1.3 Performance-based design
1.3.1 Performance-based design brief (PBDB)
When using this Verification Method, the fire safety engineer must undertake a performance-based design brief (PBDB)that must involve all stakeholders relevant to the building design. The PBDB must also outline the fire strategy to be adopted.
While full agreement on all aspects of the PBDB is the preferred outcome, it is acknowledged that in some instances this may not be possible to obtain. In the event that full agreement cannot be achieved through the PBDB, dissenting views must be appropriately recorded and carried throughout the process and considered as part of the due processes of the appropriate authority when determining compliance and providing approval.
Consideration of whether a peer review (by an independent fire safety engineer) of some or all of the proposed Performance Solutions and the supporting analysis is required or not, must be undertaken at this PBDB stage.
When developing a Performance Solution, a PBDB is an important step in the process. It allows all relevant stakeholders to be involved in the development of the building design and its fire safety system.
A PBDB is a documented process that defines the scope of work for the fire engineering analysis. Its purpose is to set down the basis, as agreed by the relevant stakeholders, on which the fire safety analysis of the proposed building and its Performance Solutions will be undertaken.
Relevant stakeholders will vary from design to design. However, some examples of relevant stakeholders are: a fire safety engineer, architect, developer, client, appropriate authority (some state legislation prevents appropriate authorities from being involved in the design process), fire authority and other stakeholders that fire safety design may affect such as insurers. Further information on the relevant stakeholders is provided in Clause 220.127.116.11.
Guidance on the development of a PBDB is presented in the International Fire Engineering Guidelines (2005) and referred to as a Fire Engineering Brief in that document.
The PBDB must cover the fire safety strategy for the building, outlining the philosophy and approach that will be adopted to achieve the required level of performance. The fire safety strategy must pay particular attention to the evacuation strategy to be used and the management regimes necessary.
The PBDB must be developed collaboratively by the relevant stakeholders in the particular project. The following parties must be involved:
- Client or client’s representative (such as project manager)
- Fire engineer
- Architect or designer
- Various specialist consultants
- Fire service (public or private)
- Appropriate authority (Authority Having Jurisdiction – subject to state legislation)
- Tenants or tenants representative for the proposed building (if available)
- Building operations management (if available).
Conducting a simple stakeholder analysis can be used to determine who must be involved in the PBDB process. This analysis must identify stakeholders with a high level of interest in the design process, and/or likely to be affected by the consequences of a fire should it occur in the building.
Given the absence of specific safety targets in the NCC and the qualitative nature of the NCC fire safety Performance Requirements, for this Verification Method to ensure the level of safety expected, the proposed building design must be at least equivalent to the relevant Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions.
As the NCC Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions evolved originally from State and Territory regulations and are regularly updated to reflect technical advances and experience they are commonly accepted as providing an acceptable benchmark. It is accepted that the NCC Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions reflect societal expectations in terms of fire safety, which address individual risk, societal risk and the robustness in the design by adopting a defence in depth approach.
In the majority of design scenarios the Verification Method requires a demonstration that the proposed level of safety is at least equivalent to the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions. In relation to the required level of safety the PBDB process must—
identify the relevant Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions to be used in the equivalency process to determine whether the relevant Performance Requirements have been met; and
consider the specific size, complexity and use of the building with regards to the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions to be used in the equivalency process; and
consider the specific occupant profile of the building, paying particular attention to occupants with a disability and the vulnerable, in regards to the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions to be used in the equivalency process.
1.3.2 Final report
Once the analysis of all relevant design scenarios for all the required Performance Solutions has been completed, the fire safety engineer must prepare a final report that includes the following:
- The agreed PBDB.
- All modelling and analysis.
- Analysis required to demonstrate that the proposed building provides a level of safety at least equivalent to the relevant Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions.
- Any other information required to clearly demonstrate that the building and its fire safety system satisfies the relevant Performance Requirements as set out in Table 1.1.