AUST – HENDRY building surveyors advise that the Building Code of Australia under ‘discharge from exits’ in clause Building Code of Australia D1.10 (c) (ii) requires handrails to be provided to at least one side of an external stair (open to the sky) at ground level that is used as an exit where discharge from a building occurs to open space that is at a different level to the public road.

Building Compliance System

Through the various types of inspections (such as essential safety measures, BCA audits, due diligence audits or fire safety audits) undertaken by HENDRY and Essential Property Services, our staff become aware of situations in a number of buildings that are unsafe for the occupants of a building.

While essential safety measures legislation concerning the maintenance of essential safety measures around Australia does not allow for ‘directions’ to be used to force an existing building to comply with the current Building Code of Australia, a statutory authority (in most instances, the local council) can force the owner of an existing building to comply with the current building regulations, usually via a building notice or similar instrument.

The following photograph depicts an external stair used in a required exit path to reach a public road from the rear of a building’s open space. The stair is not provided with a handrail as required by Building Code of Australia D1.10 (c) (ii)

Building Code of Australia

The Building Code of Australia states in part D1.10 Discharge from exits

(c)  If an exit discharges to open space that is at a different level than the public road to which it is connected, the path of travel to the road must be by –

(ii)  except if the exit is from a Class 9a building, a stairway complying with the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions of the Building Code of Australia.

Summary

The building owner and tenant would be at risk if someone using the stairway slips/falls and injures themselves. Civil litigation would easily reveal that the stairs does not comply to current safety standards (community expectations) when compared with the current Building Code of Australia provisions.

Building Legislation Table

Refer to our Building Legislation table for further information on the building control process and building compliance.

Further Advice

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