PDF | 9 MB - Australian Building Codes Board


PDF | 9 MB - Australian Building Codes Board











The next Building Australia’s Future Conference...

Mark it in your diary now!

The Australian Building Codes Board

is proud to announce it’s next National

Conference to be held on the Gold Coast,

Queensland 18 - 21 September 2011.

Have you registered yet for the ABCB’s Building Australia’s Future

Conference in September? Don’t miss this opportunity to hear experts

in the field talk on each day’s topics: Operating with Codes & Standards,

Access for All and Buildings – the Environmental Balance.

HURRY! Do not miss out… To register for this event, or find out more,

visit www.abcb.gov.au to go to the registration form or email

baf2011@abcb.gov.au to have it emailed to you

The ABCB Conference is subject to change including dates and venues.

Further detailed information will be forthcoming over the next few months.

spriNg 2011


the australian building regulation bulletin


The Australian Building Regulation

Bulletin (ABRB)

The objective of the magazine is to provide

industry with technically based information.

The publisher reserves the right to alter or

omit any article or advertisement submitted

and requires indemnity from advertisers and

contributors against damages or liabilities

that may arise from material published.

■ Cover story

14 tropical Cyclone Yasi

■ features


Publications Coordinator:

Christian Rolfe


For advertising sales contact

1300 134 631



Typesetting and layout:

Whalen Image Solutions


McPherson’s Printing Group

76 Nelson Street,

Maryborough, VIC 3465


The ABRB has a national circulation

amongst the building and construction

industry reaching approximately 15,000

subscribers and a readership

of 45,000+.


Material in the ABRB is protected under

the Commonwealth Copyright Act 1968.

No material may be reproduced in part

or in whole without written consent

from the Commonwealth and State

and Territory Governments of Australia.

Requests and inquiries concerning

reproduction and rights should be

addressed to:

The General Manager

Australian Building

Codes Board

GPO Box 9839

Canberra ACT 2601

Cover Image:

Brisbane, Australia

a state perspeCtive

10 a state framework for mitigating Natural Hazards through land

use planning and building Control

baf 2011 overvieW

16 building australia’s future (baf) 2011

eNergY effiCieNCY iN tHe built eNviroNmeNt

20 energy efficiency glazing and the bCa

22 green roofs and Walls are growing up

25 green star revolution begins

toWard smarter buildiNg

26 top 5 free tools to build Your business

iNterNatioNal regulatorY developmeNt

28 it’s time to review the international fire engineering guidelines

produCt iNNovatioN

30 printing solar Cells

31 philips powerbalance led office luminaries

■ regulars

2 Chairman’s Address

Disclaimer: The views in this

magazine are not necessarily

the views of the Australian

Building Codes Board.

4 NCC and Industry News

32 Conference & Events Calendar

Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

• 1

CHairmaN’s address

Mr Graham Huxley AM

Welcome to the Spring 2011

edition of the Australian Building

Regulation Bulletin.

Having delivered the inaugural National

Construction Code (NCC), comprising

both the Building Code of Australia

(BCA) and Plumbing Code of Australia

(PCA), for adoption from 1 May this

year, the on-going consolidation of all

on-site regulatory matters will remain

a feature of the work of the Board. Our

work program for the coming year

includes scoping work for the possible

inclusion of gas-fitting requirements

in the NCC and further consolidation

and harmonisation of BCA / PCA

provisions. Additionally, the Building

Ministers’ Forum (BMF) has agreed to

the management and administration of

the WaterMark plumbing certification

scheme being transferred to the ABCB.

Following the transfer and bedding

down of Watermark the ABCB will

undertake a full review of the scheme,

including confirmation of policy

objectives and assessment of the

scheme rules. The review is anticipated

to be completed by June 2014 or earlier.

The year ahead will also see the Board

address life safety and resilience to

natural disaster issues. This includes

work on safety risks for building in

bushfire prone areas, a review of

the cyclone construction standards

(informed, in part, by a review of the

impact of Cyclone Yasi on buildings) and

what role building standards may play in

flood prone areas.

A new Intergovernmental Agreement

under which the ABCB operates is close

to finalisation by the nine governments

and we will shortly be developing a fiveyear

strategic plan to inform the BMF of

the longer term direction of our work,

consistent with the new Agreement.

We have released two new nonmandatory

Handbooks, Using On-site

Renewable and Reclaimed Energy Sources

and Condensation in Buildings, which

can be obtained from our website

www.abcb.gov.au free of charge.

These Handbooks have been prepared

to provide guidance to practitioners.

Articles featuring both the new

Handbooks can be found in this edition

of the ABRB.

My term as Chair of the ABCB is coming

to an end. I have thoroughly enjoyed

this interesting time during which we

have wrestled with the challenges of

balancing community expectations for

life safety, accessibility and sustainability

with those of affordability. It has

been a very full reform agenda with

many highlights. These include the

introduction of the NCC, the alignment

of the BCA to the Commonwealth’s

Premises Standards under the Disability

Discrimination Act 1992, energy

efficiency provisions as part of the

National Strategy for Energy Efficiency

and action to assist building resilience in

the face of natural disasters.

I would particularly like to thank

industry members who have given their

time to contribute to the development

of code amendments, especially those

involved in our technical committees

and consultation forums. Their

expertise has been critical to the

successful implementation of the busy

reform agenda.

For those of you attending our

National Conference, I look forward

to seeing you and hope it is again a

worthwhile opportunity for professional

development and networking with

industry peers.

Graham Huxley AM


2 • Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

Australian Building Codes Board

GPO Box 9839

Canberra ACT 2601


Compliance in

Construction… 2011

The new National Construction Code Series includes the

Plumbing Code of Australia - purchased individually or as an NCC package!

… Do You Comply?

National Construction Code (NCC): Complete Series

The new NCC complete series contains the BCA Commercial and

Residential Volumes (Vols One & Two including Vol One Appendices)

and the new Plumbing Code of Australia PCA (Vol Three). This

package also includes the E-Guide in both available formats.

Hard Copy & Online $399 PDF Download & Online $399

Building Code of Australia (BCA)

The BCA includes both Commercial and Residential Volumes (Vols

One, Two including Vol One Appendices) and also the E-Guide in

both available formats.

Hard Copy & Online $315 PDF Download & Online $315

NCC 2011


BCA Class 1 and Class 10 Buildings


National National Construction

Code Series Series



Building Code of Australia 2011

Class 1 and Class 10 Buildings

Residential Housing Provisions

The BCA Residential Volume (Vol Two) can be

purchased as a stand alone product and also

includes the E-Guide in both available formats.

Australian Building Codes Board

Building Australia’s Future

Hard Copy & Online $180

PDF Download & Online $180

NCC 2011

VOLUME THREE – Plumbing Code of Australia 2011


National National Construction

Code Series Series



Plumbing Code of Australia 2011

Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA)

The new PCA Volume (Vol Three) is available as a

stand alone product in the following two formats.

Hard Copy & Online $120

PDF Download & Online $120

NCC 2011


BCA Class 2 to Class 9 Buildings


National Construction



Code Series

Code Building Code of Australia 2011

Class 2 to Class 9 Buildings


Guide to BCA

The Guide is available as a single B5 printed

annual edition designed to be used in conjunction

with, and provide commentary on, Volume One of

the BCA

Hard Copy only $180

BCA & PCA Online:

Short-term Access

Online access to the BCA & PCA for up

to 30 consecutive days access or up to

12 individual days access on or before

30 April 2012

Monthly Access $70

Occasional Access $70

Australian Building Codes Board

Building Australia’s Future



National Construction Code Update – Plumbing Code of Australia

2012 changes

The National Construction Code Volume

Three – Plumbing Code of Australia

(PCA) has now been in operation in the

majority of States and Territories since

May this year. The PCA will undergo an

annual review and update process with

each new edition taking effect from 1


The Australian Building Codes Board

(ABCB) has recently completed the

public comment period for possible

changes for PCA 2012. Proposed

changes which may be of interest to the

plumbing industry include:

• The addition of Amendment 3 to AS/

NZS 3500 Plumbing and Drainage

Part 3 (Stormwater drainage) in the

referenced documents.

• The inclusion of Explanatory

Information boxes in the PCA.

Practitioners familiar with NCC

Volume Two – Building Code of

Australia Housing Provisions will

have come across these before;

they have been added to the PCA

to provide additional guidance on

the application of particular parts.

They are not mandatory and do not

change the effect of any clause.

• Minor amendments to Section C

– Sanitary Plumbing and Drainage

Systems, to clarify that it also applies

to systems other than those using

water-borne waste disposal.

The proposed changes for 2012 will

have minimal regulatory effect but are

intended to make the PCA clearer and

easier to use.

Future development

Over the next 12 months, several

research and development projects

will commence, to address concerns

raised with regard to several technical

issues, to ensure the PCA is a suitable

regulatory document. Projects include:

• A review of the PCA/BCA in an

attempt to remove conflicting

requirements between both


• A review of the primary Deemed-to-

Satisfy referenced standard series,

AS/NZS 3500 Plumbing and Drainage

Parts 1 to 5.

• An investigation into the impact

of waterless urinals on plumbing

systems in new and existing buildings

and assess proposed solutions

through a Regulatory Impact Analysis


• A review of Section 6 of AS 3500

Part 4 (Heated water services) with

the intent of developing clearer

installation requirements for both

new and retrofitted solar heated hot

water systems.

• An investigation to establish the

extent of the impact of dead water

draw- off on hot water delivery

within a heated water


in new and upgraded

buildings, and assess

possible options of

minimising water

wastage and efficient

energy consumption.

In addition to the above, the

Building Ministers’ Forum

have agreed to the transfer

of the administration of the

WaterMark Certification

Scheme (WMCS) to the

ABCB. Preliminary work has

begun and this will be an

ongoing major project for

the Office over the next

twelve months. The ABCB

will assume responsibility as

the Scheme administrator

from Standards Australia

and the tasks of the Scheme

manager from the National

Plumbing Regulators Forum.

The transfer of the Scheme

will involve the relocation

of the current WaterMark website,

including all associated data, the reestablishment

of Scheme administration

processes and the establishment of cost

recovery arrangements.

On completion of the transfer a

preliminary review of the WMCS will

be undertaken in consultation with key

stakeholders to ensure it operates in

the best interest of the community, the

plumbing and drainage industry, and

that it meets COAG Principles of Best

Practice Regulation.

The ABCB is committed to regular

review of the NCC to ensure clarity

of provisions, to upgrade referenced

documents if necessary and to reflect

the needs and requirements of


Further information about the PCA can

be found at www.abcb.gov.au

4 • Australian Building Regulation Bulletin


ABCB Online and Electronic Delivery Strategy

The ABCB is developing a long-term

strategy to enhance the delivery of the

National Construction Code and other

electronically delivered products and


The strategy includes:

• the provision of a new public website,

• a new online shop,

• the re-development and

enhancement of the NCC Online, and

• new in-house systems for more

effective authoring processes.

Progress has been made in two areas of

the strategy which has seen the launch

of the new online shop in March 2011

and the expected launch of the new

website in October 2011.

The Online Shop

The new shop provides a muchimproved

method of purchasing that

speeds up the process for our customers

and provides quicker delivery times

of products, especially the new PDF

version which can be downloaded

immediately after the purchase is

approved. Additional features are in the

process of being implemented, such

as an improved document download

accessible from the customer’s account,

access to previous invoices, statistics etc.

As from NCC 2012, all purchasing of

ABCB publications will be undertaken

through the online shop using either

Visa or Mastercard.

The Public Website

A major re-development of the ABCB

website will provide visitors with a more

modern and functional site where they


• navigate easily through the site.

• utilise a more comprehensive search


• lodge online feedback on public

documents and processes such as

comments on the NCC amendments,

Regulatory Impact Statements etc.

• access online registration for events.

• view updated and re-structured


The new content management system

which manages the site also enables the

ABCB to ensure better accessibility of

data and faster, more efficient updating

of information.

The NCC Online

The development of a new NCC Online

is a major component of the ABCB’s

IT strategy. The site was originally

launched in 2004 and it is recognised

that a complete revamp is required.

The re-development of the site will

garner input from various sources such

as users, the building and construction

industry and experts in electronic

delivery of regulatory information.

An emerging trend in the construction

industry, both nationally and

internationally, is the use of Building

6 • Australian Building Regulation Bulletin


Information Models (BIMs) in the

design phase of a building. These are

models that contain all building data

during a building’s life cycle, and are a

single integrated model representation

from which all drawings & reports are

generated. BIMs cover geometry, spatial

relationships, geographic information,

quantities and properties of building

components. The BIM relies on the

interoperability of data and to this end,

architecture design software companies

are being contracted to build libraries of

building components and design tools

that provide this interoperability.

The ABCB has initiated research into

BIMs to determine if there is a role

for them in the new NCC Online. We

have reviewed comment/experiences

from a number of countries including

Singapore, Norway, Sweden,

Netherlands, Spain and Canada.

Most have instigated BIMs into their

processes. Similarly some organisations

within Australia are also beginning

to implement BIMs solutions in their

business practices and the ABCB is

currently in consultation with these

organisations and are investigating

these systems.

The re-development of the NCC Online

is a major undertaking and an estimated

implementation date is yet to be


Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

• 7


NeW NoN-maNdatorY HaNdbooks


Condensation in Buildings

2 0 1 1



In partnership with Australian Institute

of Architects and industry, the ABCB has

produced a Non-Mandatory Handbook,

Condensation in Buildings, to provide

greater clarification for managing

condensation in buildings.

The information contained in the

Handbook has been developed in order

to provide additional information, detail

and advice relating to the management

of the risk of condensation in buildings,

particularly the interstitial spaces within

the roof and walls of framed buildings.

The Handbook was commissioned

because of an increase in the

incidence of condensation causing

damage and loss which has occurred

as a result of changes to building

materials and practices that have and

continue to transform the industry.

This handbook does not deal with

internal condensation or mechanical

condensation formation within


This Non-Mandatory Handbook is

intended to assist architects, designers

and builders in the assessment

and the management of the risk of

condensation and its consequences in

the contemporary industry environment

and should be read in conjunction with

the BCA provisions relating to Damp and

Weather Proofing, Energy Efficiency and

Construction in Bushfire Prone Areas.

Appropriate detailing of buildings

ensures they remain serviceable, the

occupants remain healthy and that

the design life of the building is not

compromised. The outcome of failing

to adequately detail for moisture

control is a common underlying cause

of many reported building failures.

The rectification of the side-effects

of condensation can result in costly

repairs and in the case of related fungal

and mould infestations, prohibitively

expensive repairs.

Traditionally our buildings were not

airtight and had little or no insulation.

However, as a result of changing

occupant practices and the introduction

of mandatory energy efficiency and

enhanced bushfire construction

requirements, building practices

are changing, requiring a change in

detailing so that moisture related

problems are adequately managed.

While a common cause of moisture

related problems is due to water ingress,

the focus of this Handbook is controlling

moisture within the building’s fabric

resulting from condensation.

Condensation in Buildings is available

free of charge from the ABCB website



Using On-site Renewable and

Reclaimed Energy Sources

2 0 1 1



As part of the ABCB’s range of

information handbooks, a new

handbook has been released: “Using

On-site Renewable and Reclaimed

Energy Sources”. The free Information

Handbook is non-mandatory and

written in generic terms to raise

awareness of the opportunities to

use on-site renewable energy sources

and reclaimed energy sources as part

of complying with Volume One and

Volume Two of the Building Code of

Australia (BCA).

The Handbook identifies a range of

on-site renewable and reclaimed

energy sources and discusses how

they can be used for services such as

domestic hot water, space heating and

cooling, and swimming pool and spa

pool heating. Some of these energy

sources are specified in the Deemedto-Satisfy

Provisions, while others could

be considered as part of an Alternative


While the BCA enables the incorporation

of on-site renewable and reclaimed

energy sources into buildings, these

energy sources have been considered

to be a companion to, and not a

replacement for, good levels of building

fabric performance.

The Handbook has been peerreviewed

by the Clean Energy Council

to ensure the technical accuracy of

the information, and the feasibility

of finding products that use on-site

renewable and reclaimed energy


Handbooks, resource kits and other

guidance material can be found on the

ABCB website www.abcb.gov.au.

8 • Australian Building Regulation Bulletin


Using On-site Renewable and

Reclaimed Energy Sources

Condensation in Buildings








Performance Standard

for Private Bushfire Shelters



BCA Section J -

Assessment and

Verification of an

Alternative Solution






Energy Efficiency


for Electricians

and Plumbers




Digital TV Antenna Systems



Digital TV

Antenna Systems for Homes




2 0 0 9




The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) and the participating

Governments are committed to enhancing the availability and

dissemination of information relating to the built environment.

Where appropriate, the ABCB seeks to develop non-regulatory

solutions to building related issues.

These Handbooks are non-mandatory and are designed to assist

in making information on these topics readily available.

The Handbooks are freely available from www.abcb.gov.au

Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

• 9


A State Framework for

Mitigating Natural

Hazards through Land Use

Planning and Building Control

Building Control works with the planners, the geoscientists and

the emergency managers to mitigate risk from natural hazards.

Tasmanian legislation maintains the

distinction between planning and

building and does not integrate the

process like some states. However whilst

there are separate Acts the objectives

are similar and government officials

work together to achieve the best

outcomes for the community. Recently

Building Control staff have been

working closely with other Agencies to

develop more streamlined, risk based


Whilst like much of the rest of Australia,

Tasmania has suffered the consequences

of floods, coastal inundation and high

winds in recent times, thankfully, due to

the return of more seasonal rainfall, the

bushfire risk over the last two summers

was lower. However other natural

hazards such as landslides have reappeared

after 30-40 years of apparent

dormancy. Tasmania has commenced

a review of its planning and building

approach, and emergency response

capability, to all natural hazards.

The Tasmanian Government, in response

to 13 February 2011 Council of Australian

Governments (COAG) – National

Strategy for Disaster Resilience and

responding to the August 2010 Review

of construction and development in

bushfire prone areas and, the November

2010 review of land use planning, coastal

inundation, and coastal erosion, as well

as the development of the August 2009

National Emergency Risk Assessment

Guidelines (NERAG), is developing a

State Framework for Mitigating Natural

Hazards through Land Use Planning.

Adequate consideration of natural

hazards in the planning and building

system requires a bringing together

of governance, evidence, and risk

management as elements of a framework

with the purpose of understanding and

improving the state’s resilience and

response to natural hazards.

The review into construction and

development in bushfire prone areas

highlighted gaps in the legislation,

definitions, evidence, and regulation

in the Building Act and BCA and the

planning system.

The National Emergency Risk

Assessment Guidelines (NERAG) unpacks

the Australian Standard 3100: 2009 Risk

management principles and guidelines

(AS3100), to provide principles and a

method of assessing the risk relating to

natural hazards. These include:

• Roles and responsibilities of

individuals in managing private risks;

• Role of Governments in supporting

individuals to manage private risks;

• Intersection between private risks

and public risks, including risks

associated with moral hazards;

• Impacts of Government policies

on the ownership of risks and the

capacity to, or likelihood that risks

from natural hazards will be factored

into investment decisions; and

• Impact of Government policies on

community resilience and the ability

of communities to own and manage

risks at the local level.

Earlier this year COAG agreed to the

National Strategy for Disaster Resilience

(the Strategy). The Strategy outlines a

new approach to risk management that

focuses on the Australian community

accepting a share responsibility to

prevent, prepare, respond and recover

from natural disasters. This includes

developing a shared understanding of

risks posed by natural disasters.

The Strategy recognises that

Governments, at all levels, have a

significant role in strengthening the

nation’s resilience to disasters by:

• Developing and implementing

effective risk-based land

management and planning

arrangements and other mitigation


• Having effective arrangements in

place to inform people about how to

assess risks and reduce their exposure

and vulnerability to hazards;

• Having clear and effective education

systems so people understand what

options are available and what the

best course of action is in responding

to a hazard as it approaches;

• Supporting individuals and

communities to prepare for extreme


• Ensuring the most effective, wellcoordinated

response from our

emergency services and volunteers

when disaster hits; and

10 • Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

• Working in a swift, compassionate

and pragmatic way to help

communities recover from

devastation and to learn, innovate

and adapt in the aftermath of

disastrous events.

Currently Tasmania does not have a

clear set of principles in place to guide

how government should intervene in

the use of land to manage risks arising

from natural hazards. Without these

principles, it is difficult to establish a

common direction that the different

arms of government can work towards,

or provide guidance to the community

on public versus private responsibility

for each natural hazard.

The new State Framework aims to

develop those principles.

AS3100 supports the principle of

managing risk, or ensuring that the

likely costs associated with an exposure

to a natural hazard is known and

balanced against the benefits that

arise from the activity that gives rise to

the exposure. In terms of residential

properties, perfect risk management

would mean that all residents are

aware of the risks from natural hazards

and make a conscious choice that the

benefits of occupying the property are

greater than the costs, including the cost

associated with those hazards. The role

of government, and the responsibility

(and capacity) for government to

manage both public and private risk, is a

fundamental issue for the Framework.

It is in this context, and considering the

Land Use Planning and Approvals Act,

the Emergency Management Act, the

Building Act and 2011 COAG decision,

that the following set of the principles

for the interaction of emergency

management, land management and

the responsibility of government with

respect to each hazard have been

developed. These are outlined below :

1. Private risks associated with natural

hazards are the responsibility of


2. Governments should encourage

risks to be factored into investment

decisions (public and private);

3. Governments can support individuals

to take ownership of private risks

through the collection of evidence

and provision of information;

4. Governments should ensure that

private investment does not gives rise

to unacceptable public risk; and

5. Government should avoid

investments that give rise to

unacceptable public or private risks.


In December 2010 the Tasmanian

Planning Commission endorsed the

development of a set of statewide

planning codes for planning schemes in

a number of broad topic areas. These are

mandatory common provisions for use

and development.

Statewide codes are used in new

planning schemes to:

• cover issues requiring statewide


• ensure that the schemes are

reflective of current policy directions

and initiatives;

• improve the consistency of

decision-making regarding permit


• reduce contested planning decisions

and third party appeals based on

poorly drafted planning standards;


• streamline planning processes and

clearly articulate consistent state

interests in planning schemes.

The first phase of development of the

statewide codes includes:

• Bushfire Prone Areas Code;

• Landslide Code;

• Potentially Contaminated Land Code;

• Flood Prone Land Code; and

• Road and Railway Assets Code

Building Control staff have been closely

associated with the development of

the draft Bushfire Prone Areas Code.

A definition of Bushfire Prone Area is

being developed suitable for use in

the Building Regulations. Once the

definition is settled by the Planning

Commission it will be incorporated

in the Building Regulations and the

bushfire provisions of the BCA will come

into force for the first time.

Whilst the development of the Bushfire

Prone Areas Code is an interesting

collaborative exercise, the staff at

Building Control recently experienced

what it must have been like to be a 19th

century explorer. Collaborating with

Mineral Resources Tasmania geoscience

staff and showing the local Break O’Day

Council some of the risks associated

with development in a Declared

Landslip Area, the field party discovered

a number of significant unreported

landslips on the coastal escarpment

in Georges Bay, North East Tasmania.

These landslips are below dense existing

residential development in a Declared

Landslip Area. The area is also highly

wooded and a bushfire prone area

creating fuel management issues in an

area where vegetation removal could

see catastrophic slope failure.


Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

• 11


Tasmania is situated on a stable

continental plate far from the nearest

active plate boundaries, so it is a

reasonable assumption that the range of

geohazards to be expected is somewhat

limited. However those hazards that

do exist in Tasmania pose real risks to

people, structures, infrastructure and

the environment. To address these

geohazards a modern risk assessment

methodology is increasingly being

applied throughout Tasmania.

A standard risk assessment approach

to any phenomenon that may

impose harm on society is to measure

consequences against likelihood. This

allows judgements to be made on the

acceptability of particular hazards, to

compare various hazards against each

other and to aid communication of the

risk. Furthermore, it can be a powerful

tool in order to develop strategies

for lowering risk by exploring various

management options.

The principal geohazards considered

by Mineral Resources Tasmania (MRT)

which are of interest to Building Control

are landslides (i.e. slides, rock falls and

debris or earth flows).

Large tracts of land throughout

Tasmania are subject to slope instability

and about 125 houses are known to

have been destroyed by landslides, or

demolished due to extensive

damage, since the 1950s.

Fortunately no loss of life

has occurred in this time

but such events are highly

traumatic to those directly

affected and the financial

cost to individuals and the

State runs into many millions

of dollars.

Landslides are a type

of natural hazard that

can be studied in order

to understand their

distribution, frequency

of movement, triggering

conditions and likely effects.

By properly understanding

landslide hazards it is often

possible to minimise the

effects on engineered

structures (e.g. houses and

roads) and the community.

New landslide susceptibility

maps produced by MRT

can be used by town planners to avoid

unstable areas when new subdivisions

are being proposed.

MRT undertakes several activities

with respect to landslides including

regional mapping, administration of

declared (or proclaimed) Landslip Areas

and monitoring of a small number of

‘problematic’ Landslides

Mineral Resources Tasmania has

produced the Tasmanian Landslide

Map Series with the aim of improving

landslide risk management in Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Landslide Map Series is

the result of a partnership between the

three tiers of

government and

was supported

by external

funding from the

Natural Disaster



At the time of


series of 1:25 000

scale maps have

been published

for Hobart,



and four map

areas in the North West Coast region

(Devonport, Ulverstone, Burnie and

Wynyard). Three more cover the

length of the Tamar Valley currently in


The Tasmanian Landslide Map Series has

been produced to provide a consistent

information source to aid in the

assessment and management of the

risks posed by landslides.

The map series is designed to serve an

advisory role to:

• Government regulators

(particularly Local Government) in

the preparation of land use planning

schemes and requirements for use

and development, so as to more

effectively manage landslide risk;

• Geotechnical practitioners,

providing background information

in conducting site investigations and

landslide risk assessments;

• Other parties and the general public

to whom the information may also be

of interest.

For each of the mapped areas a set of

themed maps has been produced (in

varying combinations). These maps, and

the associated data, are available in a

variety of formats - paper maps, digital

GIS layers and electronic images.

The images below are samples from the

themed maps within each set.

Landslide susceptibility zones

are identified through a regional

assessment that outlines areas that,

based on expert experience, have

Landslide Inventory — mapped landslides and recorded damage.

Source: Mineral Resources Tasmania

12 • Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

unfavourable combinations of slope and

geology. The maps present modelled

predictions about slopes that are

potentially susceptible to each landslide

process. Development of sites within

identified landslide susceptible zones

usually requires a site investigation

and a landslide risk assessment to be

undertaken by a qualified geotechnical



The landslide susceptibility zones

depicted on the maps reflect different

landslide processes: rockfall (falls &

topples); shallow slides and/or flows

(debris or earth flows); and deep-seated

slides. However these maps do not

indicate the likelihood of a landslide at

any given location.

The susceptibility zones predict where

potential landslides may originate

(source areas), where they may travel

downslope (runout areas) and, in

the case of deep-seated slides, what

area upslope might also be affected

(regression areas). The maps also

show known past landslides that may

potentially be reactivated, either by

human disturbance or adverse natural


Proclaimed Landslip A and B areas:

In exceptional circumstances the

Tasmanian Government has in the

past proclaimed Landslip (A and

B) areas. Only a small number of

these legislated Landslip Areas exist,

compared to the much greater area of

landslide-susceptible land. In essence

A Landslip areas are those where no

more development is allowed, while

B Landslip areas allow development

with strict controls. Building Control

staff have a role in advising the Minister

on certain building work that requires

Ministerial permission and work closely

with MRT.

The basic reference for landslide risk

assessment and management is the

2007 Australian Geomechanics Society

Landslide Risk Management Guidelines,

which includes the Australian GeoGuides

information sheets, and provides

best practice for both geotechnical

practitioners and regulators.

Rockfall Susceptibility — modelled susceptibility zones.

Source: Mineral Resources Tasmana

Clearly there is an increasing use of risk

assessment in land management and

emergency management in Tasmania.

Rather than prescriptive maps or

statements, in future land managers

will be using evidence based risk

management techniques to obtain

the best outcomes for the community.

This technique is not dissimilar to the

performance based approach used in

the National Construction Code.

Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

• 13



February 2011

Tropical Cyclone Yasi (TC Yasi)

made landfall in the early hours

of Thursday 3 February 2011, with

the eye passing over the Mission

Beach region of Queensland.

The maximum wind gusts were

estimated to be around 140

to 225 km/h, across an area

stretching from Townsville to


The circumstances leading up to TC

Yasi’s landfall were dramatic. There

was genuine concern about its likely

destructive intensity, (thought at the

time to be a Category 5 event). Over

30,000 people were evacuated from low

lying coastal areas for fear of large storm


Following TC Yasi, the Australian

Building Codes Board (ABCB) engaged

the James Cook University Cyclone

Testing Station (CTS) to research

the effects of cyclonic wind speed

loads associated with TC Yasi and the

implications this may have for future

directions in building standards and

the National Construction Code which

comprises in part the Building Code of

This post 1980s home sustained little damage apart from a collapsed roller door.

Australia (BCA) Volumes One and Two.

The BCA is primarily aimed at providing

life safety in the community.

KEy Report findings

The CTS Yasi report found that under the

heavy wind loads of TC Yasi, buildings

constructed or extensively modified

since the 1980s

performed well. The

main exceptions were

roller doors, tiled roofs

and water entry.

The report found that

less than 3% of all

post-80s houses in the

worst affected areas

experienced significant

roof damage,

although more than

12% of the pre-80s

housing inspected

had significant roof

damage. More than

20% of the pre-80s

Damage to a house constructed before 1980.

housing in some towns had significant

roof loss. The generally low incidence

of damage in the post-80s buildings

indicates that current building practices

(under the BCA) are able to deliver a

satisfactory outcome for most buildings

at these load levels. This should be

expected given the wind speeds were

55% to 95% of typical housing’s ultimate

limit state design wind speed as

specified in the BCA.

The CTS report reinforced the need to

consider the whole building envelope,

including cladding, doors, windows,

roller doors, eaves lining and skylights to

resist the design wind forces. The study

also highlighted the role of dominant

openings in determining the internal

pressures in buildings.

In addition to wind damage sustained

to pre-80s housing, TC Yasi delivered

a destructive storm surge to areas

between Clump Point and Lucinda.

Fortunately it did not coincide with

a high tide. Even so, significant

damage to several structures resulted.

14 • Australian Building Regulation Bulletin


Addressing the risk to the building stock

through either avoiding or resisting

the loads induced by storm surge will

require both planning and building

design considerations.

Finally, the report has highlighted the

inadequacy of the sparse anemometer

network along the tropical coast.




Habitable dwellings, such as houses

and flats, in cyclonic regions of Australia

are the predominant shelter for the

community during cyclone events.

Poor performance of these dwellings in

withstanding severe wind loads could

result in damage to the structure and

increased risk to life and community


The BCA specifies acceptable design

levels for cyclone construction by

prescribing the annual probability of

exceedance of loads for various building

classes. The BCA requires buildings in

cyclonic regions to be constructed to

reduce the risk of structural failure and

water ingress caused by a cyclone.

The BCA commenced as a performance

based code in 1996 providing national

building requirements for buildings

in cyclone affected areas. The current

BCA requires houses to withstand a

cyclone with an annual probability of

exceedance of 1 in 500. For buildings

essential to post-disaster recovery, this

increases to 1 in 2000. The BCA calls up a

number of Australian Standards covering

design, construction and materials

specific to withstanding the impacts of

a cyclone. The CTS report’s implications

will assist with work already underway

to determine the adequacy of existing

cyclone construction requirements. A

number of recommendations relate to

matters included in

various Australian

Standards which

will need to be

considered by

Standards Australia.

The majority of

the buildings

destroyed in past

events were pre-

BCA buildings. This

was also evidenced

in 2006, when TC

Larry struck the

Queensland coast

resulting in no loss

Large openings in a shed contributing to major damage.

of life. The ABCB will continue to work

with Standards Australia and industry

groups such as the roof tile industry and

shed manufacturers to ensure problem

areas identified in the CTS Yasi report

are being addressed.

The report has also been useful in

informing a current ABCB project

reviewing the BCA provisions for the

construction of buildings in cyclone

affected areas. The ABCB released a

Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) late

last year, seeking public comment on a

number of proposals relating to building

in areas affected by cyclones. A final RIS

is expected soon for consideration by

the ABCB Board.

Extensive tile damage to a post 1980s House

Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

• 15

af 2011 overvieW

Building Australia’s Future looks set to once again deliver a world-class built

environment learning and networking opportunity in 2011. Capturing the best of

contemporary topics this year themes will focus on: Codes & Standards; Access For All;

and Buildings – The Environmental Balance.

If you have not already registered for this biennial event, now’s your chance! Delegates are able to

attend the full Conference or individual days and functions of their choosing.

See the registration form on our website www.abcb.gov.au

Don’t miss out!

Book NOW to avoid disappointment!

tHe veNue

Building Australia’s Future 2011 will be held 18-21 September at the

Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa on Queensland’s Gold Coast

commencing with a formal welcoming reception on the Sunday


Recently refurbished just in time for this years conference the Marriott

is an award-winning five star resort located right in the heart of the

Gold Coast, with its magnificent beaches and sub-tropical rainforests

of the nearby hinterland.

tHe CoNfereNCe

This year’s Conference

will address today’s most

prevalent issues and

what they mean for our

industry. During three full days of plenarys and workshops,

delegates will have the opportunity to hear presentations from acclaimed national and

international speakers and participate hands-on in workshops covering a range of topical

and contemporary issues. Themes this year will be ‘Operating with Codes and Standards’,

‘Access for All’, and ‘Buildings – the Environmental Balance’.

16 • Australian Building Regulation Bulletin




Monday 19 September:

Operating with Codes and


Today, the conference will officially open

with a welcome by the Chairman of the

Australian Building Codes Board. Plenary

sessions will commence with our first

international guest speaker, Mr Ong See

Ho from the Singapore Building and

Construction Authority, who will provide

us with an insight into the challenges of

redefining an entire building industry.


the rest of the morning we will also

be informed on some of the many

contemporary regulatory and technical

issues faced by industry today, such as

product surety, fire safety, thermal and

structural effectiveness and possibilities

in multi-storey design.

Our workshop in the afternoon

will provide participants with an

opportunity to discuss the technical

application of the BCA and to explore

the differences in interpretation in

its use. Engage with fellow delegates

and the ABCB and be tested by a

series of challenging case studies

to better develop your skills and

understanding of your regulatory


Tuesday 20 September:

Access For All

A special treat for today will be

the keynote presentation by

Australia’s Disability Discrimination

Commissioner, Mr Graeme Innes,

who will touch on some of the

many issues associated with the

accessibility of buildings and where

we might head to from here. Given

the release this year of the new

Access for Premises Standards and

the consequential changes to the

Building Code of Australia this is a

topic of relevance for all attendees.

Following our opening address

we will also have informative


from various sectors of the community

and industry which directly impact on

how building practitioners and certifiers

understand and undertake their access

related work. Our international guest

presenter from Sweden will provide

some contrast to our practices and

our special invited speaker from Vision

Australia will highlight the trials and


of the vision

impaired in



We’ll look

at future

proofing our

housing for

an ageing




issues in



the credibility of access consultants and

cover some of the important details

from the certifier’s perspective.

In the afternoon workshop you will

experience how building design affects

us all and learn and discuss issues of

interpretation relating to the new

requirements of the Premises Standard.

All in all a big day!

Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

• 17

af 2011 overvieW

Wednesday 21 September:

Buildings – The Environmental


Today’s theme says it all and our

opening presenter will set a high

standard that is expected to flow

throughout the day. Michael Mobbs is

a specialist in the design, construction

and project management of sustainable

food, water, energy and recycled

water projects for both residential and

commercial markets. He has a ‘can do’

attitude that he wants to share with all

and you won’t want to miss what he has

to say!

Following Michael we have an exciting

mix of international, technical and

regulatory speakers. They’ll cover the

latest on climate impacts on cyclonic

activity, the similar climate of Spain

and the approach of the Spanish to

energy efficient buildings, the latest

in Commonwealth policy direction

on energy, the effectiveness of

roof coverings and some warnings

and reminders on the unintended

consequences of not heeding the advice

of the experts.

After lunch we will return for a specially

designed workshop developed to

provide participants with a greater

understanding of the BCA’s energy

efficiency provisions through interactive

sessions and the opportunity to discuss,

engage and network in a practical

environment with their peers.


The Conference will also involve a

highly entertaining social program

which will see delegates enjoying a

Welcome Reception by the pool on the

Sunday evening, a Calypso Dinner at

Fishermans Wharf on the Monday, and

the fabulous Black & White Golden Years

of Hollywood themed Gala Dinner on

the Wednesday.



Delegates involved in Continued

Professional Development (CPD)

Schemes should note that it is possible

to be awarded points for attending both

the plenary and workshop sessions

across the three days. To be awarded

CPD points, delegates must contact their

scheme administrator.

Building Australia’s Future 2011 is not to

be missed by any building professional

who wishes to gain an insight into the

contemporary issues facing the building

and construction industry today.


Please visit our website at www.abcb.

gov.au for further details, including

registration form, conference program

and conference pricing.

Building Australia’s Future 2011 Conference is proudly supported by:

18 • Australian Building Regulation Bulletin





Buildings – The Environmental Balance

Access for All

Operating with Codes and Standards

Chairperson: Peter Gow, Executive Director, Building

Chairperson: Barry Neilsen, Director, Pitt & Sherry

Chairperson Don Freeman, General Manager of Building Policy

Commission WA

Consulting Engineers

- Department of Planning and Local Government SA

08:20 Introduction/Housekeeping 08:20 Session Opening 08:20 Session Opening

Official Opening – ABCB Chairman Graeme Innes – Disability Discrimination Commissioner

Michael Mobbs – Sustainable Projects

Keynote presentation

Keynote presentation

Putting out the welcome mat in our new accessible buildings –

Rebuilding affordably, quickly and beginning tomorrow

Where to from here in access developments

Ong See Ho – Singapore Building & Construction Authority

Dr Nikolaj Tolstoy – Swedish National Board of Housing, Building &

Prof John McAneney – Risk Frontiers

Keynote presentation


Climate Change impacts on cyclone activity

Transforming the Singapore building and construction industry –

Accessibility and usability in Swedish legislation and in reality

The regulatory lever

David Waldren – Grocon Group

Michael Simpson – Vision Australia

Jose Antonio Tenorio Rios – Instituto de Ciencias de la Construccion

Overcoming the trials of multistorey developments

Still negotiating the maze

Eduardo Torroja

Energy Efficiency – An international perspective

David Sharp – BRANZ & John Gardiner – NZ Department of Building

Amelia Starr – National Disability Services

Gene McGlynn – Department of Climate Change & Energy

and Housing

Universal Housing – Preparing for the future


Making it easier for building products to demonstrate compliance

Building a clean energy future

with the Building Code

10:15 – 10:45 Morning Tea

Prof Adrian Page – Think Brick

Eric Martin – Eric Martin & Associates

Dennis D’Arcy – ICANZ

Looking for a true measure of the dynamic thermal response of

Access to heritage buildings

walls and buildings

Prof Ian Thomas – Victoria University

Allan Harriman – Australian Institute of Building Surveyors

Tony Tanner – Roofing Tile Association of Australia

Smoke Alarms in Dwellings – Improved occupant safety with timely

The Access To Premises Standards – A few practicalities

Solar absorptance and energy efficiency – What role does solar

activation and effective notification

absorptance of roof cover play in determining heating and cooling


John Clampett – John Clampett Consulting

Dr Max Murray – Access Designs

Phil Wilkinson – Australian Institute of Refrigeration Airconditioning

Codes of Practice – Industry working collaboratively to develop

Access consultants – Their role and credibility

& Heating

non-regulatory solutions

Advice from a plant lover – Making sure HVAC systems stay green

David Henderson – Cyclone Testing Station

Adam Stingemore – Standards Australia

Andy Russell – Proctor Group Australia

Wind loads and the performance of buildings in wind storms

Challenges and opportunities regarding technical standards in the

Pushing the envelope – have we considered condensation?

built environment

12:20 – 13:30 Lunch

Operating with Codes and Standards Workshops Access for All Workshops Buildings – The Environmental Balance Workshops

3:00 – 3:30 Afternoon Tea

Operating with Codes and Standards Workshops Access for All Workshops Buildings – The Environmental Balance Workshops

4.30pm Finish

Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

PLEASE NOTE: This conference program is subject to change at any time.

• 19


NCC eNergY & INDUSTRY effiCieNCY NEWS iN tHe built eNviroNmeNt

eNergY effiCieNCY

glaziNg aNd tHe bCa

Written by The Australian Glass and Glazing Association

Since the introduction of the

Building Code of Australia (BCA)

2010, architects and building

designers are bound by the

more stringent energy efficiency

provisions of Section J. Energy

regulations now determine the

selection of building materials to

a greater extent than ever before

and, in particular, changes to the

Code’s glazing provisions have

made architects and building

designers re-examine how they

will achieve compliance with the


Despite the tougher glazing

requirements of the BCA 2010, there is

no doubt that the intention of the new

provisions was not to limit the amount

of glazing in buildings but rather to

increase building energy efficiency.

Provided that the appropriate glazing

system is specified, designers can

continue to use extensive glazing and

achieve compliance with the Code.

“Energy efficient glass is one of the

easiest and most cost effective solutions

to help architects and designers

comply with the BCA, while providing

for maximising glazed areas and

design freedom,” says Nigel Carpenter,

Executive Director of the Australian

Glass and Glazing Association (AGGA).

“Major advances in the Australian glass

industry over recent years means it is

well placed to provide a range of glass

solutions, including double glazing

and high performance coatings, which

can maximise control over energy


The ideal glass solution will provide

appropriate lighting levels, while

insulating against heat loss and

shielding unwanted heat gain. That said,

it’s important to recognise that there is

no ‘one size fits all’ answer.

“Glazing solutions need to be

considered on a case-by-case basis

rather than by taking a general

approach. For instance; climate zone,

orientation and insulation levels, as well

as what performance characteristics

you want your glass to provide beyond

thermal performance, such as acoustic

control or glare minimisation, should all

be taken into account.”

However, there is one constant when it

comes to specifying windows and glass.

“SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient)

and U-value are critical considerations,”

says Nigel. “A low U-value is generally

preferable regardless of climate,

Melbourne Grammar, Photo: Peter Hyatt

Nigel Carpenter

whereas SHGC should be based on the

climate as well as the orientation of

the windows. In cooler climates, north

facing windows should have a high

SHGC to allow for passive solar energy

in winter; fixed shading should be

designed to shade the windows during

summer. East and west facing windows

should have a low SHGC to avoid

overheating in summer. In hot climates,

a low SHGC is always ideal.”

While specifying the appropriate glass

is fundamental to any glazing solution,

architects and building designers should

be aware that BCA compliance depends

on the thermal performance of the

whole window system.

Nigel acknowledges that the issue of

cost is invariably raised whenever high

performance glass is discussed but says

that, in many cases, the extra upfront

costs are more than compensated for.

“In addition to the decreased energy

costs made possible through the

improved thermal performance

provided by the glazing, reducing

heating and cooling loads mean it

may be possible to downsize plant

requirements and therefore also

offsetting upfront costs,” he says.

The AGGA has recently launched a new

website featuring valuable information

on glass and glazing, such as glazing for

different climates and specifying glass

for energy efficiency.

Visit www.agga.org.au.

About the AGGA: The AGGA is the

peak industry body for the glass and

glazing industry, representing over 600

manufacturers, importers, processors,

installers, glaziers and suppliers to the

building and window industry. The AGGA

aims to heighten awareness of the benefits

glass can provide, including increased

energy efficiency, improved safety and

outstanding design freedom.

20 • Australian Building Regulation Bulletin




Building Commission

Department of Commerce

Level 1, 31 Troode Street, West Perth, WA 6005

Locked Bag 12, West Perth, WA 6872

Telephone: 1300 489 099

E-mail: info@buildingcommission.wa.gov.au

Hours: 8.30am-5.00pm

Web site: www.buildingcommission.wa.gov.au


Department of Lands and Planning

Building Advisory Services Branch

Cavenagh House, 38 Cavenagh Street,

Darwin NT 0800

GPO Box 1680, Darwin, NT 0801

Telephone: 08 8999 8960

E-mail: bas.lpe@nt.gov.au

Hours: 8.00am-4.00pm

Web site: www.nt.gov.au


Department of Infrastructure and Planning

Building Codes Queensland Division

Level 3, 63 George Street, Brisbane, QLD 4000

PO Box 15009, City East, QLD 4002

Telephone: 07 3239 6369

E-mail: buildingcodes@dip.qld.gov.au

Hours: 8.30am-5.00pm

Web site: www.dip.qld.gov.au



Department of Planning and Local Government, Building Policy

Roma Mitchell House

136 North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000

GPO Box 1815, Adelaide, SA 5001

Telephone: 08 8303 0602

E-mail: plnsa.building@saugov.sa.gov.au

Hours: 9.00am-5.00pm

Web site: www.planning.sa.gov.au


Building Commission Victoria

733 Bourke Street, Docklands, VIC 3008

PO Box 536, Melbourne, VIC 3001

Telephone: 1300 815 127

E-mail: technicalenquiry@buildingcommission.com.au

Hours: 8.30am-5.00pm

Web site: www.buildingcommission.com.au


Department of Justice,

Workplace Standards Tasmania

Building Control Branch

30 Gordons Hill Road, Rosny Park, TAS 7018

PO Box 56, Rosny Park, TAS 7018

Telephone: 03 6233 7657

E-mail: wstinfo@justice.tas.gov.au

Hours: 9.00am-5.00pm

Web site: www.wst.tas.gov.au


Dept of Panning & Infrastructure

23-33 Bridge Street, Sydney NSW 2000

GPO Box 39 Sydney NSW 2001

Telephone: 02 9228 6111

E-mail: information@planning.nsw.gov.au

Hours: 9.00am-5.00pm Mon – Fri,

however BCA technical questions will be

answered 9.30 – 11.30 Tue-Thu

on 02 9228 6529

Web site: www.planning.nsw.gov.au


Environment and Sustainable

Development Directorate

Ground Floor South,

Dame Pattie Menzies House

16 Challis Street, Dickson ACT 2602

GPO Box 1908, Canberra City, ACT 2601

Telephone: 02 6207 1923

E-mail: actpla.customer.services@act.gov.au

Hours: 8.30am-4.30pm

Web site: www.actpla.act.gov.au

Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

• 21


Green roofs and walls

are growing up

Written by James Porteous, ECOS Magazine

Environmental roof and wall

installations are in vogue across

the country for their touted

efficiencies and cosmetic

attractiveness. Architects,

engineers, landscape gardeners,

horticulturalists and even

ecologists are teaming up to

advance the base technology in


Geoff Heard has been up all night lately,

installing sections of the biggest green

roof in the southern hemisphere. Mr

Heard is Managing Director of leading

Australian green roof and wall company,

Fytogreen, who won the bid to design

and install the complex and locally

sympathetic landscaping on Victoria’s

new desalination plant – soon to be

Australia’s largest reverse osmosis


Designed and constructed by Thiess

Degrémont, the complex nestles behind

the coastal dunes of the Bass Coast,

and has had to be sensitively designed

to meet visual, noise and ecological

requirements. The roof of the main

building is central to meeting those


‘We’re helping to bring the complex into

a functional environmental envelope

with the landscape design of this

roof,’ says Mr Heard. He explains that

Fytogreen established a prototype at

Waratah Bay to evaluate a range of plant

species for functional and design life


‘We are approximately 22 per cent of the

way through the green roof installation

with part of the southerly and northerly

sections of the reverse osmosis building,’

says Mr Heard. ‘All going according to

plan, we’re looking at completion of all

26 000 square metres of the facility later

this year.’

‘The roof landscape will mirror the

ecological profile of the primary and

secondary dunes off the east side of the

complex, and the site’s native groundlevel

plantings around the west side. The

plant species list has been developed in

This architectural design impression of the Wonthaggi desalination plant site shows the extent of the planned green roof area and surrounding sympathetic landscaping.

Credit: Courtesy of Thiess Degrémont

22 • Australian Building Regulation Bulletin


An impression of the main desalination plant building from the observation deck.

Credit: Courtesy of Thiess Degrémont

conjunction with Thiess Degrémont’s

ecologist and then sourced by our

horticulturalist directly from local native

stock – as both seed and cuttings.’

The roof has important technical jobs

to do: attenuate noise from the reverse

osmosis plant beneath it, reduce heat

transfer to and from the plant building,

and collect water to irrigate its planted


Mr Heard says these demands of a green

roof – overlaid with the variability and

harshness of the local Australian climate

– made the superstructure’s design a

unique challenge. Architects ARM and

peckvonhartel worked with landscape

architects ASPECT Studios on the multifunctional

plans, which Fytogreen’s

team are now bringing to life.

Ortech’s ‘Durra Panel’ acoustic

membrane forms the base layer of

the roof structure. Next up is a leak

detection layer, then ply decking

overlaid with a waterproof membrane.

A drainage cell layer follows, with a geofabric1

on top to ensure the drainage

is uncompromised. A resin-generated

urea-aldehyde foam, Hydrocell RG30,

is made in situ on the roof and then

sprayed on. Once that’s set, the complex

sub-surface drip irrigation system is

installed and tested.

Fytogreen’s special growing layer, which

sustains the roof vegetation, is then

spread on. It’s made up of Hydrocell

40 flakes, scoria and composted pine

bark. The native flora species are

then planted, and controlled-release

fertiliser added to the next layer of dark

scoria mulch, which completes the

landscaping for retention and form.

Rating Australia’s green installations

Mr Heard says the desalination plant

project represents ‘massive steps

forward’ for Fytogreen and green roof

technology in terms of ability to build

to such a scale in Australian conditions.

The job adds to the company’s extensive

experience with roof and green wall

projects across the country, as well as in

Dubai, Hong Kong and California, mostly

for corporate clients.

So how does Australia’s expertise

in green roofs and walls rate

internationally, and what are the nett

environmental pros and cons of these


Sidonie Carpenter, president of the

small voluntary representative body

Green Roofs Australia, says there has

been an increase in national take-up of

green roof and wall installations over

recent years, in both the commercial

and domestic sectors. This reflects the

growth of sustainable architecture

around the world, and the mandating of

green roofs and walls by many cities for

their perceived functional value.

Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

• 23


The Freshwater Place residential tower by Australand on Melbourne’s Yarra River features an intensive roof garden, installed for residents by Fytogreen.

Credit: Fytogreen

Mrs Carpenter is concerned at what she

sees as the ‘green bling’ phenomenon

of these features: where their growing

installation trend is based on cosmetic

or design popularity, rather than their

true environmental credentials. She

worries that these might be being oversold

in the commercial excitement.

‘We need to be more honest about

our limited understanding of the nett

environmental footprint they have in

being built, run, and maintained,’ she

says. ‘There are a lot of technical and

scientific issues still to be solved.’

Some dedicated technical green roof

research is being done at Melbourne

University’s Burnley campus, in

conjunction with Monash University

and Melbourne Water. However, Mrs

Carpenter says that while Australia is a

late starter in testing technology, it has

the benefit of watching what breaks

overseas in terms of standards.

‘Compared to, say, Singapore’s rapid

pace, Australia’s experimentation is

generally being held back by a ‘fear

factor’ around labour costs and OH&S

issues: and there’s a lack of industry skill

base here,’ she says.

‘However, despite all that, we can

already be proud of the diversity and

quality of a number of projects here

in Australia. Living Architecture (just

published by CSIRO), covers most of

them. It’s a very welcome and leading

book on green roof and wall technology

in our region by specialist architects

Graeme Hopkins and Christine


Asked to gauge the significance of

Fytogreen’s green roof for Victoria’s

desalination project, Mrs Carpenter said

the project will raise the bar, profile and

confidence in the sector. ‘Green Roofs

Australia commends the government’s

foresight in its support for such an

ambitious project.’

For further information contact ECOS

Magazine: www.ecosmagazine.com


Geo-fabrics or geotextiles are

permeable fabrics which, when used

in association with soil, have the ability

to separate, filter, reinforce, protect, or


24 • Australian Building Regulation Bulletin



Two improvements to Green Star

mark the beginning of a new

era for the environmental rating

system for buildings. The Green

Building Council of Australia

(GBCA) has announced two

new developments to coincide

with the launch of ‘Green Star


According to Andrew Aitken, the GBCA’s

Green Star Executive Director, Green Star

Revolution is the GBCA’s most ambitious

undertaking, and aims to make Green

Star simpler, faster, more consistent and

more cost-effective.

Last year, the GBCA undertook a

comprehensive review of Green

Star, surveying members, assessing

submissions made to the Green Star

Technical Assurance Committee and

undertaking market research projects.

“We listened carefully to the industry,

and are now integrating many of

the great ideas we heard to simplify

Green Star certification, ensure

greater consistency and transparency

and ensure Green Star continues to

evolve,” Mr Aitken says.

The first project sees the assessment

of Green Star Innovation credits move

from Round 2 to Round 1. “Until now,

Innovation credits were assessed

during Round 2. Project teams told

us that this created uncertainty as

to whether they would achieve the

Innovation points. By moving the

assessment of Innovation credits to

Round 1, project teams will have more

time to provide additional information

to substantiate Innovation claims. This

new process will also reduce the costs

associated with Innovation claims, as

project teams will no longer need to

include buffer credits just in case they

aren’t awarded the Innovation points,”

Mr Aitken explains.

The GBCA is also introducing an

additional free Credit Interpretation

Request (CIR) for area definitions. CIRs

are submitted to the GBCA when a

project team wishes to advocate for an

alternative yet equivalent method of

meeting the aims of a Green Star credit.

“Project teams often require a CIR to

define how different space types within

their projects are to be addressed. By

providing a free area definition CIR

at the start of each project, the GBCA

will provide extra certainly when

determining which spaces are relevant

to each credit,” Mr Aitken explains.

“While these changes may seem small,

the feedback we’ve already received

from industry suggests they will make

a big difference to how project teams

manage their Green Star submissions.

“These are just the first two on a very

long list of revolutionary projects which

we believe will transform Green Star,” Mr

Aitken concludes.

More information about the Green Star

Revolution project can be found online:


About the Green Building Council of


The Green Building Council of Australia

(GBCA) is Australia’s leading authority

on green building. The GBCA was

established in 2002 to develop a

sustainable property industry in

Australia and drive the adoption of

green building practices. The GBCA has

more than 920 member companies who

work together to support the Council

and its activities. The GBCA promotes

green building programs, technologies,

design practices and processes, and

operates Australia’s only national

voluntary comprehensive environmental

rating system for buildings - Green Star.

See: www.gbca.org.au

Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

• 25

Towards smarTer building

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26 • Australian Building Regulation Bulletin



Be part of the team working to support a safer, more

sustainable and more socially inclusive built environment.


The ABCB is a joint initiative of all three levels of Government in Australia and provides a vital link

between the building industry and Government regulatory policy, through producing and maintaining

the National Construction Code (NCC). Our mission is to oversee issues relating to health, safety,

amenity and sustainability in the design and construction of buildings.

Whether you are still studying or about to graduate, you could spend 12 months with us, in our

Canberra office, earning a salary and acquiring the knowledge that could kick start your career in

either government or the private sector. We are looking for motivated and adaptable applicants

with good teamwork and communication skills and strong capabilities in research and analysis.

Working knowledge or familiarity with the Building Code of Australia or Plumbing Code of

Australia is desirable. So, if you are studying or have completed studies in the following


then the ABCB Cadetship could be for you!


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* Ongoing professional development opportunities

* Flexible working conditions

Interested? Then contact:


Visit the ABCB website at: www.abcb.gov.au


Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

• 27

INTERNATIONAL Regulatory Development




The ABCB is the publisher of the

‘International Fire Engineering

Guidelines’ (IFEG), a long standing

guideline used by the Australian

fire engineering fraternity.

The IFEG is the product of two

reformations of an initial document

titled the ‘Fire Engineering Guidelines’

(FEG), developed as a project of the Fire

Code Reform Centre and first published

in 1996. A note in the first edition

of the FEG advised that; ‘The future

will bring progressive expansion and

improvement of the technologies referred

to herein. These will arise from continuing

international advancement of fire science

and from the experience of competent

practitioners, in Australia and overseas,

who are involved in the application of

this relatively new engineering discipline.

Accordingly, these Guidelines are expected

to be revised from time to time and

contributions to assist in this regard will be


In 2001, the FEG was the subject of a

comprehensive review that culminated

in its re-publication as the ‘Fire Safety

Engineering Guidelines’ (FSEG). This

iteration of the FEG focussed on the

process of fire safety engineering in

Australia and reflected an expectation

that a larger component of ‘fire safety

engineering’ should be generated

through the application of project

specific criteria and resulted in a

reduction of certain generic content,

such as traditional ‘input data’ or

‘acceptance criteria’ that was presented

within the FEG.

In 2005 the FSEG was reviewed and

expanded through a collaborative

process to meet the needs of Australia

as well as regulatory authorities in New

Zealand, the United States of America

and Canada. A primary change to

the document was the addition of a

new ‘Part 0’ that provided important

background information to users in

each of the four collaborating countries.

Typically, ‘Part 0’ information described

the regulatory system within each

country, the role of fire engineering

within the building design industry

and general requirements to enable

practitioners to operate as a

fire safety engineer.

A publication agreement

reached between the four

collaborating countries

requires the IFEG to be the

subject of an ongoing five

year review process.

Accordingly, the IFEG

Editorial Committee

comprising representatives

from the ABCB (Chairperson),

USA and Canada met in

October 2010 to consider

and prepare a proposal for

both the review and future

maintenance of the IFEG.

In preparation for the

Committee meeting, the

ABCB actively sought

28 • Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

feedback from a number of sources

within the national fire safety

engineering industry regarding their

views on the scope of reforms that

should be considered as part of the

review process.

A key outcome of the Committee’s

deliberations was its conviction that the

current IFEG remains a contemporary

document and that it remains ‘fit for

purpose’. Nevertheless, to ensure that

the IFEG maintains its international

standing the document should be

compared with other contemporary fire

engineering process documents with

an aim to identifying a need for further


Associate Professor Dr Brian Meacham,

an IFEG Editorial Committee member,

academic and a fire safety engineering

practitioner well known to many

Australian practitioners, agreed to

co-ordinate the comparative analysis

of the IFEG with other contemporary

fire engineering process documents,

including -

• Society of Fire Protection Engineering

‘Guide to Performance-Based Fire

Protection’ (2007),

• ISO TR 13387 series (1999 onward),


• Current Nordic guidelines (1997)

A review of an existing comparative

analysis between the IFEG and British

Standard 7974 ‘Application of fire safety

engineering principles to the design of

buildings’ will also be undertaken.

The comparative analysis is expected to

be completed by the end of 2012 and is

intended to -

• identify differences between

the various documents, such as

any aspects not covered and/or

alternative approaches to design,

• highlight areas where documents

give conflicting guidance, and

• examine and offer views on whether

the documents reflect an appropriate

framework for addressing fire safety

design issues.

In regard to the last dot point above,

the general framework within which

fire safety engineering is undertaken is

fundamental to the broad acceptance

of the products of fire engineering

processes. Therefore, this component

of the analysis has the potential to

significantly influence the scope of

recommended changes to the IFEG,

within the range of ‘incremental change’

to ‘substantial change’.

A program for development of the next

edition of the IFEG will be considered, in

consultation with the fire engineering

fraternity, once the results of the

comparative analysis become available.

For further information please contact

the ABCB via email:



Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

• 29

Client Feature

PRODUCT Innovation


Printing solar cells

Written by Niall Byrne, Fresh Science

Australian researchers have

invented nanotech solar cells that

are thin, flexible and use 1/100th

the materials of conventional

solar cells.

Brandon in front of the solar simulator used to test solar cell

performance (photo: Anthony Chesman)

Printable, flexible solar cells that could

dramatically decrease the cost of

renewable energy have been developed

by PhD student Brandon MacDonald in

collaboration with his colleagues from

CSIRO’s Future Manufacturing Flagship

and the University of Melbourne’s Bio21


Their patented technology is based on

inks containing tiny, semiconducting

nanocrystals, which can be printed

directly onto a variety of surfaces.

By choosing the right combination of

ink and surface it is possible to make

efficient solar cells using very little

material or energy.

“The problem with traditional solar

cells,” Brandon says, “is that making

them requires many complex and

energy intensive steps.”

Nanocrystals, also known as quantum

dots, are semiconducting particles

with a diameter of a few millionths of a

millimetre. Because of their extremely

small size they can remain suspended in

a solution.

This solution can then be deposited

onto a variety of materials, including

flexible plastics or metal foils. It is then

dried to form a thin film.

Brandon and his colleagues discovered

that by depositing multiple layers of

nanocrystals they can fill in any defects

formed during the drying process.

The result is a densely packed, uniform

film, ideal for lightweight solar cells.

The nanocrystals consist of a

semiconducting material called

cadmium telluride, which is a very

strong absorber of light. This means that

the resulting cells can be made very thin.

“The total amount of material used

in these cells is about 1% of what you

would use for a typical silicon solar cell.

Even compared to other types of

cadmium telluride cells ours are much

thinner, using approximately one-tenth

as much material,” Brandon says.

Brandon examines one of his nanocrystal inks (photo:

Anthony Chesman)

The technology is not limited to solar

cells. It can also be used to make

printable versions of other electronic

devices, such as light emitting diodes,

lasers or transistors.

For his work Brandon has received the

2010/11 DuPont Young Innovator’s

Award and has had his work published

in the journal Nano Letters.

Brandon MacDonald is one of 16

early-career scientists presenting their

research to the public for the first time

thanks to Fresh Science, a national

program sponsored by the Australian


For further information contact Fresh

Science: http://www.freshscience.org.au

“Using nanocrystal inks, they can be

manufactured in a continuous manner,

which increases throughput and

should make the cells much cheaper to


A completed nanocrystal solar cell (photo: Anthony Chesman)

30 • Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

Philips PowerBalance LED Office LuminaireS

Sustainable Performance

Commercial buildings owners face many

challenges when striving to improve

the sustainable performance of their

interiors; this is especially complicated

when new technology meets with

existing regulations. Couple this with an

ever-increasing need for asset-upgrades

to demonstrate return on investment

and you get a glimpse of the issues

involved with upgrading facilities in the

LED age.

Investing in sustainable technology

isn’t just good for the

environment, it also helps

building owners

achieve higher rent,

higher occupancy

rates and increased

asset value. ‘The use

of LED in commercial buildings

is nothing new; indeed we have seen

many great examples of LED luminaires

being used in downlight applications

as well as façade illumination.’ says Phil

Payne, National Specification Manager

for Philips.

General lighting in offices represents

the next opportunity for energy saving,

but until recently the LED revolution

has been unable to meet the stringent

requirements for these areas.

Philips PowerBalance is a new solution

for general office lighting which meets

lighting standards while offering

significant energy savings and improved

lifetimes which will reduce maintenance

costs. Until recently, T5 fittings have

been setting the benchmark for general

illumination due to their excellent

lighting distribution, glare control and

light quality. With the pressure to

reduce the power required

to light offices, Philips


range of LED


offers improved

efficiency, even

compared to today’s

best T5 technology.

The PowerBalance range of luminaires

offers exceptional lighting quality and

significant operational cost savings.

The key to the light quality is the Smart

Pyramid Optics (SPO) which uses a light

mixing chamber and MicroCell (MC)-PET

reflective surface to control glare while

giving excellent light distribution.

‘The PowerBalance range is at the

forefront of office lighting technology

and is just the beginning when it

comes to sustainable office lighting

solutions. Until now, we’ve seen very

few competitively priced products on

the market that can stand the scrutiny

of building regulations’ says Phil Payne,

Philips National Specification Manager.

The new PowerBalance range is also

available in DALI dimmable versions,

which makes it perfect for working

with occupancy detectors and

daylight harvesting controls for further

reductions in energy consumption.

When this is combined with the long

lifetime of the fitting (50,000 hours) with

a lumen maintenance of 70% (L70), the

reduction in maintenance costs takes

the savings even further.

Philips PowerBalance is available now.

Contact Philips 1300 304 404



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Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

• 31

CoNfereNCe + events Calendar

CoNfereNCe aNd eveNts

CaleNdar for 2011


18-21 September Building Australia’s Future Conference, Surfers Paradise.

Visit: www.abcb.gov.au or contact BAF2011@abcb.gov.au

22-23 September 4th International Urban Design Conference 2011, Surfers Paradise.

Visit: www.urbandesignaustralia.com.au


21 – 23 October Grand Designs Australia Live, Sydney. Visit: www.granddesignslive.com.au

24 – 26 October Society for Sustainability and Environmental Engineering (SSEE) 2011 International Conference,

Brisbane. Visit: www.ssee2011conference.com

25 – 26 October Thriving Neighbourhoods Conference 2011, Melbourne. Visit: http://thrivingneighbourhoods2011.org

25 – 27 October The Safety Show 2011, Sydney. Visit: www.thesafetyshow.com.au


10 – 12 November Master Builders Australia 2011 National Conference & Awards, Gold Coast.

Visit: www.masterbuilders.com.au

14 – 16 November 12th International Conference of the International Building Performance Simulation Association,

Sydney. Visit: www.bs2011.org

16 – 18 November Fire Australia 2011 Conference & Exhibition. The Essentials of the Future: Education and Maintenance,

Adelaide. Visit: www.fireaustralia.com.au

17 November Energy Efficiency Council National Conference 2011, Melbourne. Visit: www.eec.org.au

32 • Australian Building Regulation Bulletin

3682_ABR_Spring10_v3.indd 1

Energy Efficiency


for Electricians

and Plumbers


Performance Standard

for Private Bushfire Shelters


17/8/10 3:29:43 PM

Bulletin (ABR) now provides you with the

opportunity to advertise your business,

and Builders who are at the cutting edge of the

ABRB readership and distribution is continuing

also provided free of charge via the Australian Building

Codes Board’s (ABCB) web site, as well as being distributed

available through the distribution and readership

and booking details can all be provided

Present YOUR business

to 45,000+ people within

the construction














helping the ABCB help you

This magazine is the primary information support element of your subscription to the National

Construction Code (NCC). Please take a few minutes to provide us with your feedback on this

edition to assist the ABCB in ensuring that your Bulletin remains relevant.

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Third party

accredited testing

Certificate no.



Production method



Product designation

Heat no.


Chemical analysis

Mechanical test results

Australian Standards for Structural Steel have changed.

Demand to see the Test Certificate.

Australian Standards AS/NZS 3679.1:2010 and AS/NZS 1163:2009 have introduced a number of mandatory

requirements, including:

• Specific information to be recorded on Test Certificates, including those highlighted above

• Test Certificates must be written in English

• Testing to be performed by laboratories with third party accreditation from a signatory to International

Laboratories Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) such as NATA.

To find out more about the new Standards contact OneSteel on 1800 178 335 or visit www.buildwithstandards.com.au

©Copyright 2011. OneSteel Manufacturing Pty Limited ABN 42 004 651 325

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