Building Code of Australia

The BCA is a performance-based document that states the technical provisions that buildings and other structures throughout Australia ''must'' meet.

These provisions cover, among other things, the ''structure of the building, the fire resistance of the building elements and materials, access and egress, services and equipment, health and amenity, and maintenance and services of equipment.''

Compliance with the BCA will enable the achievement of acceptable standards of structural sufficiency, safety (including safety from fire), health and amenity for the benefit of the community now and in the future.

Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB)

The BCA is produced and maintained by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) on behalf of all Australian Government, State and Territory governments and is adopted by State and Territory building legislation. Some State and Territory governments have inserted variations to the core document that may lead to differences in building requirements across the nation.

Ongoing development

The BCA is continually being developed, improved and amended as community expectations change and new technology and research results become available.

The BCA is amended every 12 months and has a date of operation of 1st May each year. Each year the BCA will be known as BCA 2004 Edition, BCA 2005 Edition, etc. Proposals for amendments may come from a number of different sources. These include industry, State and Territory Administrations, local government, private certifiers or the community.

Design options

The BCA is structured in such a way that it allows designers two options for achieving compliance. The first option is using the ?Deemed-to-Satisfy? provisions. These provisions detail specific requirements: for example, items are specified (such as the number of exits required, the distance to travel to the exit, the type of hardware that the exit doors must have, etc). The other option is for designers to use an ?Alternative Solution?. This allows for an innovative approach to building design and uses the ?performance requirements? as the basis for determining compliance. You may need to seek an expert?s opinion to verify that your design meets the performance requirements, use a proven calculation method, or undertake research to support your design. It will be up to the relevant building approval authority to determine if the proposal is suitable and acceptable.

These options should be discussed with your building professional who should be able to determine what best meets the residential aged care service?s requirements. For the purpose of the certification assessment, the Approved Provider will need to provide the independent assessor with the relevant documentation, especially where an alternative solution has been used, so that an appropriate score is given to the residential aged care service. If this documentation is not provided, the assessor will assess the relevant requirement against the deemed-to-satisfy provisions, which may not yield the full point score allocation.

Compliance

Ensuring compliance with the BCA is the responsibility of local government authorities. State and Territory government building legislative authorities are listed within Appendix B.