Regulatory requirements – the NCC

What is the Australian National Construction Code?


The Australian National Construction Code (NCC) is produced and maintained by the Australian Buildings Code Board (ABCB) on behalf of the Australian government and each state and territory government.

The NCC is given legal effect by relevant legislation in each state and territory. This legislation prescribes or 'calls up' the NCC to fulfil any technical requirements that are required to be satisfied when undertaking building work or plumbing and drainage installations.

The NCC comprises three volumes:

  • Volume 1 – Class 2 to Class 9 buildings
  • Volume 2 – Class 1 and 10a buildings
  • Volume 3 – Plumbing Code of Australia

Volume 1 contains detailed fire-related provisions.

The NCC Assessment Process

The NCC assessment process comprises the following:

Determine building classification According to Part A3 based on the purpose for which the building is designed, constructed or adapted.
Determine required fire resistance of the building or structure Within the NCC Vol. 1, Section C establishes the performance requirements and verification methods for fire resistance and is divided into three parts:
  • Part C1 Fire resistance and stability
  • Part C2 Compartmentation and separation
  • Part C3 Protection of openings
Both Deemed-to-Satisfy and Performance Solutions are supported.
Specification C1.1 establishes the requirements for fire-resisting construction of building elements, expressed as the required Fire Resistance Level (FRL) for various building elements for various building classes and types of construction. The FRL is given in minutes for structural adequacy/ integrity/ insulation. For example, a fire-resisting lift or stair shaft for an industrial building three-story high (class 8, type B) is required to have an FRL of 240/120/120.
 
Assess FRL of building elements NCC Vol. 1 Specification A2.3 governs assessment of fire resistance of building elements:
  • Clause 2(d)(i) states that for steel and composite construction, the structural steel building elements meet the requirements for fire resistance if designed to meet the FRL in accordance with AS 2327.1, AS 4100 and the 'AISC Guidelines for Assessment of Fire Resistance of Structural Steel Members’ (the Australian Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) is now the ASI). Refer to 'Design using structural fire Standards' for further details of the implementation in AS 2327 and AS 4100.
  • Other options are possible, including if the construction type is listed in Table 1. If it is identical to or differs in only a minor degree to a prototype submitted to the ‘Standard Fire Test’ or if the FRL is calculated based on results from the Standard Fire Test.

A detailed interpretation of the assessment process for Performance Solutions is available. The ABCB also provides a range of other guidance on performance solutions for fire safety.

Resources


National Construction Code

ABCB – Development of performance-based fire solutions

ABCB – Guidance material on performance solutions