AUST – Hendry advise that Australia’s Building Regulations are principally a set of administrative provisions that call up the technical requirements of the Building Code of Australia by reference. The Building Code of Australia cannot be read in isolation as it is the Building Regulations which amongst other things are exempt from compliance with the Building Code of Australia, certain types and sizes of buildings. Most Building Regulations also nominate reporting authorities responsible for consenting to applications for building permits/ building approvals relating to the individual clauses in the Building Code of Australia.
Other matters provided for in the Building Regulations that would affect the application of the technical requirements of the Building Code of Australia include siting controls and alterations to existing buildings.
Building Code of Australia Volumes
The Building Code of Australia is published in 2 volumes as follows:
- Building Code of Australia Volume One deals with all matters relating to Class 2 to 9 buildings.
- Building Code of Australia Volume Two deals with all matters relating to Class 1 and 10 buildings.
Building Code of Australia Performance Hierarchy
The Building Code of Australia is structured in a hierarchy as follows:
- Objectives – setting out community expectations.
- Functional Statements – indicating how buildings can meet the Objectives.
- Performance Requirements – establishing how various building elements are expected to perform to achieve the Objectives and Functional Statements.
- Building Solutions – setting out the means of achieving the Performance Requirements. Building solutions can be found in the Building Code of Australia in the form of deemed-to-satisfy provisions which describe tried and proven methods of meeting a Performance Requirement. The deemed-to-satisfy provisions form the bulk of the Building Code of Australia.
If, however, it is intended to vary from the deemed-to-satisfy provisions this can be done by determining an alternative solution. In order to prove whether an alternative solution meets a Performance Requirement there are four types of assessment methods i.e., by use of clause 1.2.2 of Building Code of Australia Volume Two, by choosing a verification method (calculations, tests or any other method), by opinion from a technical expert or by comparison with the relevant deemed-to-satisfy provision. Clauses A0.6 and 1.0.6 of Building Code of Australia Volumes One and Two respectively clearly indicate that the Objectives in the Building Code of Australia do not form part of the Building Regulations but may be used as an aid to interpretation.
The objectives should only be used by practitioners and building surveyors / building certifiers for guidance in the assessment of the performance requirements where alternatives to deemed-to-satisfy provisions are being assessed, and by the various Building Appeals Board when hearing appeals and processing applications for modification. Where a practitioner wishes to use an alternative to the Building Code of Australia Volume One deemed-to-satisfy provisions (e.g. Clause F1.5) the building surveyor may assess the proposal against the relevant Building Code of Australia performance requirement (e.g. Clause FP1.4) having regard to the relevant Objective and Functional Statement. If the practitioner is dissatisfied with the decision consideration can be given to lodging a building appeal to the Building Appeals Board.
In the above instance the Building Appeals Board dealing with the matter may consider the appropriate Building Code of Australia Objective and Functional Statement to assist in making its decision.