FEATURED ARTICLE addition to the required exits to assist occupant to evacuate a building safely, the type location and fire isolation must be appropriate to the number, mobility and other characteristics of occupants”, in addition to seven other key criteria. With the inclusion of performance requirement DP7 into the NCC 2013, along came other materials providing guidance to building professionals and the wider community as a whole, being Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) “Lifts Used During Evacuation” (2013) Handbook4 and Metropolitan Fire Brigade Guidelines GL07 and GL315. Upon noting the previous clause in relation to occupant characteristics this is where my professional skills and life experience as a person with a disability converge and raise more questions rather than immediate answers.
OTHER CODES AND JURISDICTIONS Egress provisions exist in many forms in equivalent jurisdictions worldwide, notably in the United States6, Sweden7, New Zealand8 4 ABCB. (2013). Information Handbook: Lifts Used During Evacuation. Canberra, ACT: Australian Building Codes Board. 5 www.mfb.vic.gov.au 6 NFPA (2009). ‘NFPA 101 Life Safety Code’. National Fire Protection Association Inc., Quincy, Massachusetts, USA. 7 Building Regulations, Boverkert, Swedish Board of Housing, Building and Planning, Karlskrona, Sweden, 1994. 8 New Zealand Building Code, Building Industry Authority, Wellington, NZ, 1992.
and British9 Building Codes and Standards with varying requirements to achieve a satisfactory outcome. I am also the first to note, that I’m not the first person to undertake research and discussion around this topic10,11 but consider myself more than qualified to add to and raise items for discussion given my unique skill set.
ENGINEERING CONSTRAINTS AND PREVIOUS LEARNED BEHAVIOURS From review of other building codes and previous research the main constraints and problems that may prevent building occupants from using such facilities relate to education and training and ensuring that occupant confidence is instilled in the egress systems. For example, past educational efforts have taught persons that lifts are a risk in fire and should not be used. The education, training and occupant information issue needs to be addressed to ensure successful implementation of egress provisions for persons with a disability. 9 BS 5588 Fire Precautions in the Design and Construction of Buildings Part 8: Code of Practice for Means of Escape for Disabled Persons, British Standards Institute, London, UK, 1988. 10 Proulx, G. and Pineau, P., Review of Evacuation Strategies for Occupants with Disabilities, Institute for Research in Construction, National Research Council Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 1996. 11 Kuligowski, E, Elevators for Occupant Evacuation and Fire Department Access, NIST, 2003
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