Copy >>
BCA 2016 commences from 1 May 2016
01 May 2016
The 2016 edition of the National Construction Code (NCC) 2016 which includes the Building Code of Australia (BCA) Volumes 1 & 2 and the Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA) took effect from 1 May 2016 in all States and Territories.
Key changes include
- Amendments to the NCC mandatory general provisions to engender a performance mindset by improving clarity and highlighting choice;
- New verification methods for ventilation and structural robustness;
- New timber construction requirements for buildings up to 25m in effective height;
- New provisions for farm buildings; and
- Amendments to the Housing Provisions for stairs, ventilation and new requirements for dwellings above garages.
READ MORE >>
Actions to be taken on Fire Safety in High Rise Buildings
25 February 2016
At the Building Ministers' Forum (BMF) of 19 February 2016, Ministers agreed to work cooperatively to implement a range of measures to address safety issues associated with high risk building products, including a number to be undertaken by the ABCB.
Ministers agreed that the ABCB support measures to address the risks specifically associated with cladding used in high rise buildings and report back on proposed additional actions to address the wider issue of non-compliant use of building products.
READ MORE >>
DOWNLOAD PDF >>
VBA Releases External Wall Cladding Audit Report
24 February 2016
The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) releases the findings of its audit on external wall cladding following a fire at the Lacrosse Apartments in Melbourne's Docklands in November 2014.
READ MORE >>
DOWNLOAD PDF >>
New Position Paper on the role of Fire Safety Engineering practitioners in Australia
21 December 2015
The Society of Fire Safety (SFS) has published its new position paper on the role of Fire Safety Engineering practitioners in Australia. The SFS is a learned society of Engineers Australia, established to foster excellence in fire safety for the benefit of the community and the engineering profession in Australia. The paper outlines the SFS position on the design, certification and approval process for fire engineered Alternative Solutions to address variations from the Deemed-to-Satisfy (DtS) Provisions of the Building Code of Australia. To ensure the highest professional standards and community safety, practicing Fire Safety Engineers should be listed on the National Engineering Register (NER) in the specific area of practice of Fire Safety Engineering. State or Territory based accreditation schemes are in addition to this basic criterion. Furthermore, the papers sheds light on the independent roles of the Fire Safety Engineer, Private Certifier and Approval Authority. The design Fire Safety Engineer cannot be the Independent Certifier or Approval Authority for the same project.
READ MORE >>
Chartered NER Fire Engineer
23 November 2015
Engineers Australia has established the National Engineering Register (NER) which recognises Fire Safety Engineering as a special area of practice. To maintain the highest standards of professionalism for the NER, professional engineers in Fire Safety must be Chartered.
The NER was developed as an initiative by Engineers Australia to provide transparency of an engineer's experience and qualifications to all consumers of engineering services.
Search for registered Lote Fire Engineer on the NER DatabaseREAD MORE >>
Fire safety reports now discretionary
02 October 2015
Under clauses 144 and 152, Fire and Rescue NSW now has discretion whether or not to provide initial and final fire safety reports. This enables Fire and Rescue to focus on buildings that present the highest risk.
- Clause 144 clarifying the referral process to increase certainty for certifying authorities and others
- Clause 152 relating to the scope of commentary in a final fire safety report.
READ MORE >>
BP Act Review
24 August 2015
Building Professionals Act Review Draft report recommends significant reforms to certification and building regulations.
draft report is exhibited on the Building Professionals Board website for 28 days.
All are encouraged to provide feedback
Aluminium cladding and external wall construction
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has issued a circular to raise awareness about the construction of external wall systems, including where aluminium composite panels are used.
The 'Lacrosse' building fire in Melbourne's Docklands in November 2014 highlighted issues with construction methods and the use of certain building products.
It also raised questions about the responsibilities of builders, certifiers and others involved in construction to ensure building materials are used in a way that complies with the Building Code of Australia (BCA).
All building professionals are encouraged to read the circular carefully, and can contact the Department of Planning and Environment if they have any enquiries.
More information: Planning Circular: External walls and cladding