The focus of this video is on the specific fire safety provisions in the NCC Volume One.
NCC Tutor Series
The focus of this presentation is on the specific fire safety provisions in the NCC Volume One.
This module is best viewed with a copy of the NCC on hand – to access the NCC, visit abcb.gov.au and register or log in to freely access it.
In this presentation you will learn:
- where fire safety is covered in NCC Volume One, and
- fire safety provisions in:
- Section C Fire resistance
- Section D Access and egress
- Section E Services and equipment
- Section G Ancillary provisions
- Section H Special use buildings, and
- Schedule 7 Fire Safety Verification Method.
We will also examine some other useful resources.
NCC Volume One contains a number of sections with relevant requirements for fire safety. It is easy to look at the Table of Contents and see that Section C is relevant, but you need to look beyond this to identify the other provisions in other Sections that also relate to fire safety.
There are 29 fire safety related Performance Requirements across the different Sections of NCC Volume One. They focus on:
- safety of building occupants; and
- minimising damage to other properties.
The Performance Requirements represent minimum requirements. Building designers, owners and builders can choose to introduce additional or alternative measures to afford greater fire protection to the building and its occupants.
Comprehensive property protection is not a goal of the NCC – the required safety measures are not intended to protect the building, or its contents, from burning down or being damaged by fire. Building designers, owners and builders can choose to introduce additional protections to the building. For example they could install additional fire suppression measures to reduce potential property losses caused by fire.
Section A Governing Requirements
Section A is mandatory. It may have impact on interpretation and implementation of fire safety provisions. For example, Part A5 Documentation of design and construction describes the requirements for evidence and documentation to prove compliance with relevant fire safety Performance Requirements. Part A6 Building classification – partly impacts what fire safety provisions apply to a building or part of a building. And Part A7 united buildings, has implications for fire safety requirements.
Section C Fire resistance, has nine Performance Requirements, four Verification Methods and three Parts containing DTS Provisions and nine Specifications. Section C is all about fire safety, with a focus on ensuring the stability of the building and reducing the spread of fire through compartmentation and separation, and by protecting openings.
Section D Access and egress, has four Performance Requirements relevant to fire safety, as well as three Parts containing DTS Provisions, and one Specification. Section D Access and egress focuses on how people enter, leave and move around a building. This obviously has implications for the ease of which people can evacuate from a building in an emergency, hence some of the Performance Requirements and DTS Provisions in Section D relate to fire safety.
Section E Services and equipment, has four relevant parts with multiple Performance Requirements, Verification Methods, DTS Provisions and Specifications. Section E contains provisions related to common fire safety equipment and services, such as fire fighting equipment, alarms and smoke detectors.
Additional requirements for specific applications and building uses is also contained in Sections G and Section H.
Section G Ancillary provisions. The provisions in Section G only relate to some buildings in particular locations, with particular features or with certain systems or elements, as explained here in this presentation. There are additional Performance Requirements and DTS Provisions that only apply in these circumstances. Some of these provisions relate to fire safety and others don’t.
Section H Special use buildings. This contains DTS Provisions, and concessions from DTS Provisions, that apply only to special use buildings, as detailed here. Section H does not contain any Performance Requirements, only DTS Provisions.
A Verification for fire safety, the Fire Safety Verification Method or FSVM is contained in Schedule 7 and covers multiple Performance Requirements across the Volume.
In broad terms, Section C requires buildings to perform satisfactorily when exposed to fire.
Section C primarily addresses the:
- structural stability of building elements when exposed to fire
- limiting fire spread within a building and to adjacent buildings; and
- performance of materials and assemblies when exposed to fire.
All the Performance Requirements for Section C are at the front of the Section. There are 9 in total. Their names pretty well define what they are about.
Section C also describes four Verification Methods, which may be used as Performance Solutions to assess compliance with part or all of the Performance Requirements of Section C.
Verification Method CV1 provides a way to verify that fire will not spread between buildings on adjoining allotments – to verify compliance with CP2(a)(iii).
Verification Method CV2 provides a way to verify that fire will not spread between buildings on the same allotment – to verify compliance with CP2(a)(iii).
Verification Method CV3 (fire spread via external wall) provides a way to comply with CP2.
The Fire Safety Verification Method CV4, provides a way to verify compliance with all of the Performance Requirements in Section C – i.e. CP1 to CP9 , when a building is designed in accordance with Schedule 7.
Remember, a Verification Method is just one way to verify compliance witha Performance Solution.
The Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions in Section C are contained in three Parts, which are:
- Part C1 Fire resistance.
- Part C2 Compartmentation and separation.
- Part C3 Protection of openings.
If a DTS Solution meets the relevant DTS Provisions in Parts C1, C2 and C3, then it is deemed to meet all the fire resistance Performance Requirements in Section C. In other words it complies with CP1 to CP9.
Certain building types or features may have additional DTS Provisions in Sections G and H such as atriums or farm buildings.
If a builder or designer chooses to comply with just some of these DTS Provisions, it would mean that they would be deemed to comply with some of the relevant Performance Requirements from Section C, and the builder or designer would then need to develop a Performance Solution and include relevant stakeholders such as a fire safety engineer.
There are also nine specifications supporting Section C DTS Provisions. Specifications contain detailed information to apply the relevant DTS Provisions.
Let’s now look at an example.
CP1 Structural stability during a fire.
Most of the fire safety related Performance Requirements are qualitative, rather than quantitative. They specify an attribute that must be achieved, not an absolute value. So, for example, the Performance Requirement is that “tenable conditions” are maintained for long enough for the expected occupants of a building to evacuate, given the various critical factors that can impact on fire intensity and evacuation time. The requirement does not state a specific length of time that applies, as this will depend on the situation in the individual building.
Many fire related Performance Requirements will specify critical factors that need to be considered when determining the applicability of a Performance Requirement and the suitability of a compliance solution.
You will need to look at the critical factors and decide which ones need to be addressed in the fire safety solution for each particular building.
You will not see the same factors listed against other Performance Requirements, although this list is not identical for all requirements.
Let’s look at another example.
CP4 Safe conditions for evacuation.
So when we look at this particular example, we can see here that this particular requirement is that we need to maintain tenable conditions during occupant evacuation and material and assemblage must, to the degree necessary, resist the spread of fire and limit the generation of smoke and heat and any toxic gases likely to be produced appropriate to et cetera, et cetera.
So there's a couple of key things we need to focus on.
The first one here is tenable conditions. What does that mean?
Well, what it means is that materials and assemblies must resist the spread of flame and limit smoke, heat, and toxic gases for long enough that people can evacuate without becoming ill or being injured.
Exactly how long is appropriate depends on assessment of the critical factors.
The other key point here to keep in mind is that to the degree necessary. It's a qualitative requirement recognises that it may be possible to treat different materials and assemblies in different ways depending on the situation on the building and so on.
The other key term here is appropriate.
The fire safety elements provided in the building must be appropriate to the risk posed by the fire in the building based on consideration of the critical factors listed below.
When we look at the four critical factors here, one is related to significant characteristics of the occupants in the building.
For example, if the occupants have limited mobility, then we need to allow more time for evacuation. So materials or assemblies must be chosen to allow for this additional time.
The other thing to keep in mind here is that there's a specific application.
And as per Part A1, this specifies where and when a requirement or provision applies.
In this example here, it applies to linings, materials, and assemblies in Class 2 to 9 building.
Let’s look at a few questions to help our understanding of Verification Methods.
Which of the four Verification Methods in Section C could you use in each of the following circumstances?
Question 1:To verify compliance with all nine fire safety Performance Requirements in Section C, that is CP1 to CP9?
CV4 Fire Safety Verification Method (Schedule 7).
This is the only one of the four that covers all nine Performance Requirements.
Question 2: To verify compliance with Performance Requirement CP2(a)(iii) (avoiding the spread of fire) in a variety of circumstances?
CV1 or CV2 as appropriate; or CV4.
NOTE that CV3 could be used, however clause CV3(a) states that compliance with CP2(a)(iii), where applicable, is verified in accordance with CV1 or CV2 as appropriate.
Question 3: To verify compliance with Performance Requirement CP2 (avoiding the spread of fire) via external walls?
CV3 or CV4.
When CV3 is used, compliance with CP2(a)(iii) must be verified in accordance with CV1 or CV2 as appropriate.
Note that clause CV3(a) says that compliance with CP2 is verified when:
Compliance with CP2(a)(iii) to avoid the spread of fire between buildings, where applicable, is verified in accordance with CV1 or CV2 as appropriate.
This means that although CV3 can be used to demonstrate compliance with CP2, CV1 and CV2 also need to be applied, where appropriate to complete the verification of compliance with CP2.
Let's now look at the DTS Provisions, in particular, C1 Fire resistance and stability.
When we look at C1 Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions, we can see that where a DTS Solution is proposed, Performance Requirements CP1 to CP9 are satisfied by complying with the following conditions.
We can see here that we need to comply with C1.1 to C1.14, C2.1 to 2.14, 3.1 to 3.17 and in a building containing an atrium Part G3, and for a building containing an occupiable outdoor area Part G6, and for additional requirements for Class 9b buildings are Part H1, and for farm sheds Part H3.
We can also see where a Performance Solution is proposed, the relevant Performance Requirements must be determined in accordance with A2.23, and A2.43 as applicable.
The key things to remember are that when we look at the Deemed-to-Satisfy Solution, it's a general statement of what is required for a compliant DTS Solution.
The identical statement appears at the beginnings of Part C1, C2, and also C3.
If a DTS Solution meets all the DTS Provisions in C1, C2, and C3 as appropriate, it is deemed to be compliant with all of the fire safety Performance Requirements in Section C, i.e CP1 to CP9.
However, additional DTS Provisions may apply to some building features. When we look at these particular building features, we're looking at particularly here at Section G, which applies to ancillary provisions.
Section H applies to special use buildings, but there's also additional provisions that apply in the circumstances prescribed. And in particular here, we can see it's occupiable outdoor areas, Class 9b buildings, and also farm sheds.
All other relevant provisions in Parts C1, C2, and C3 must also be complied with.
It's also important to keep in mind that you do not have to use the DTS Provisions. You can develop a Performance Solution to satisfy one or more, or all of the applicable Performance Requirements.
Remember that the NCC provisions must be applied holistically. So implementing a Performance Solution to meet one requirement may impact on other Performance Requirements, DTS Solutions, or Performance Solutions.
Let’s look at some questions to help understand how to interpret the DTS provisions in Section C.
Question 1:According to Part C1, a concession allows the use of certain materials wherever the NCC requires use of a non-combustible material. What are these concessional materials?
- Part C1.9 Non-combustible building elements, Clause (e).
- Perforated gypsum lath with a normal paper finish.
- Fibrous-plaster sheet.
- Fibre-reinforced cement sheeting.
- Pre-finished metal sheeting that meets specified requirements.
- Sarking-type material that meets specified requirements.
- Bonded laminate materials that meet specified requirements.
Question 2: According to Part C2, what is the maximum size for a fire compartment in the patient care areas of a Class 9a health-care building?
- C2.5 Class 9a and 9c buildings.
- Fire compartments in a patient care area of a Class 9a health--care building cannot be larger than 2000 m2.
Question 3: According to Part C2, what fire safety provisions apply to electrical substations located within a building?
Part C2.13 Electricity supply system, Clause (a).
An electricity substation within a building must:
- be separated from the rest of the building by construction with an FRL of at least 120/120/120, and
- have a doorway protected with a self-closing door with an FRL of at least --/120/30.
Question 4: According to Part C3, what methods of protection are acceptable for windows (that require protection)?
Part C3.4 Acceptable methods of protection, Clause (a)(ii).
A window opening that requires protection must have:
- internal or external wall-wetting sprinklers used with automatic closing or permanently closed windows, or
- fire windows that are automatic closing or permanently closed with a minimum FRL of at least --/60/--, or
- automatic closing fire shutters with an FRL of at least --/60/--.
Question 5: According to Part C3, what are the DTS requirements for openings, such as doors and lift indicator panels, that have been made into a fire-isolated lift shaft?
Part C3.10 Openings in fire-isolated lift shafts.
Doorways must be protected by fire doors that:
- have a minimum FRL of --/60/-- that:
- comply with AS 1735.11 Lifts, escalators and moving walks – Fire rating landing doors
- are set to remain closed except when people, goods or vehicles are entering or leaving the lift
- lift indicator panels must be backed by construction with a minimum FRL of --/60/60 if the panel is greater than 35 000 mm2 in area.
In which Specification will you find the DTS requirements for …
- The construction of fire shelters?
- Buildings requiring Type A, B and C construction?
- The fire hazard properties of wall and ceiling linings?
- Smoke-proof walls in Class 9a and Class 9c buildings?
Pause the video and take a moment to consider your answers. Once you’ve written down your answers, recommence the video to find the correct answers.
- The construction of fire shelters? Specification C3.4
- Buildings requiring Type A, B and C construction? Specification C1.1
- The fire hazard properties of wall and ceiling linings? Specification C1.10
- Smoke-proof walls in Class 9a and Class 9c buildings? Specification C2.5
What are the fire safety provisions in Section D Access and egress?
There are a total of nine Performance Requirements in Section D, but only four of them are directly relevant to fire safety. Others may contribute, for example slip resistant walking surfaces with manageable gradients et cetera make it easier for people to evacuate quickly, especially when visibility is limited, because they are less likely to trip or stumble. However, the key purpose of these provisions is not related specifically to fire safety, but more broadly to movement for any purpose.
There are three other Verification Methods in the Section but only DV4 is relevant to fire safety. This references the Fire Safety Verification Method in Schedule 7, just as we saw in CV4 in Section C.
The three Parts that contain DTS Provisions have varying relevance:
- Part D1 Provision for escape is all about ensuring safe evacuation. All the provisions are relevant to evacuation during emergencies.
- Part D2 Construction of exits contains a number of relevant provisions which relate to things like the design of fire stairways, fire ramps, and smoke lobbies.
- Part D3 Access for people with a disability doesn’t actually contain any fire safety related DTS Provisions, but does allow for the use of lifts for evacuation of people with a disability.
There are three Specifications in Section D but only one is relevant to fire safety.
Specification D1.12 - Non-required stairways, ramps and escalators contains the requirements to allow non-required stairways, ramps and escalators to connect any number of storeys in a Class 5 or 6 building. The requirements do not apply to an atrium or outside a building.
It sets out the:
- minimum FRLs required of the construction of escalators, moving walkways, stairways or ramps, and
- the requirements for fire separation, fire doors and warning signage.
Critical factors for fire safety access and egress. We are going to look at a number of key elements. We'll look at DP4 Exits, DP5 Fire-isolated exits, DP6 Paths of travel to exits, and also DP7 Evacuation lifts.
When we look at DP4 Exits, distance to the nearest exit impacts on ease and speed of evacuation, so the further the distance, the longer the evacuation time. The fire safety system has to be designed with this likely evacuation time in mind.
The number of people expected to use the building is also key. The more people will be in the building, the longer the evacuation will take through a single exit. It may be necessary to make fire exits wider, build additional exits or reduce the travel distance to exits to reduce the total evacuation time. Mobility issues and similar characteristics are also of concern. For example, can occupants reasonably be expected to evacuate without assistance?
The function or use of the building can affect the fire load and intensity, which can affect the speed with which building users might need to evacuate, and therefore the number, location and design of fire exits.
The height of a building can also impact on evacuation. If occupants have to evacuate down through many floors, then the fire safety stairs and exits in the building needs to maintain their stability and a safe evacuation environment for a longer time.
If an exit is below ground, then building occupants are more likely to be evacuating in the path of smoke from the fire. Smoke from a fire will naturally disperse upwards, and venting smoke from below ground areas is likely to be harder and slower (because there are no windows). The fire safety system needs to bear this in mind, if a building has levels below ground. If an exit is above ground, smoke travel is usually not an issue.
DP5 Fire-isolated exits
The number of storeys connected by exits and passed through by the exits both affect the total evacuation time.
The number of storeys connected to the exits determines how many people are likely to use an exit to evacuate, and the more people that are using an exit the longer the evacuation time is likely to be.
The number of storeys that the exit passes through affects the total travel distance and time.
The better a building’s fire safety system is, the longer expected evacuation times can be, and still satisfy the safety criteria. For example, the building has a sprinkler system which can be expected to extinguish the fire or reduce its spread, then building occupants will have a longer time to safely evacuate from the building. Similarly, fire safety systems designed to vent smoke can increase the time during which it is safe for building occupants to evacuate.
A building in an urban area, with several fire stations nearby is likely to get a prompt response to a fire call, and therefore you could expect fire brigade officers to be on site to assist occupants to evacuate reasonably quickly. By contrast, if a building is in a country town with the nearest fire brigade an hour away, then the building needs to be designed so that occupants can easily and quickly evacuate on their own.
DP6 Paths of travel to exits
The number of people expected to use the building is key. The more people will be in the building, the longer evacuation will take through a single exit. It may be necessary to make fire exits wider, build additional exits or reduce the travel distance to exits to reduce the evacuation time. Mobility issues and similar characteristics are also of concern, for example can occupants reasonably be expected to evacuate without assistance?
The function or use of the building can affect the fire load, thus changing the speed with which building users need to evacuate, and therefore the number, location and design of fire exits.
This Performance Requirement has a Limitation: it does not apply to the internal parts of Single Occupancy Units in Class 2 or 3 buildings or in the Class 4 part of a building. This is because these areas are likely to be used by a small number of users who will be familiar with the layout of the building and the paths to exits will generally be relatively short.
DP7 Evacuation lifts
Many of the critical factors when lifts are used for evacuation are the same as for other fire exit systems, but there are some additional considerations such as:
- How long will it take for occupants to evacuate using the lift? There would be a considerable difference in evacuation times for a lift that took 4 passengers and 2 minutes to get to the ground floor, compared to a lift that could take 8 passengers and took only 1 minute to reach the ground floor. If the size of a proposed lift system would not allow safe evacuation for all the people who are likely to need that lift, then a larger lift may be required, OR other aspects of the building’s fire safety system might need to be adjusted. For example, installation of sprinkler systems to reduce the spread of fire, or use of more fire resistant materials, smaller fire compartments etc. These various measures could allow the necessary additional time to evacuate using the smaller lift.
- Another consideration is how reliable and available is the lift likely to be? Is the lift likely to fail in the event of a fire? Is it likely to be directly exposed to fire? For example, if the designated fire evacuation lift is generally used as a goods lift, then it might be in use, or blocked by goods at the time it is needed. Sometimes goods lifts are blocked off and a key is required to access them. This would increase the evacuation time using the lift.
- Another consideration is the evacuation procedures for the building can make a difference to the effectiveness of lifts used for fire safety. For example, are designated fire safety officers or others assigned to assist people with a disability? Some buildings and businesses will establish what is almost a “buddy” system so that one or more staff are assigned to ensure that someone with a disability is able to evacuate easily. This could mean simply carrying items the other person needs, it could mean assisting them with walking, moving around, or using a lift, or it could even mean carrying that person down fire stairs, if necessary.
Let’s look at the DTS Provisions, in particular, D1 Provision for escape.
Where a Deemed-to-Satisfy Solution is proposed in relation to escape, we need to look at Performance Requirements DP1 to DP6, DP8 and DP9.
We can see here when we look at this particular DTS Provision, that we need to ensure we comply with a number of different aspects.
And we're going to look through each of these in just a moment.
In terms of some definitional aspects, the DTS Solution is the general statement of what is required for a compliant DTS Solution. So what we're needing to see is that all of these elements have been met as appropriate.
It's also important to remember that as we pointed out before, we have an identical statement of DTS Provision requirements at the beginning of each part of D1, D2, and D3.
In relation to the DTS Solution, if a DTS Solution meets all of the DTS Provisions in D1, D2, and D3 as identified here as appropriate, then it's deemed to be compliant with all the fire safety Performance Requirements in Section D, except DP7 Evacuation lifts.
When we look at some of the other elements, we can see here that there's some specific Sections that apply to ancillary provisions in Section G.
Section H deals with special use buildings. And what's listed here in particular is Class 9b buildings identified in Part H1 and public transport buildings in Part H2 and farm sheds in Part H3.
There's also other additional provisions that apply in the circumstances described here.
All other relevant provisions in Parts D1, D2, and D3 must also be complied with.
And so where we have a Performance Solution, we can use that Performance Solution to satisfy one or more, or all of the Performance Requirements.
Implementing a Performance Solution to meet one requirement may impact on other Performance Requirements, DTS Solutions, or Performance Solutions.
In relation to Performance Requirement DP7, there's limited application for this particular requirement. There are no DTS Provisions provided to meet this requirement. Therefore, a Performance Solution must be developed for this particular requirement.
Let’s look at some questions to practice interpreting the DTS Provisions in Section D.
Question 1: According to Part D1, if a Class 3 or 4 building has an effective height of 40m, how many exits must it have and where must they be located, in order to comply with the Performance Requirements of Section D?
D1.2 Number of exits required, Clause D1.2(b).
The building must have at least two exits from each storey.
Question 2:According to Part D1, what is the maximum number of persons who can be accommodated in each of the following buildings:
- A café that is 23 m2?
- A hotel that is 6000 m2?
- A bus station that is 300 m2?
(In all cases, spaces set aside for other purposes are excluded).
D1.13 Number of persons accommodated.
Table D1.13 Area per person according to use.
1. Café = 23 persons (1 m2/person)
2. Hotel = 400 persons (15 m2 per person)
3. Bus station = 150 persons (2 m2/per person)
Question 3: According to Part D2, what requirements must be met for a stairway that is located within a fire-isolated shaft within a building?
Part D2.2 Fire-isolated stairways and ramps.
The stairway must be constructed:
- of non-combustible materials
- so that if there is a local failure, it will not cause structural damage to the shaft, or impair the fire resistance of the shaft.
Question 4: According to Part D2, what is the minimum:
- allowable size for a required smoke lobby?
- FRL for the walls of a required smoke lobby?
Part D2.6 Smoke lobbies, Clauses (a) and (b)(i).
Minimum allowable size is 6 m2.
Minimum FRL for walls is 60/60/--.
Question 5: According to Part D2, what signage is required on:
- an automatic door held open by an automatic hold-open device?
- a self-closing door?
Part D2.23 Signs on doors, Clause (b)
- Automatic fire door should have:
‘FIRE SAFETY DOOR – DO NOT OBSTRUCT’ on it, and
- Self-closing fire door should have:
‘FIRE SAFETY DOOR
DO NOT OBSTRUCT
DO NOT KEEP OPEN’
What are the fire safety provisions in Section E Services and equipment?
All Performance Requirements relate to fire safety:
- Facilities to fight a fire or prevent the spread of fire
- Features to safeguard building occupants from smoke and toxic gases, including automatic warnings
- Safe travel in lifts for evacuation and fire fighting, and
- Visibility and signage for evacuation and emergency warnings
There are Four Parts:
- Part E1 Fire fighting equipment.
- Part E2 Smoke hazard management.
- Part E3 Lift installations.
- Part E4 Visibility in an emergency, exit signs and warning systems.
Each Part contains Performance Requirements, Verification Methods, DTS Provisions and Specifications.
Interpreting fire safety Performance Requirements.
We are going to delve a little deeper into the different fire safety Performance Requirements included in the different Parts of Section E of NCC Volume One.
E1 Fire fighting equipment
The larger the fire compartment/floor area, the larger the size of any potential fire, therefore the greater the fire safety measures required.
Fire safety systems work together rather than in isolation, so the installation of one system may reduce the need for another fire safety element or allow for some adjustment of another fire safety element.
Fire hydrants can only be used with the correct equipment, so they are not required if there is no fire brigade available to attend e.g. in a remote area.
E2 Smoke hazard management
Automatic warning systems are needed in buildings with sleeping accommodation.
Conditions in evacuation routes must protect occupants from heat and toxic gases, and allow them to see for as long as needed to evacuate the expected number of people before a fire is likely to develop to an unmanageable level.
The longer the travel distance, the longer the evacuation time, and the longer the fire safety systems must contain a safe environment.
Smoke management is not required in structures that are not enclosed (because the smoke can escape).
E3 Lift installations
There are a number of Performance Requirements for lift installations. Two of these are related to fire safety.
The first is EP3.2 Emergency lifts applies to buildings that are over 25m in height, and are a Class 9a building with patient care areas that do not have direct access to a road or open space. EP3.2 basically requires that at least one of the passenger lifts is fitted as an emergency lift, for use by the fire brigade and other emergency services personnel. All floors must have access to an emergency lift.
EP3.3 Emergency alerts requires signage or other means to alert occupants about the use of a lift during an emergency.
E4 Visibility in an emergency, exit signs and warning systems
Emergency lighting must be provided to ensure safe evacuation when the main artificial lighting system fails.
Signs must identify where exits are and how to get to them, and must be clearly visible even when the mains power is out.
This doesn’t apply to the internal parts of SOUs in Class 2 or 3 buildings or in Class 4 parts of a building (as occupants will generally be familiar with evacuation routes, door positions etc, and distances tend to be shorter).
Let’s look at a few questions to ensure your understanding of interpreting DTS provisions in Section E.
Question 1:According to Part E1, when must a building be provided with a fire hydrant?
- E1.3 Fire hydrants.
- A fire hydrant must be provided when:
- A building has a total floor area greater than 500 m2, and
- The nearest fire brigade station:
- Is no more than 50 km away by road, and
- Has equipment that allows it to use a fire hydrant
Question 2: According to Part E1, when and where must a sprinkler system be installed into a Class 2 or 3 building (excluding a building that is used as a residential care building)?
- Part E1.5 Sprinklers.
- Table E1.5 Requirements for sprinklers.
- If the building has a rise in storeys of 4 or more and an effective height of not more than 25 m, then a sprinkler system is required throughout the entire building, including any part with a different class.
Question 3: Where in Part E2 will you find the smoke management provisions for buildings of different Classes, uses and heights?
- Part E2.2 General requirements.
- Table E2.2a General provisions.
- Table E2.2b Specific provisions.
Question 4: According to Part E3, what kind of clear space is required in a lift that is designated as a stretcher facility?
- Part E3.2 Stretcher facility in lifts, Clause (b).
- There must be a clear space of at least 600 mm wide x 2000 mm long x 1400 mm high above floor level.
In which Specification will you find the DTS requirements for …
- Lift car emergency lighting?
- Smoke exhaust fans?
- Sprinkler systems?
- Emergency exit signs?
- Construction of a fire control room?
- Fire safety systems for residential care buildings?
Pause the video and take a moment to consider your answers. When you are ready to review the answers, start the video again.
- Lift car emergency lighting? Specification E3.1
- Smoke exhaust fans? Specification E2.2b
- Sprinkler systems? Specification E1.5
- Emergency exit signs? Specification E4.8
- Construction of a fire control room? Specification E1.8
- Fire safety systems for residential care buildings? Specification E2.2d
Fire safety assessment methods.
Whether you choose to use a DTS Solution or a Performance Solution or a combination of the two, you may need to provide some evidence that the proposed solution complies with the Performance Requirements.
The NCC recognises four valid ways of assessing possible compliance solutions, which are shown here.
All four methods can be used to demonstrate compliance with all or part of the Performance Requirements when you are using a Performance Solution.
Evidence of suitability and Expert Judgement can be used when you are using a DTS Solution.
The various fire safety related Sections and Parts of NCC Volume One include a number of relevant Verification Methods, each of which can be used in certain circumstances.
Schedule 7 also contains the Fire Safety Verification Method, which is a holistic method for demonstrating compliance against many of the fire safety Performance Requirements. It is referenced within Sections C, D and E of Volume One.
In relation to the Verification Method, there are many Verification Methods specified in the different fire safety related sections of NCC Volume One. Schedule 7 Fire Safety Verification Method can be used in many instances. It can also use other suitable verification methods such as an overseas code or standard.
The next is Comparison with DTS provisions. This is where we compare a performance solution with the DTS provisions of the relevant Sections and Parts.
The next is Evidence of Suitability. That is where we can demonstrate meeting the prescriptive requirements of all the relevant DTS provisions of Sections C, D and E and also Sections G and H (where these apply). Evidence of Suitability is also used to assess the suitability of Performance Solutions.
The last is Expert Judgement. This is where we use the judgement of an expert, and that person must be suitably qualified. The expert must have demonstrated knowledge of technical issues as well as peer recognition. For example, they might be a qualified and experienced fire safety engineer.
What is the Fire Safety Verification Method?
The Fire Safety Verification Method or FSVM is used to verify that a building’s proposed fire safety measures will meet the relevant fire safety Performance Requirements of NCC Volume One.
This can be used for any Class 2-9 building.
The level of fire safety achieved using the FSVM must be at least equivalent to the relevant NCC Volume One fire safety Deemed-to-Satisfy (or DTS) Provisions.
The FSVM is detailed in Schedule 7 of the NCC, and this schedule details:
- How to use the method, as well as
- Identify 12 design scenarios that must be considered.
This is not mandatory – just one way of developing a fire safety solution to meet the relevant Performance Requirements.
The FSVM can only be used by qualified and experienced fire safety engineers, andmay not cover all applicable Performance Requirements.
True or False?
A building’s intended purpose and use are the key determinants of the fire safety measures required in the building.
Yes, that’s right. The building’s intended purpose and use is just one critical factor that must be considered when designing a fire safety system for a Class 2 to 9 building. Other critical factors include things like the number and mobility of occupants of the building, the likely fire load, hazard and intensity, the travel distance to exits and the likely evacuation times.
There are a number of other useful resources that are worthwhile examining.
This includes the Guide to NCC Volume One.
We also have the ABCB handbooks, which are available at abcb.gov.au. This includes:
- the Fire Safety Verification Method Handbook
- Fire Safety Verification Methods Data Sheets
- Bushfire Verification Method Handbook, and
- Lifts Used During Evacuation.
Keep in mind that these are non-mandatory and provide explanatory information and background only.
We also have the International Fire Engineering Guidelines (IFEG):
- These are commonly used in Australia forcomplex Performance Solutions
- They were developed in conjunction with representatives from Canada, the USA and New Zealand, and
- Are published by the ABCB.
There are also advisory notes, videos and case studies available on the ABCB website, which is abcb.gov.au
There are a number of key points from this presentation.
The overall aim of Fire Safety in Volume One of the NCC is to:
- Provide time and safe conditions for evacuation, and
- To prevent the spread of fire to other buildings.
Protection of primary property is not an aim (but may be a fortunate good result of good fire safety design).
We also need to consider a number of critical factors as part of determining the extent of fire risk and requirements for the effective and compliant fire safety design in each building.
Fire safety requirements can be met using DTS Provisions or a compliant Performance Solution.
There are many Verification Methods including the FSVM.
This brings us to the end of the presentation.
Thank you for viewing this NCC Tutor module. Check out the other NCC Tutor modules available to build your understanding of the NCC.
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