AUST – HENDRY building surveyors report that a number of clients misunderstand the term ‘fire wall’ used in the Building Code of Australia when nominated in a BCA Audit. This leads to wrong interpretations and the use of the wrong words in correspondence containing Building Code of Australia terminology. The following is a brief explanation of the term fire wall.

Building Code of Australia

A building surveyor’s basis of understanding the term fire wall comes from a number of clauses in the Building Code of Australia, part extracts follows:

PART A1 – Building Code of Australia
INTERPRETATION
A1.1 Definitions
Fire wall means a wall with an appropriate resistance to the spread of fire that divides a storey or building into fire compartments.

PART C2 – Building Code of Australia
COMPARTMENTATION AND SEPARATION
C2.7 Separation by fire walls
(a) Construction — A fire wall must be constructed in accordance with the following:

(i)  The fire wall has the relevant FRL prescribed by Specification C1.1 for each of the adjoining parts, and if these are different, the greater FRL, except where Tables 3.9, 4.2 and 5.2 of Specification C1.1 permit a lower FRL on the carpark side.
(ii)  Any openings in a fire wall must not reduce the FRL required by Specification C1.1 for the fire wall, except where permitted by the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions of Part C3.
(iii)  Building elements, other than roof battens with dimensions of 75 mm x 50 mm or less or sarking-type material, must not pass through or cross the fire wall unless the required fire resisting performance of the fire wall is maintained.

C2.8 Separation of classifications in the same storey
If a building has parts of different classifications located alongside one another in the same storey—

(b)  the parts must be separated in that storey by a fire wall having—

(i)  the higher FRL prescribed in Table 3 or 4; or
(ii)  the FRL prescribed in Table 5,

A fire wall is not simply any wall having a fire-resistance level (FRL). The purpose of fire walls in the Building Code of Australia are:

  • To separate different classifications; or
  • To compartment buildings having large floor areas; or
  • So that for the purpose of the Building Code of Australia each part can be regarded as a separate building as per Clause C2.7 Separation by fire walls

Building Legislation Table

Refer to our Building Legislation table for further information on the building certification process.

Fire Safety Compliance: Essential Safety Measures

Refer to our Essential Safety Measures Identification table for further information on individual Essential Safety Measures including the Annual Statement.

Further Advice

For building surveying consultancy advice, please contact your closest HENDRY office by clicking here.