News

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.

 

Click Here to to find out more about Accredited Certifiers .

Click Here to to find out about the NSW certification system .

 


 

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:

 

Click Here.

 


 

Industry news

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."

 

For a summary of the recommendations: CLICK HERE and for complete report: CLICK HERE

 

 


 

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 here

CLICK 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 FAQs

DOWNLOAD

 

 


 

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 buildings

READ 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 Database

READ 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.

 

Other changes:

 

  • 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