AUST – HENDRY building surveyors advise that the Building Code of Australia (BCA) covers fire fighting equipment in Part E1. E1 is very specific and details what is needed in buildings, where, what and how. But there are buildings that require extra provision for special hazards. It is impossible for the Building Code of Australia to specify every condition necessary for every possible design of a building as well as its intended use (with chemicals), therefore Clause E1.10 is included for the building surveyor/building certifier to determine if any extra safety provisions are to be applied.

Building Code of Australia Clause E1.10

Clause E1.10 states:

E1.1 Provision for special hazards

Suitable additional provision must be made if special problems of fighting fire could arise because of –

(a) the nature of quantity of materials stored, displayed or used in a building or on the allotment; or

(b) the location of the building in relation to a water supply for fire-fighting purposes

This Building Code of Australia clause allows for unique circumstances not provided for elsewhere in Part E1. The building surveyor has the authority to determine whether specialised hazards exist.

The building surveyor is the only person checking all plans under the Building Code of Australia that are submitted for the building approval, the chief officer (fire brigade) generally only receive plans that contain items for consent under specific state based regulations.

The following illustrations from BCA Illustrated depicts the special requirements of the building surveyor for diesel tanks and assorted pipeworks in a building. (Please note BCAI “Issue and Explanation” not included).

Accordingly, the building surveyor has the responsibility for determining whether or not a building will constitute a special fire hazard under the Building Code of Australia. Buildings that have been identified as constituting a special hazard are those where the nature and/or quantity of materials stored or used in the building include the following:

Aircraft hangarFilm and television studios
Celluloid goodsFoam rubber
Chemical worksFoam plastics
Cotton millsPaint varnish works
DistilleriesWoodwool manufacturers
FireworksFibreglass products
High pile storage of combustible materials

Note:  The building surveyor may seek guidance from the chief officer (fire brigade) if there is uncertainty about whether a building constitutes a special hazard or the suitability of additional fire detection and suppression provisions.

The applicant may also find it beneficial to liaise with the chief officer (fire brigade) and building surveyor at an early stage of the Building Code of Australia design process, as the chief officer has relevant experience in this area and also may have authority under their state regulations/ Acts to enforce specific provisions on the building design before a building permit/ approval can be issued.

Building Legislation Table

Refer to our Building Legislation table for further information on the building certification process.

Fire Safety Compliance: Essential Safety Measures

Refer to our Essential Safety Measures Identification table for further information on individual Essential Safety Measures including the Full Function Fire Test.

Further Advice

For building surveying consultancy advice, please contact your closest HENDRY office by clicking here.