Standby Power Supply

A standby power supply system or emergency power supply is only required for specific buildings nominated by a building surveyor/ building certifier under the Building Code of Australia (BCA) in the building approval process. Standby power supply ultimately becomes an essential safety measure in most jurisdictions in Australia

Building Code of Australia

The Building Code of Australia nominates in three areas the need for a standby power supply in clauses E3.4 and Specification G3.8, these are:

Part extract of Clause E3.4(e) Emergency lifts follows:

E3.4 Emergency lifts

(e) An emergency lift must –

(i) comply with AS 1735.2 or Appendix A of AS 1735.1; and
(ii) in a Class 9a building serving a patient care area –

(A) have minimum dimensions, measured clear of all obstructions, including handrails, etc complying with Table E3.4; and

(B) be connected to a standby power supply system where installed; and

Part extract of Specification G3.8 Clause 6: (Standby Power Supply)


(a) If a required path of travel to an exit is within an atrium, a suitable alternative power supply must be provided to operate required safety systems, including sprinkler systems and fire hydrant pumps, air handling systems, alarms, warning and communication systems and emergency lighting circuits.

The following illustration depicts what constitutes an exit from a storey. The doors entering the stairwells are generically called exit doors.

The following is a part extract of clause I1.1 for an Essential Safety Measure (as appeared in BCA 2013) known as standby power supply:


Safety Measures BCA Provision for Determining Standard of Performance
Standby power supply system E3.4
Clause 6 of Specification G3.8

Essential Safety Measures Audit – Standby Power Supply

It is incumbent on an assessor during an essential safety measures inspection/ audit to determine whether the building has a nominated emergency lift and/or a path of travel to an exit which is within an atrium which requires standby power supply. If either of these exist in the building then they should already be nominated as essential safety measures in a schedule or determination. A record of the inspection, maintenance and testing of standby power supply should be recorded in the building’s essential safety measures logbook to allow the signing of the Annual Statement, Annual Certificate Compliance, Annual Fire Safety Statement, Annual Maintenance Statement and Annual Occupiers Statement.