Building elements required to satisfy prescribed fire-resistance levels
Section C, D1.12
The buildings structural elements and attached active/ passive devices must maintain stability during a fire and restrict the spread of fire. A fire resistance level specified in the BCA for structural elements and devices must be maintained.
Materials and assemblies required to have fire hazard properties
Materials nominated to have fire hazard properties under the BCA are installed in a building to ensure the material does not contribute to the spread of fire and release excess smoke.
Elements required to be non-combustible, provide fire protection, compartmentation or separation
C2.5 to C2.14, C3.3, C3.11, D1.7, D1.8, E1.3, G3.4
The BCA nominates elements in a building to be non-combustible, and others to be non-combustible and fire rated. These elements restrict the spread of fire and provide fire protection.
Wall-wetting sprinklers (including doors and windows required in conjunction with wall-wetting sprinklers)
C3.4, C3.8, C3.11, D1.7, D1.8, G3.8
To be installed to provide fire protection to walls or openings in a wall that requires a fire resistance rating for protection again fire.
Fire doors (including sliding fire doors and their associated warning systems) and associated self-closing, automatic closing and latching mechanisms
C2.12, C2.13, C3.4 to C3.8, C3.10, C3.11, D1.7, D1.8, D1.12
A fire door is made of non-combustible material and is designed to prevent a fire from spreading from one fire compartment to another within a building and maintain the fire rating of the wall. If held open a fire door must close automatically upon the loss of power supply or due to an approved sensing device (fire alarm, heat detectors, sprinkler system) and must close cleanly without impairment in its operation.
Fire windows (including windows that are automatic or permanently fixed in the closed position)
C3.4, C3.8, C3.11, D1.7, D1.8
A window assembly with the required fire resistance level as required by the BCA for the location of the window opening in a wall.
C3.4, C3.5, D1.7, D1.8
A fire shutter is attached to openings requiring a fire rating which is required to maintain the integrity of the fire separation between fire compartments under the BCA.
Solid core doors and associated self-closing, automatic closing and latching mechanisms
A self-closing 35mm thick solid core door located in a wall requiring a fire rating. The solid core door provides some resistance to the spread of fire between sole occupancy units and public areas.
Fire protection at service penetrations through elements required to be fire-resisting with respect to integrity or insulation, or to have a resistance to the incipient spread of fire
C3.12, C3.13, C3.15
Penetrations through elements requiring a fire resistance level (fire walls, floors, shafts, ceilings) must maintain the integrity of the building element requiring that fire-resisting level.
Fire protection associated with construction joints, spaces and the like in and between building elements required to be fire-resisting with respect to integrity and insulation
Gaps known as construction joints between building elements required to have a fire rating must have the same fire rating as the required building element.
Smoke doors and associated self-closing, automatic closing and latching mechanisms
Smoke walls with door openings require smoke doors to be installed to restrict the passage of smoke between smoke compartments or from within a smoke lobby (stop smoke passing from one side of the doorway to the other).
Proscenium walls (including proscenium curtains)
Is provided between the audience area in a theatre and the stage area. It must be either non-combustible and fitted so as to inhibit smoke penetration around its perimeter when fully lowered or the fire curtain has specified early fire hazard indices protected by a deluge sprinkler system.
Means of Egress
Paths of travel to exits
Must provide an unobstructed exit path of travel to an exit. No storage allowed in the path of travel and minimum width and height dimensions apply for various Class of occupancy under the BCA.
Discharge from exits (including paths of travel from open spaces to the public roads to which they are connected)
D1.7, D1.9 to D1.11, D2.12, G4.3, G4.6, G4.7
Must maintain a safe unobstructed path of travel from the 'exit door' of a building to a road or open space. Discharge from exits must maintain an unobstructed height and width as required for the Class of occupancy under the BCA.
Exits (including fire-isolated stairways and ramps, non-fire-isolated stairways and ramps, stair treads, balustrades and handrails associated with exits, and fire-isolated passageways)
D2.2, D2.3, D2.8 to D2.11, D2.13, D2.16, D2.17
Means of any of those elements nominated or combined that provide egress from with a building to a road or open space.
Smoke lobbies to fire-isolated exits
Prevent smoke from a fire compartment entering a fire-isolated exit, also allows a smoke free area on the floor of a building.
Open access ramps or balconies for fire-isolated exits
D2.19 to D2.23
Provided for occupants to ensure safe egress from a building when a smoke hazard management system is installed.
Doors (other than fire or smoke doors) in a required exit, forming part of a required exit or in a path of travel to a required exit, and associated self-closing, automatic closing and latching mechanisms.
D1.6, D2.19 to D2.21, D2.23
Doors are provided for a means of escape from any part of a building. Door location, height, width and door furniture are all stipulated in the BCA for the specific Class of occupancy.
Exit signs (including direction signs)
Are used to identify the location of an exit and directional exit signs are used to provide a direction indicator along a path of travel to an exit.
Signs warning against the use of lifts in the event of fire
A warning sign is placed beside the lift entry door warning the users (passengers) of using the lift in the event of a fire.
Warning signs on sliding fire doors and doors to non-required stairways, ramps and escalators
A sliding fire door requires warning signage to alert occupants to the operation of the door. Non-required stairways, ramps and escalators require warning signage to alert occupants not to use in the event of a fire.
Signs, intercommunication systems, or alarm systems on doors of fire-isolated exits stating that re-entry to a storey is available
A fire isolated stairway in a building over 25m in effective height requires under the BCA re-entry to the building every fourth storey. This allows for safe passage out of the stairway in case of smoke ingress, stair blockage or lighting failure.
Signs alerting persons that operation of doors must not be impaired
The BCA nominates various warning signs that warn occupants that they must not obstruct or impair the function of a required door. These doors can be a fire door, a held open fire door or a smoke door.
Signs required on doors, in alpine areas, alerting people that they open inwards
The BCA requires a door fitted to an external doorway which may be subject to the build-up of snow must only open inwards and have a warning sign stating 'OPEN INWARDS'
Fire order notices required in alpine areas
The BCA requires Class 2, 3 or 9 buildings in snow areas to display a notice clearly marked 'FIRE ORDERS' in viewable locations near the main entrance and on each storey advising of the method of operation of the fire alarm system, the location of all call-points, the locations and methods of operation of all fire-fighting equipment, the location of all exits and the procedures provided for safe evacuation of the building.
The BCA requires an emergency lighting system to be installed in certain buildings to provide a minimum lighting intensity at floor level in the event of a power failure. This will provide sufficient lighting to allow occupants to escape the building safely.
Artificial lighting required to assist occupant movement and egress
Sufficient artificial lighting to be provided in prescribed areas under the BCA to ensure safe passage in an emergency.
Fire Fighting Services and Equipment
Fire hydrant system (including on-site pump set and fire-service booster connection)
The BCA nominates certain buildings to be provided with a fire hydrant system for the fire fighting personnel to use in an emergency, have an adequate water supply, be readily accessible, and have the hydrants located to provide the necessary coverage.
Fire hose reel system
The BCA nominates certain buildings to be provided with a fire hose reel system to enable the occupiers to undertake initial fire extinguishment. Every part of a floor must be reached when a fire hose reel is installed. The location of the hose is to be clearly indicated and instructions on operation displayed on the hose reel.
E1.5, G3.8, H1.2
The BCA nominates certain buildings to be provided with a sprinkler system. When installed the sprinkler system must be designed to suppress a fire and alert the fire brigade automatically.
Portable fire extinguishers
Portable fire extinguishers are nominated in the BCA to be provided in Class 2 to 9 buildings. These fire extinguishers are provided to allow the occupants of a building to attack a fire in its initial stages.
Fire control centres (or rooms)
A fire control centre (fire control room) is required in a building over 25m in height and if a total floor area exceeds 18,000sq m under the BCA. It is a designated room where fire fighting operations or emergency procedures are controlled.
Provisions for special hazards
The BCA in Part E1 Fire Fighting Equipment, allows for the building surveyor or fire brigade to require the installation of suitable additional provision for special fire fighting problems if special hazards exist.
Air Handling Systems
Smoke hazard management systems:
automatic air pressurisation systems for fire-isolated exits
zone smoke control system
automatic smoke exhaust system
automatic smoke-and-heat vents
air-handling systems that do not form part of smoke hazard management system and which may unduly contribute to the spread of smoke
miscellaneous air-handling systems covered by Sections 5 and 11 of AS/NZS 1668.1 serving more than one fire compartment
other air-handling systems
A smoke hazard management system (smoke control measures) is provided in a building to allow sufficient evacuation time for the occupants under fire and smoke conditions. The system removes smoke from fire affected areas to outside and introduces air inside in a designed fashion to maximise the evacuation time for occupants.
Carpark mechanical ventilation system
The BCA nominates certain buildings to be provided with a carpark mechanical ventilation system to remove car fumes. The system is also provided to allow sufficient evacuation time to the occupants of the carpark area under fire and smoke conditions.
Atrium smoke control system
BCA Specification G3.8 Fire and Smoke Control Systems In Buildings Containing Atriums, stipulates the requirements for a smoke control system to be installed. A sprinkler system is required to work in conjunction with the smoke exhaust system.
Automatic Fire Detection and Alarm Systems
Smoke and heat alarm system
Clause 3 of Specification E2.2a
The BCA requires a smoke alarm system or heat alarm system to be installed in a building to provide early warning of a fire to enable quick evacuation. The alarm systems must operate to a level that detects the presence and location of a fire and alerts the fire brigade.
Smoke and heat detection system
Clause 4 of Specification E2.2a
The BCA in Specification E2.2a Smoke Detection and Alarm Systems nominates the Classes of buildings the system is required to be installed. The system is designed to automatically sense the fire in its initial development stage and cause an alarm to warn occupants to a fire situation.
Atrium fire detection and alarm systems
Clause 4 of Specification G3.8
To sense a fire in its initial development stage and cause an alarm to warn occupants to a fire situation and activate the atriums safety systems into action.
Occupant Warning Systems
Sound system and intercom system for emergency purposes
Clause 5 of Specification G3.8
The BCA requires high rise buildings to have a sound system and intercom system (SSIS) for emergency purposes. The installation is required when the building height exceeds 25m in effective height and a number of other criteria for Class, 3, 9a and 9b buildings.
Building occupant warning system
Clause 8 of Specification E1.5,
Clause 6 of Specification E2.2a
Installed in a building to alert occupants of an emergency so evacuation can occur quickly.
Stretcher facilities in lifts
Required to allow a stretcher to be used for the safe evacuation of an injured or sick person from a building. The BCA sets out specific dimensions for the lift car to cater for a horizontal stretcher.
The BCA requires in all buildings over 25m in height and any Class 9a building in which patient care areas are located at a level that does not have direct egress to a road or open space to be provided with an emergency lift. This allows the emergency services to gain entry to any floor of the building and provide evacuation of the occupants and carry out emergency procedures.
Passenger lift fire service controls
The BCA requires passenger lifts designed in accordance with AS 1735 Part 1 and 2, as lift cars serving a storey above an effective height of 12m to be provided with fire service controls. These fire service controls allow the fire brigade, during an emergency, to determine the extent of use of the lift, maybe for fire fighting purposes or evacuation of occupants or injured persons.
Standby Power Supply Systems
Standby power supply system
Clause 6 of Specification G3.8
The BCA requires a standby power supply system or emergency power supply for a building with an emergency lift or if a path of travel to an exit is within an atrium. The standby power supply must activate on the loss of the general power supply.
Building Clearance and Fire Appliances
Open space around large isolated buildings
The BCA allows buildings to be constructed in excess of the floor area limitation specified providing the building allotment complies with open space around large isolated building requirements. This is based on radiant hear issues.
Vehicular access around large isolated buildings
The BCA allows buildings to be constructed in excess of the floor area limitation specified providing the building allotment complies with vehicular access around large isolated building requirements. This access provides a clear passageway for emergency vehicles.
BCA Part E2 Smoke Hazard Management, sets out the criteria for a mechanical air handling system (otherwise known as an air conditioning system) to be installed in a building. An air conditioning system must safeguard the occupiers of a building from sickness or loss of amenity due to lack of fresh air.
Incorporates many building elements of a structural nature (including safety signage) designed to support glazing in various types of buildings.
Structural platforms projecting from a building supported beneath by structural vertical members or cantilevered structural members.
Part B1, D2.16
Rails to prevent falls from a floor level, staircase or ramp. Balustrades are inclined or horizontal (and at times supported by ballasts)
Swimming Pool safety fencing
A barrier to prevent access to a swimming pool including its surrounds.
Refrigerated chambers, strong rooms and vaults
Potentially dangerous areas within a building where safety devices nominated under the BCA must be designed and installed into the construction to ensure the safety of the occupier.
Bushfire protection measures
Specific measures to be undertaken during the construction of a building and the subsequent regular maintenance required to ensure specified protection measures maintain their original integrity.
Building Use and Application
Classification and use of building
A3.2 to A3.4
Maintenance requirements for essential safety measures are specific in each state regulations based on their location in a building and the classification of the building. If the classification (occupancy) changes or specific uses in the occupancy change and become more hazardous, then essential safety measures may have to be upgraded.
The BCA nominates 'occupancy hazard' to enable specific conditions to be applied that are not specified in the BCA. This is to ensure enough safety features are included in the construction because of the nature of the occupancy hazard which the BCA could not foresee.