New regulations have been made to amend the National Construction Code in Victoria so that all new multi-storey residential buildings, hotels, healthcare buildings and aged care buildings that are required to install sprinklers designed to Australian Standard 2118.1-2006 Automatic fire sprinkler systems – General systems, must extend that sprinkler protection to include all covered balconies, regardless of size.
These regulations will address the Metropolitan Fire Brigade finding in its Post Incident Analysis of the fire in the Lacrosse Building, that “had the sprinkler system extended to the balcony area of each apartment, fire would have most likely been contained to the level of fire origin.”
Currently, small covered balconies with an area less than six square metres, or that are less than two metres in depth are not required to be sprinkler protected. On 15 December 2015 the Building and Plumbing Amendment (Balcony Sprinkler Protection) Interim Regulations 2015 were made to address this issue.
The regulations will also amend the National Construction Code that allows a building surveyor to determine that a material does not significantly increase the hazards of fire, without first subjecting that material to a performance based assessment. This change will provide for increased confidence in the fire hazard properties of linings, materials and assemblies installed in Class 2 to 9 buildings as it will require the use of materials that have had their fire hazard properties assessed.
These changes apply to new building designs from 15 December 2015 and will be implemented as Victorian variations to the National Construction Code in 2016.
This article originally appeared on the website of the Fire Protection Association of Australia, www.fpaa.com.au. Republished with permission.