Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Building Code of Australia: Evidence-of-Suitability


A reference to the assessment methods, and requirements for evidence-of-suitability as found in BCA 2010, Building Code of Australia Class 2 to Class 9 buildings, Volume 1 (ABCB)

A0.9 Assessment Methods
The following assessment methods, or any combination of them, can be used to determine that a Building Solution complies with the Performance Requirements.
Evidence to support that the use of a material, form of construction or design meets a
Performance Requirement or a Deemed-to-Satisfy Provision as described in A2.2.
Verification Methods such as–
the Verification Methods in the BCA; or
such other Verification Methods as the appropriate authority accepts for determining compliance with the Performance Requirements.
Comparison with the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions.
Expert Judgement.

Part A2: Acceptance of Design and Construction
A2.2 Evidence of Suitability
(a) Subject to A2.3 and A2.4, evidence to support that the use of a material, form of construction or design meets a Performance Requirement or a Deemed-to-Satisfy Provision may be in the form of one or a combination of the following:
(i) A report issued by a Registered Testing Authority, showing that the material or form of construction has been submitted to the tests listed in the report, and setting out the results of those tests and any other relevant information that demonstrates its suitability for use in the building.
(ii) A current Certificate of Conformity or a current Certificate of Accreditation.
(iii) A certificate from a professional engineer or other appropriately qualified person which–
(A) certifies that a material, design, or form of construction complies with the requirements of the BCA; and
(B) sets out the basis on which it is given and the extent to which relevant specifications, rules, codes of practice or other publications have been relied upon.
(iv) A current certificate issued by a product certification body that has been accredited by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ).
(v) * * * * *
(vi) Any other form of documentary evidence that correctly describes the properties and performance of the material,
(b) Evidence to support that a calculation method complies with an ABCB protocol may be in the form of one or a combination of the following:
(i) A certificate from a professional engineer or other appropriately qualified person which–
(A) certifies that the calculation method complies with a relevant ABCB protocol;
and
(B) sets out the basis on which it is given and the extent to which relevant specifications, rules, codes of practice and other publications have been relied upon.
(ii) Any other form of documentary evidence that correctly describes how the calculation method complies with a relevant ABCB protocol.
(c) Any copy of documentary evidence submitted, must be a complete copy of the original report or document.

Similar requirements can be found in Volume 2, for class 1 and class 10 buildings, but with different clause numbers.

Yes I know it should be BCA:2012, but I have little to zero use for the BCA, consequently hard to justify the expense every year.

To clarify I only have use of a single page in the BCA, a page which should be in AS/NZS1170. For the most part the BCA is just a partial catalogue of Australian Standards. Typically, designers make use of Australian Standards whether called up by legislation or not. Those who are not designers typically just propose, without demonstrating suitability for purpose. Suitability of purpose is dependent on a subjective judgement of what will be suitable: the task is to demonstrate that such level of performance will be achieved by a proposal.

The BCA requirements for demonstrating suitability and compliance, are only partial. Additional requirements may be required depending on jurisdiction. The additional requirements are typically forms to be filled in to meet local regulatory requirements. Manufacturers and suppliers should therefore seek to obtain designs and certifications which are independent of local requirements and which can readily be verified, accepted and approved in any jurisdiction. For example self-certification by RPEQ's in Queensland will meet opposition in South Australia, because it is not compliant with the requirements for a independent technical expert, further the certificates have inadequate information for independent technical assessment. Self-certification by designers and engineers, should therefore be avoided, no matter which jurisdiction operating in, since poor practice in the first instance.

I will write more on this later. I would prefer to be able to directly link to the clauses of the BCA, but this code is not readily accessible by all those it is imposed upon. If lucky you might get to view it at your local council office, or find it in your local library. Otherwise consult a building surveyor.