Fire versus Access by Vanessa Griffin ACAA Accredited Access Consultant Vista Access Architects
Vanessa is an ACAA accredited member with an extensive working history in Building Surveying and Access Consulting and specialising in fire safety. Vanessa’s knowledge of the BCA and the relevant Australian Standards for fire safety saw her hold A1 accreditation with the BPB in NSW .
ire safety versus Access; it is the big question that no one really wants to answer, form a policy on, or make a judgement call for legislation. It has to be questioned ‘Why is it required that a person with a disability enter a building in a safe an equitable manner, and yet when a risk is at the forefront such as a fire in a building, safe evacuation and equitable evacuation for a person with a disability is not a requirement or a priority?’
The Building Code of Australia (NCC) Volume 1 is very specific for class 2 – 9 buildings. Section C Fire Resistance of the document holds the most weight about the construction methods and design requirements of a building. The main objective is to ensure safety of occupants in the event of a fire risk. However, the requirements are not generic across all states and territories in Australia. Each state or territory has their own variation to the prescribed deemed-to-satisfy requirements and it is important that you are familiar with the variations for the state or territory in which you are undertaking work. Variations are actually based on state-based research and the representations of each government. Whilst the BCA is a Commonwealth and State government initiative, the document is adopted by each state for their own variations. The building classification and the rise of storeys determine the type of construction method required for a building being either A, B, or C. Type A construction being the highest level and Type C the lowest level based on the use and the risk associated with the building.
THE MAGAZINE FOR THE ASSOCIATION OF CONSULTANTS IN ACCESS AUSTRALIA