We work extensively with Australia’s leading designers and builders, and a common thread in questions we get asked is the engineering requirements for a specific project.
The answers to these question are never simple, as the design, materials used, or form of construction in Australia are required to meet NCC (National Construction Code) as well as state-specific building code requirements. There is also the Engineering Specification which is site-specific, with additional contractual obligations.
To help you better understand the requirements for engineering on your project, read our simplified guide below.
The National Construction Code
The NCC is a performance-based code and is an approach to ensure the building meets the minimum Performance Requirements which is measurable and documented.
This performance-based approach allows more flexibility on the design of complex buildings, to encourage innovative designs along with innovative materials, but protects the occupants by ensuring the building performs over its intended life, to the known risks such as seismic, fire and wind load, to name but a few.
What’s important is that the Performance Requirements of the building and its elements are met as required by the NCC, to protect the occupants, adjoining buildings and other properties. An example of a Performance Requirement could be the height of the room is suitable for the intended use.
Achieving NCC Compliance
The next step is to be able to demonstrate that the performance requirements have been met – or comply.
NCC prescribes two compliance routes: A Performance Solution and/or a Deemed-to-Satisfy Solution. When installing or building it is important to know which compliance pathway you fall into. For specific applications, both solutions may be required.
A Deemed-to-Satisfy Solution is more prescriptive (like a recipe), which when followed, are considered to have already met the requirements of the NCC. Components, materials, design factors and terms, methods of construction, are detailed most commonly in referenced Australian Standards, which when met with suitable evidence prescribed, are deemed to have met the NCC performance requirements.
A Performance Solution is unique, with the flexibility to achieve a design outcome along with compliance with the code. The purpose of this compliance route is to encourage innovative design yet remain compliant to the performance requirements of the NCC. These solutions are project-specific and are implemented to overcome design features preventing the project from being compliant through a deemed-to-satisfy solution.
It’s not uncommon for a modern building to have a combination of both Performance Solutions and Deemed-to-Satisfy Solutions. For example, toilets, plumbing or ceiling heights in a habitable room may be from Deemed-to-Satisfy provisions, but a bespoke feature wall may have Performance Solution requirements due to the unique material or structure of the wall.
The NCC has a core concept called Evidence of Suitability and requires evidence be prepared and filed. This information can include –
- Accredited laboratory reports
- Certificates or reports from an accredited engineer
- Product technical statements
- Codemarks and other verification methods showing that all the requirements of the code have been met, and the complete design is NCC compliant
It’s not enough to say something complies to performance requirements; you need to be able to show that it does.
If you have any questions about obtaining documentation regarding Sculptform areas of your project, you can contact us below or give us a call on 1800 008 828.