Why engage in a building or fire safety code consultant
Efficiency in the construction industry is a critical component of successful development. An essential part of achieving this is ensuring the design is approved by the relevant authorities, such as the building certifier and the fire brigade. A building/fire safety code consultant's early engagement can provide design advice and justify solutions for relevant authorities to review.
Adapting to the changing roles of building practitioners
This shift was highlighted for the Building Confidence Report(BCR) and work completed by the Warren Centre. These reports have highlighted the need for fire safety engineers to become increasingly holistic in mentality, by creating effective fire engineering designs and aligning with fire safety code practices.
Adapting through early engagement with all key stakeholders allows refinement of the fire strategy at the beginning of a project, saving time and money throughout the project's life cycle. By committing to an early assessment of any deviations from the NCC's deemed-to-satisfy (DTS) provisions, it is possible to rectify with simple design changes rather than developing performance solutions later down the line.
To avoid conflict of interest, it is important that building certifiers rely on code consultants to help their design teams to achieve compliance with the NCC. The inclusion of fire safety code consulting helps resolve compliance issues through DTS and performance solutions, guiding the project through to successful completion.
What is The National Construction Code?
The National Construction Code or NCC is a collection of technical provisions supporting the design, construction and ongoing performance of buildings (and plumbing/drainage systems) throughout Australia.
Performance-based and Deemed-to-satisfy Solutions
As explained above, the NCC is a performance-based code. To achieve the required compliance level, designs must comply with the performance requirements and the governing requirements of the NCC.
Compliance with the performance requirements are satisfied by a performance solution, a deemed-to-satisfy solution or a combination of both.
By relying on this performance-based approach, designers have options to adapt and therefore achieve compliance with the NCC.
Compliance with the NCC's prescriptive requirements, or 'deemed-to-satisfy' (DTS) and associated referenced documents (primarily Australian Standards), frequently limits designers in achieving their vision and goals for a building project.
Standard industry practice regularly attempts to achieve compliance through DTS solutions; however, this is not always achievable. In these circumstances, Warringtonfire can advise on suitable methods to achieve compliance with the DTS provision or recommend a performance solution to achieve compliance with the NCC.
Early advice provided by Warringtonfire can remove roadblocks later in the design and construction stages. Design advice on achieving DTS solutions or performance solutions will create smooth approval processes, reducing time delays/cost savings and overall efficiency.
Nick de Tarczynski
Senior fire safety consultant