Part H3 Farm buildings and farm sheds
Part H3 contains Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions additional to those contained in Sections C, D, E and F for farm buildings and farm sheds
H3.1 Application of Part
To clarify the application of Part H3 to farm buildings and farm sheds and to clarify to what extent they are subject.
H3.1(b) provides a rule for resolving inconsistencies between these requirements imposed on farm buildings and farm sheds and those in the remainder of the BCA, by providing that the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions of Part H3 take precedence where there is a difference.
H3.2 Fire resistance and separation
To specify fire resistance and separation requirements for farm sheds.
This concession recognises that these buildings will only be occupied by a few people at any time, who are likely to know the building well, thus reducing the risk to life safety. In the event of an emergency in a farm shed, such as a fire, it is expected any occupants will be able to evacuate quickly as there are exits provided.
Further to this, the building elements of a farm shed do not need to be protected from the spread of fire because it is likely there is only one fire compartment, people are not sleeping in the building and there is little likelihood that a fire will spread to another building due to the separation distance required.
H3.3 Provision for escape
To specify requirements to allow occupants to escape from a farm shed in the event of an emergency.
The intent of H3.3 is to ensure that the requirements to allow occupants to escape are proportional and appropriate to the very limited number of occupants anticipated in the building at any time. Consequently, the specific provisions from Part D1 which are listed in H3.3(a) are considered the minimum necessary for farm sheds to achieve this objective.
H3.3(b) provides a further concession for farm sheds and farm buildings so that an open space (see definition) need not be directly connected to a public road. This concession gives recognition to the often isolated nature of many farm sheds and farm buildings.
H3.4 Construction of exits
To specify requirements for the construction of exits in a farm shed.
The intent of H3.4 is to ensure that the specific requirements for the construction of exits are proportional and appropriate to the very limited number of occupants anticipated in the building at any time. It is likely that any occupants will be familiar with the building, and therefore, will be able to quickly identify exits and traverse obstacles in order to gain quick and efficient egress in case of an emergency. Consequently, the specific provisions from Part D2 which are listed in H3.4 are considered the minimum necessary for farm sheds to achieve this objective.
H3.5 Fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders
A fixed platform, stairway, ladder and any going and riser, landing, handrail or barrier may comply with AS 1657 in lieu of D2.13, D2.14, D2.16 and D2.17 where it serves a farm building or a farm shed.
To provide requirements for the construction of fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders in farm buildings and farm sheds.
H3.5 extends the concession contained in D2.18 to farm buildings and farm sheds, to allow a choice of designing a stairway, platform, etc. to the requirements contained in D2.13, D2.14, D2.16 and D2.17 or within AS 1657.
The threshold of a doorway that serves an area not required to be accessible by D3.1 in a farm building need not comply with D2.15 where the door sill is not more than 700 mm above the finished surface of the ground, floor or the like, to which the doorway opens.
To provide a concession for farm buildings, under certain conditions, from complying with the requirements of D2.15.
Doorways to farm buildings and farm sheds are often provided with a threshold (more commonly known as a hob or vermin barrier) in the form of a low-height concrete wall along the sides of the building for the purposes of cleaning, clearing and pest control. This is particularly relevant to buildings used for keeping pigs and chickens.
These thresholds do not comply with the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions of D2.15 which generally prevent a step or ramp being constructed at the doorway. H3.6 provides a concession for a farm building or farm shed enabling the construction of a hob up to 700 mm in height, except where the area is required to be accessible by D3.1.
H3.7 Swinging doors
H3.8 Fire fighting equipment
To provide a concession for farm sheds from complying with the requirements of Part E1.
Due to the limited size and very low occupation of farm sheds, the provision of fire hydrants, fire hose reels and sprinklers is considered onerous for these types of buildings as a minimum requirement.
This concession aims to allow what is considered as an appropriate level of fire fighting equipment to facilitate initial attack by any occupants, in the form of portable fire extinguishers in specific locations. Refer to H3.11 for the portable fire extinguisher requirements for farm sheds.
H3.9 Fire hydrants and water supplies
with a total floor area greater than 500 m2; and
located where a fire brigade station is—
not more than 50 km from the building as measured along roads; and
equipped with equipment capable of utilising a fire hydrant,
provided with a fire hydrant system installed in accordance with AS 2419.1, except reference to '4 hours' water supply in clause 4.2 is replaced with '2 hours'; or
located on the same allotment as an access point to a water supply which—
has a minimum total capacity of 144000 litres; and
is situated so as to enable emergency services vehicles access to within 4 m; and
is located within 60 m of the building and not more than 90 m from any part of the building.
If the whole or part of the water supply referred to in (a)(iv) is contained in a water storage tank, it must be—
located not less then 10 m from the building; and
fitted with at least one small bore suction connection and one large bore suction connection where—
each suction connection is located in a position so as to enable emergency service vehicles access to within 4 m; and
the suction connections are located not less than 10 m from the building; and
'small bore suction connection' and 'large bore suction connection' have the meanings contained in AS 2419.1.
To provide appropriate fire fighting and water supply requirements for farm buildings.
Farm buildings are often located in remote areas which are not serviced by mains water, and these areas can also be affected by drought which can affect the availability and reliability of on-site water supply. To ensure a farm building has adequate water to allow an attending fire brigade to undertake fire fighting operations and in light of the limited availability of water when compared to more urban located buildings, H3.9(a)(iii) provides a concession to the requirements of AS 2419.1 so that 2 hours water supply for a fire hydrant installation is required instead of 4 hours.
H3.9(a)(iv) provides an alternative concession, if certain conditions are met, from the requirement for a fire hydrant system to be installed to serve a farm building. The concession instead requires the provision of an adequate supply of water that can be used by a fire brigade instead of a fire hydrant system, noting that there is also a reduction in the volume of static water required to be supplied for fire fighting purposes from 288,000 litres to 144,000 litres.
Acceptable sources of water are listed in (b)(i) to (vii) and must be located on the same allotment as the farm building, have a minimum capacity of 144,000 litres, and access to the water supply must be within 60 to 90 metres from any part of the farm building. The water source must also be situated so as to enable emergency services vehicles access to within 4 metres. Multiple buildings may be served by a single water supply providing the proximity requirements of H3.9(a)(iv) are met by each building.
If a water supply is a water tank, there are additional requirements such as suitable suction connections to ensure that the fire brigade can access and use the water available in the water tank.
H3.10 Fire hose reels
To provide a concession for farm buildings, under certain conditions, from complying with the requirements of E1.4.
Due to the low occupancy numbers of farm buildings, these buildings are exempt from the requirements for fire hose reels where specific requirements for portable fire extinguishers are satisfied under H3.11.
H3.11 Portable fire extinguishers
one portable fire extinguisher rated at not less than 5ABE in each room containing flammable materials or electrical equipment; and
location signs complying with clauses 3.3 to 3.9 of AS 2444 above each required portable fire extinguisher.
To specify requirements for portable fire extinguishers in farm buildings and farm sheds covered by H3.
Portable fire extinguishers in buildings allow occupants to undertake initial attack on a fire. They should be located in plain view, along normal paths of travel and near exits where possible, and should not be located in hazardous places. Under E1.6, portable fire extinguishers must be provided in accordance with Table E1.6, which refers to AS 2444 Portable fire extinguishers and fire blankets – Selection and location.
H3.11 includes requirements for specific types of extinguishers to be installed to deal with the specific types of hazards which may be associated with farm buildings and farm sheds. When applying H3.11(a)(i) the proposed building use should be considered. In addition, there are requirements to ensure that occupants are aware of the location of portable fire extinguishers as H3.11 includes reference to specific sections of AS 2444.
H3.12 Emergency lighting requirements
An emergency lighting system need not be installed in a farm shed.
To provide a concession for farm buildings and farm sheds, under certain conditions, from complying with the requirements of E4.2.
H3.12 contains a concession from the requirements in E4.2 to provide an emergency lighting system in a farm building, in specific circumstances. For a farm building, H3.12(a) outlines concessions where:
- there is no artificial lighting provided in accordance with H3.18; or
- a farm building is connected to a back-up generator system that will likely ensure sufficient light is automatically provided in the event of a power failure.
H3.12(b) outlines that a farm shed need not be provided with an emergency lighting system due to the very limited occupancy of these buildings.
H3.13 Exit signs
To provide a concession for farm sheds, under certain conditions, from complying with the requirements of E4.5.
H3.13 provides a concession for farm sheds from the requirements of E4.5 in the circumstance where there is a large permanent opening, on the basis that where farm sheds are likely only to be occupied during the day there would be sufficient natural light available from a permanent opening to guide any occupants towards the exit.
H3.14 Direction signs
In a farm building or a farm shed, if an exit is not readily apparent to persons occupying or visiting the building, exit signs complying with H3.15 must be installed in appropriate positions in corridors, hallways, lobbies, and the like, indicating the direction to a required exit.
To specify requirements for the provision of direction signs in farm buildings and farm sheds.
H3.14 outlines requirements for direction signs in farm buildings and farm sheds, to enable occupants to find their way out of a building in the event of an emergency.
H3.15 Design and operation of exit signs
the use of illuminated exit signs may adversely impact the behaviour or welfare of animals being kept in the building; and
the maximum viewing distance in clause 5.6 of AS/NZS 2293.1 is not more than 24 m.
To provide a concession for farm buildings and farm sheds, under certain conditions, from complying with the requirements of E4.8.
Some farm animals are sensitive to the level or duration of light to which they are exposed and the use of illuminated exit signs can adversely impact the behaviour or welfare of these animals where they permanently occupy a building. H3.15(a) provides a concession to the requirements of E4.8 for farm buildings to allow non-illuminated exit signs to be used provided the size, mounting height and pictorial requirements of Appendix D of AS/NZS 2293.1 are complied with.
For a farm shed, illuminated exit signs are not considered necessary given the limited size and low occupancy of these buildings and a concession is provided in H3.13. However, required exit signs must meet basic criteria, such as maximum viewing distances, to ensure that occupants can safely evacuate.
H3.16 Sanitary facilities
H3.17 Height of rooms and other spaces
in a room, corridor, passageway or the like — 2.1 m; and
in a stairway, ramp, landing or the like — 2.0 m measured vertically above the nosing line of stairway treads or the floor surface of the ramp, landing or the like.
H3.18 Artificial lighting
An artificial lighting system need not be provided in a farm building where—
occupants are provided with visibility sufficient for safe movement through suitable alternative means; and
the use of artificial lighting could adversely affect the function of the building including, but not limited to—
the behaviour or welfare of animals being kept in the building; or
the cultivating or propagating of plants or fungi.
An artificial lighting system need not be provided in a farm shed.
To provide a concession for farm buildings and farm sheds from complying with the requirements of F4.4.
There are a wide variety of farm buildings. H3.18(a) is provided in recognition of the fact that various farm building uses may negate the requirement for artificial lighting. There are two components in using the concession from F4.4 for farm buildings. The first is ensuring sufficient visibility for safe movement of occupants. Where artificial lighting is not provided, an alternative means of providing sufficient visibility must be demonstrated.
The second component acknowledges that some farm animals are sensitive to the level or duration of light to which they are exposed and the use of artificial lighting can adversely impact the behaviour or welfare of these animals where they permanently occupy a building. Some types of plant and fungi are also sensitive to the level of lighting provided.