AUST – We have noticed that some aged care providers may potentially have Building Code of Australia compliance headaches in relation to their facilities. Aged care facilities generally fall into Class 3 (Aged Care Hostel), Class 9a (Nursing Home) and Class 9c (Aged Care Building) within the Building Code of Australia.
The introduction of Class 9c buildings in the Building Code of Australia provided building owners, aged care service providers and designers with some certainty regarding the “Ageing in place” concept.
Class 9c buildings are ‘aged care buildings’, which are defined by the Building Code of Australia as being a ‘building for residential accommodation of aged persons’, who generally require personalised care. Residents of Class 9c buildings generally have varying degrees of incapacity and as a result, 24 hour personal care services are provided by staff to assist residents in an emergency evacuation, the Building Code of Australia allows for this.
Class 3 Hostel building fire systems, as defined under the Building Code of Australia, were not designed for residents undergoing medical treatment who need assistance to evacuate the residence like in a Class 9c. Since Aged Care service providers have progressively changed the use of their buildings from Low Care Hostel (Class 3) to High Care Nursing Home (Class 9a) without changing or reviewing the level of fire safety systems within their facility, some Aged Care service providers may be in breach of their respective State’s Building Act, Building Regulations and Building Code of Australia and require the necessary building approval.