Fire safety in new Class 2 and Class 3 residential buildings
Regulation Impact Statement for decision
In November 2018, ABCB agreed to amend the Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) provisions of the National Construction Code to require fire sprinkler systems in new Class 2 and 3 residential buildings of four or more storeys and less than 25 metres in effective height (generally those buildings four to eight storeys). Amendments to the NCC will be available to preview from February 2019 and will come into effect from 1 May 2019.
Existing DTS provisions specify the use of fire sprinkler systems in residential buildings that exceed 25 metres in height, but as sprinkler systems were historically not cost-effective for smaller building sizes a range of other passive and active systems were deemed adequate below this height. Prompted by concerns that the existing provisions were no longer meeting the performance standard of protecting building occupants from fire, the DTS provisions were reviewed for Class 2 and Class 3 buildings. These classifications cover residential multi-unit dwellings such as apartment buildings and residential type buildings such as motels. The review found that new, more cost-effective fire sprinkler solutions were now available for mid-rise residential buildings. Options considered by the ABCB included requiring the installation of fire sprinklers as the only DTS option, or adding the option to sprinkler protect these buildings to the existing DTS solutions.
The ABCB prepared the final Decision RIS and it was assessed as compliant by the Office of Best Practice Regulation under Council of Australian Governments RIS requirements.