Building approvals/ building permits to construct or alter buildings issued by building surveyors/ building certifiers quite often contain elements defined in the Building Code of Australia as ‘lightweight construction’ and is nominated as an essential safety measure. Care must be taken, as not all lightweight construction is deemed an essential safety measures schedule/ determination.
Building Code of Australia
Lightweight construction means construction which incorporates or comprises –
- sheet or board material, plaster, render, sprayed application, or other material similarly susceptible to damage by impact, pressure or abrasion; or
- concrete and concrete products containing pumice, perlite, vermiculite, or other soft material similarly susceptible to damage by impact, pressure or abrasion; or
- masonry having a thickness less than 70 mm.
If a designer wishes to use lightweight construction in a wall system and utilise a fire resistance level of the nominated lightweight construction then the ‘element’ must comply with Part C1 Fire Resistance and Stability clause 1.8 Lightweight construction and Specification C1.8, an extract follows:
FIRE RESISTANCE AND STABILITY
C1.8 Lightweight construction
- Lightweight constructionmust comply with Specification C1.8 if it is used in a wall system –
STRUCTURAL TESTS FOR LIGHTWEIGHT CONSTRUCTION
This Specification describes tests to be applied to and criteria to be satisfied by a wall system of lightweight construction.
The following illustration depicts a protection method for a light weight construction (fire rated wall).