Australian building codes and standards regulate our construction industry; they help ensure that any new buildings being built are safe for usage.
When embarking on a commercial construction project, it is therefore important to understand and ensure compliance with all relevant Australian building codes and standards.
Understanding these codes and the ways they apply to your project will mean that you can complete a commercial construction project efficiently and confidently, avoiding mistakes and ensuring regulatory compliance as well as the safety of the patrons who will make use of the space you create.
Here, we discuss some of the Acts and codes relevant for ensuring that a commercial construction project is in line with the proper Australian building codes and standards.
The Building Act 1975 governs all aspects of building work in Queensland, allowing the government to regulate new buildings and structures.
It includes regulations concerning building work, building classifications, building certifiers and sustainability measures.
The Act states that all buildings in Queensland must be constructed in accordance with the Building Code of Australia, which is part of the National Construction Code.
These two sets of requirements are the most important Australian building codes and standards to understand when it comes to commercial construction.
Designing and constructing a building is a complex process, which requires building practitioners to satisfy a wide array of requirements.
The National Construction Code (NCC) is a legally enforceable document which codifies all of these technical requirements in a single place, creating standards which are consistent nation-wide and are updated regularly to ensure relevancy. As such, gaining an understanding of the NCC is an excellent place to start when researching Australian building codes and standards.
The Performance Requirements outlined by the NCC detail the minimum requirements that buildings, building elements, and plumbing and drainage systems must meet in order to be code-compliant.
These Performance Requirements can be met with one of two approaches allowed by the NCC: a Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) Solution or a Performance Solution (Alternative Solution):
A DTS solution is one which follows a fixed formula based on one of the DTS solutions outlined in the NCC. The NCC includes instructions on specific design factors, materials and construction methods which can be used to meet the NCC’s Performance Requirements.
A Performance Solution, or Alternative Solution, is a solution unique to a specific situation which may cater to an unusual building design or a technologically innovative construction process. The NCC provides Assessment Methods which will let you know whether your Performance Solution meets the NCC’s Performance Requirements.
At Solutions Built, our team is experienced with executing a wide variety of dynamic projects, and creating Performance Solutions which ensure that new buildings are in line with NCC demands.
The NCC is broken into three volumes: Volume One and Volume Two are the Building Code of Australia (BCA), and Volume Three is the Plumbing Code of Australia.
If you are trying to understand Australian building codes and standards in relation to a commercial construction project, Volume One of the BCA will be the most relevant as it provides technical requirements for design and construction of commercial, industrial and multi-residential buildings. Compliance with these requirements is mandatory nation-wide.
The BCA outlines rules which ensure an appropriate level of sustainability, safety, health and amenity for new buildings. This includes standards concerning structural adequacy, fire resistance requirements, energy efficiency and sustainability, as well as provisions made for the health and amenity of building occupants and allowance for suitable access and egress.
These standards are vital to understand when it comes to commercial construction projects, as they help to ensure not only the development approval of the project itself, but also the subsequent safety and enjoyment of the people who will use the finished space.
The BCA is created and maintained by the the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), a council which is a joint initiative of the federal, state and local governments in Australia. Aside from the BCA itself, the ABCB also provides a guide to Volume One of the BCA, which is a companion manual providing reference, clarifications and examples of some of the more complex BCA provisions.
There is no cut-and-dried method of assessing a commercial construction project’s compliance with the BCA. Instead, the NCC contains four Assessment Methods: evidence of suitability, verification methods, compliance with DTS provisions and expert judgement.
At Solutions Built, we are experienced with ensuring compliance with Australian building codes and standards for all the commercial projects we undertake. If you would like to know how we can assist with your construction project, or have questions concerning compliance with the BCA, please get in touch today.