Here’s the key changes in fire safety for NCC 2022.

We’re providing a series of articles to give you a snap shot of some changes that may impact your work when NCC 2022 is adopted by states and territories.

Open up the NCC, and we’ll step you through some of the key changes to fire safety for NCC 2022.

Remember, NCC 2022 also has a new referencing system. We’ve included both the new and the previous NCC 2019 references, to help you identify what has changed.

Early childhood centres in high-rise buildings (Volume One)

New, additional requirements are included for early childhood centres (ECCs). The changes better accommodate potential emergency evacuation challenges in ECCs.

The key changes are found in:

  • A6G1 Building classification (2019: A6.1), which makes ECC exempt from the 10% rule. This removes the risk of them not being classified as 9b if located on a large floor plate of another building classification.
  • Part C3 (2019: Part C2) Compartmentation and separation, which aims to mitigate the fire risks and provide safe refuges during evacuation.
  • Part D2 (2019: Part D1) Provision for escape, which aims to ensure staff can perform evacuations as efficiently as possible.
  • Part D3 (2019: D2) Construction of exits, which aims to ensure exits, and pathways to exits are constructed to suit occupants of an ECC.
  • Part E1 Fire fighting equipment: Sprinklers are now required throughout an early childhood centre, unless it has direct egress to a road or open space or is the only occupancy in a building no higher than two storeys.
  • Part E2 Smoke hazard management, and Specification 20 (2019: Specification E2.2a), which enables early warning of occupants in an ECC or anywhere in a building which has an ECC within.

Primary schools in high-rise buildings (Volume One)

D2D23 (2019: D1.18) now applies to primary schools located in high-rise buildings, where the school does not have direct egress to a road or open space.

This means a Performance Solution must be used for egress from primary schools if D2D23 does not apply. There is an exemption for primary schools in a building of 4 storeys or less, if they are the only occupancy in that building.

This change accounts for the challenges these primary schools can experience in emergency evacuations.

External wall combustibility (Volume One)

There are minor changes to Section C Fire resistance, including:

  • further concessions for minor, non-combustible building elements and other suitable materials where a non-combustible material is required
  • clarifications for ancillary elements
  • a new requirement for mechanical fixing of bonded, laminated external cladding.

Changes to bushfire prone areas (Volumes One and Two)

There is a new requirement and DTS Provisions for certain Class 9 buildings in bushfire prone areas (G5P2).

Fire detection and early warning (Volume Two)

Performance Requirement H3P2 (2019: P2.3.2) is quantified. The metric of efficacy and reliability provides flexibility in approaches and is familiar to practitioners.

Flow rate and pressure in fire-fighting water services (Volume Three)

Performance Requirements B4P1 to B4P4 (2019: BP4.1) associated with fire-fighting services is quantified and sets a nominated level of system performance.

Quantification of fire safety Performance Requirements (Volume One)

We are grateful for the feedback provided on our proposal to quantify the fire safety Performance Requirements (Part A8), as set out in the Public Comment Draft of NCC 2022.

While these provisions have not been included in NCC 2022, work continues on this important project and we’ll consider an updated proposal in a future NCC.

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