BCA2011 - Evidence of Suitability of Materials (Fire Safety)

Recently I have found myself in the middle of a discussion between zealots over the evidence of suitability requirements found in the Building Code of Australia.

The issue between the zealots surrounds the relevancy of the the CSIRO ActivFire® Scheme given the removal of the reference to the scheme in clause A2.2 (A) (v) from the BCA from 2008.

BCA 2007 NCC/BCA2011
(v) A current Product Listing Data Sheet and listing entry in the Register of Fire Protection Equipment, as issued by Scientific Services Laboratory under its ActivFire Scheme. (v) * * * * *

The 2011 edition of the National Construction Code (NCC) in Volume 1 of the BCA states the following;

A2.1 Suitability of materials

Every part of a building must be constructed in an appropriate manner to achieve the requirements of the BCA, using materials that are fit for the purpose for which they are intended.

A2.2 Evidence of suitability

  1. Subject to A2.3 and A2.4, evidence to support that the use of a material, form of construction or design meets a Performance Requirement or a Deemed-to-Satisfy Provision may be in the form of one or a combination of the following:
    1. A report issued by a Registered Testing Authority, showing that the material or form of construction has been submitted to the tests listed in the report, and setting out the results of those tests and any other relevant information that demonstrates its suitability for use in the building.
    2. A current Certificate of Conformity or a current Certificate of Accreditation.
    3. A certificate from a professional engineer or other appropriately qualified person which?
      1. certifies that a material, design, or form of construction complies with the requirements of the BCA; and
      2. sets out the basis on which it is given and the extent to which relevant specifications, rules, codes of practice or other publications have been relied upon.
    4. A current certificate issued by a product certification body that has been accredited by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ).
    5. *****
    6. Any other form of documentary evidence that correctly describes the properties and performance of the material,
  2. Evidence to support that a calculation method complies with an ABCB protocol may be in the form of one or a combination of the following:
    1. A certificate from a professional engineer or other appropriately qualified person which?
      1. certifies that the calculation method complies with a relevant ABCB protocol; and
      2. sets out the basis on which it is given and the extent to which relevant specifications, rules, codes of practice and other publications have been relied upon.
    2. Any other form of documentary evidence that correctly describes how the calculation method complies with a relevant ABCB protocol.
  3. Any copy of documentary evidence submitted, must be a complete copy of the original report or document.

With this information, I then went off and researched the matter of how the ActiveFire scheme could be now used as evidence of suitability.

After speaking with a couple of colleagues, I was finally advised by Chief Technical Office of the Fire Protection Association Australia that the CSIRO ActiveFire scheme remains valid under A2.2 (a)(i) of the eligibility criteria.

It turns out that the specific division within the CSIRO being Materials Science and Engineering, Industrial Research Services, Fire Systems is an organisation approved as a being a Registered Testing Authority by NATA registered to test in the relevant field.

You can look up their laboratory approval online;

Further the NATA listing for this division with CSIRO also contains specific detail on their scope;

  • 3.06 Cells and batteries
  • 3.13 High voltage testing
  • 3.56 Tests on fire protection equipment
  • 3.57 Tests on fire detection and alarm systems

Its been a bit of a journey to get a straight answer on this question, but I have finally satisfied myself that ActiveFire remains a valid listing scheme.

While this is one route to market, the BCA also provides other routes to market including a current certificate issued by a certification body that has been accredited by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ) as found in Clause A2.2 (a)(iv).

For the odd person who finds this information valuable, I hope you benefit from my research.

Russ

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