Fire Rated Building Elements
Building surveyors/ building certifiers around Australia issue building approvals, construction certificates and building permits based on their states building regulations and the Building Code of Australia (BCA) on a daily basis. Except for houses and outbuildings, all of these approval documents will contain essential safety measures and the majority of buildings will also have fire rated building elements (fire protective coverings) nominated as an essential safety measure.
For an element in a building to be nominated as an essential safety measure as fire rated building elements, it must be fire rated. The BCA does not use the term fire rated but uses ‘fire-resisting’. The term fire resisting is a defined term in the BCA and is a Referenced Standard used to ensure the building is adequately fire protected. Some examples of fire rated building elements are fire-isolated lift shafts, fire-isolated passageways, fire-isolated ramps and fire-isolated stairs; many other fire rated elements are deemed to be fire rated building elements.
Building Code of Australia
The Building Code of Australia Part A1 Interpretation, Clause A1.1 Definitions, defines ‘fire-resistance level’ and ‘fire-resisting’. Together they allow a building surveyor and the BCA to use the term fire rated building elements, part extract follows:
Fire-resistance level (FRL) means the grading periods in minutes determined in accordance with Specification A2.3, for the following criteria- and expressed in that order.
(a) structural adequacy; and
(b) integrity; and
A dash means that there is no requirement for that criterion. For example, 90/-/- means there is no requirement for an FRL for integrity and insulation, and -/-/- means there is no requirement for an FRL.
Fire-resisting, applied to a building element, means having an FRL appropriate for that element.
Fire-resisting construction means one of the Types of construction referred to in Part C1.
The following illustration depicts an operational flow chart forfire rated building elements of Part C1.