There is a lot of responsibility riding on the shoulders of building compliance practitioners.
Industry counts on them to ensure work is evaluated for compliance against the National Construction Code (NCC), regulatory authorities expect due diligence to be applied, and the general public trusts that when they certify a building meets the approved plans and the requirements of the NCC, it actually does.
This weight of expectation has been brought to the fore in recent years, particularly in light of the recommendations of the Shergold-Weir Building Confidence Report (BCR).
As part of its response to the BCR, the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has worked in partnership with industry, government and subject matter experts to develop NCC Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses that address some of the crucial knowledge areas for practitioners.
Courses have been tailored for compliance practitioners with guidance on how to navigate assessment and verification of Performance Solutions.
Unlike a Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) Solution, projects taking the Performance Solution pathway use variations in design and delivery to achieve project aims. Understanding how to work with Performance Solutions and to ensure they will deliver buildings that meet underlying regulatory requirements for structural soundness, occupant safety, fire protection and other fundamentals is vital.
Performance Solutions are becoming an increasingly adopted pathway. As buildings have become more complex, there have been more issues arise that the standard DTS pathway cannot resolve. Technology is also changing the way we build, leading to a higher level of innovation.
Performance-based approaches focus on what the design and construction needs to achieve. It requires a high level of NCC understanding to assess these projects.
The NCC CPD course supports compliance practitioners to verify and extend their knowledge in this area of practice.
For example, an architect designing a mixed-use multi-storey apartment building with feature sloped ceilings in loft bedrooms. The footprint of the building, in combination with the individual floorplans, means the bedroom ceiling heights do not meet DTS requirements in terms of the relative proportion of floor areas.
There are two choices at this point – send the architect back to the drawing board, or develop a performance-based design brief (PBDB) to meet the goal of the NCC Performance Requirements in terms of the safety, functionality and structural soundness of the loft bedrooms will be met.
The 90 minute course steps the practitioner through what happens next including which stakeholders would need to contribute to a PBDB, how to develop a framework for assessing the proposed design’s suitability and what the key verification steps will entail.
The course also clarifies all the main terminology involved in Performance Solution compliance pathway, explores the interaction between code requirements and project outcomes, and explains the methodologies available for verifying the suitability of a design and build solution.