Shopping Centre: Do my external facing shops require occupant warning?

Earlier today, I received a telephone call from the Centre Manager for a Shopping Centre asking for advice in regard to emergency warning. The questions went along the lines of;

"Do I need to install additional speakers outside the outward facing retailers on the perimeter of the shopping centre?"

To answer this question, we need to refer to the National Construction Code / Building Code of Australia (BCA) and any related Australian Standards.

When is emergency & exit lighting required to be installed in a building?

On several occasions, I have been asked about the requirement for the installation of emergency lights in small (Class 6) retail buildings. When I say small I mean less than 500m2.

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) 2010 provides the deemed-to-satisfy requirements for the installation of Emergency Lighting and Exit Signs in Section E, Part E4.

Essentially for all Class 6 buildings over 100m2 require emergency lights; and all Class 6 buildings require at least one exit sign.

All required emergency lights and exit signs should must comply with Australian Standard AS 2293.1.

Fire Safety Signs

We often find signs on doors are non-existant or do not meet the requirements of the Building Code of Australia (BCA). The following is an short extract from the BCA 2009 that clearly outlines the requirements for fire safety doors.

Building Code of Australia

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) is produced and maintained by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) on behalf of the Australian Government and each State and Territory Government. The BCA is a uniform set of technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings and other structures throughout Australia whilst allowing for variations in climate and geological or geographic conditions.

Building Code of Australia (BCA 2008) Draft Public Comment

According to an email I received from the ABCB today, the draft changes for BCA 2008 are available for public comment. The Building Code of Australia is a performance-based document that states the technical provisions that buildings and other structures throughout Australia must meet.