Route to Compliance

What are the Routes to Compliance?

Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) framework highlights that performance requirements are satisfied by one of the following
  • Performance Solution
  • Deemed-to-Satisfy Solution
  • Combination of both

 

Using a Performance Solution is a way of demonstrating compliance with the Performance Requirements, which can lead to better and more cost effective outcomes, as well as innovation.


Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

Performance Solutions

Kingspan Performance without Compromise
Until the recent development of AS5113 in 2016 and its inclusion in the NCC in 2018, there have not been prescribed facade test standards in existence in Australia. Where facade testing was done on systems in other countries this has provided, and still does provide, a valuable source of information for fire engineers needing to assess the performance of façade systems. More often than not other small scale data has been used, which does not typically give an accurate representation of fire performance on the external walls of buildings.

The NCC has been gravitating away from the prescriptive solution approach for some time. In 2018 it introduced a verification method (CV3) for meeting fire safety performance requirements for fire spread - AS5113 ‘Fire Propagation Testing and Classification of External Walls of Buildings’ – an external façade testing standard, as another way in which product manufacturers can comply with the performance provisions of the NCC using a performance solutions approach. This provides more flexible building opportunities for building designers to meet multiple performance requirements, and better suit the needs of the building usage - all in a more cost effective manner.

 

Deemed To Satisfy Solutions

The deemed to satisfy route can be used for compliance, which requires for Type A and B buildings to have external wall systems of non-combustible composition. Today the choice of compliance pathways applies which can include AS5113 or any other suitable evidence that meet the performance requirements of the NCC.

In a building required to be of Type A or B construction, external and common walls, including all components incorporated in them including the facade covering, framing and insulation should be of non-combustible construction. Non-combustibility and limited combustibility are both determined by small, bench-scale tests.

It is worth noting that the deemed-to-satisfy route fails to test how all components in a façade system interact with each other under a severe fire load to determine fire spread characteristics and structural integrity of the façade. This route to compliance focuses on small-scale fire testing of the insulation and the external rainscreen separately, ignoring the fact there are many more untested components that will impact fire spread such as glues, binder content, gaskets, paint, tapes, membranes, and thermal breaks on brackets. Under a realistic fire load condition, the thermal break on a supporting bracket could result in structural failure of the external rainscreen and cause it, along with fire barriers, to fall off a building. Also, penetrations, cavities and gaps in the façade are known to lead to highly variable performance (often adverse) in large scale tests.

It is also worth noting that façade systems consisting of mineral fibre and polyisocyanurate (PIR) failed BS 8414 tests carried out in the UK by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) for the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in 2017. This demonstrates that relying on small-scale materials tests, such as those used to determine ‘non-combustible’, are not as robust as a system performance based approach.
 

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Download this reference document for guidance on Fire Engineered Systems and Australia Building Code Compliance

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