Classification and Use of Building

The Building Code of Australia in Part A3 Classification of Buildings and Structures nominates the Classes of buildings in categories from Class 1 though to Class 10. The building surveyor/ building certifier issues occupancy permits/ certificate of classifications and essential safety measures determinations/ schedules based on the classification and use of building and the information provided by the applicant during the design process and construction stage sign off. Classification and use of building is paramount in determining the essential safety measures required in a building.

Across Australia under various State and Territory Building Acts and building regulations, it is illegal to change the classification or use of a building (or part of a building) without the approval of a relevant building surveyor.

The following part extract of clause I1.1 for an Essential Safety Measure (as appeared in BCA 2013) known as change of classification and change of use:

Table I1.13 Safety Measures – Other Measures

Safety Measures BCA Provision for Determining Standard of Performance
Classification and use of building A3.2 to A3.4

Essential Safety Measures Audit – Classification and Use of Building

Change of classification and use of building may not be apparent to an untrained eye. Buildings are inherently designed under the Building Code of Australia and Australian Standards to suit a classification use risk profile. A building owner or occupier changing the classification or use (within the classification) without the appropriate building permit places the occupiers in potential grave risk. The new classification/ use resides in a building that has not been provided with the necessary life safety features required under the BCA.

An essential safety measures auditor must be on guard not to inspect the building and completely ignore that a change of classification and use of building has occurred to ensure fire safety compliance. If any change has occurred then it must be recorded in the building’s essential safety measures logbook to allow for signing the Annual Statement, Annual Certificate of Compliance, Annual Fire Safety Statement, Annual Maintenance Statement and Annual Occupiers Statement.