Arky Design Architectural, Building & Planning Blog

Latest entries about important issues from the architectural design, building and planning industries and how they influence building decisions across Melbourne

National Construction Code (NCC) 2014 AMENDMENTS

Changes to the BCA 

Improving early response to residential fires through interconnection of alarms
For a number of years now the BCA has required smoke alarms, or where appropriate,heat detection alarm systems throughout residential occupancies. The location of the alarms in strategic positions such as a hallway serving bedrooms is designed to allow an early response by occupants to a fire.

The size or layout of some residences can create situations where a number of alarms may be distributed throughout the occupancy (eg two storey dwellings). In a Class 1  building, within sole‐occupancy units of a Class 2 or 3 building and in a Class 4 part of a building, alarms  will be required to be interconnected so that when one alarm is activated it will activate all other alarms in the occupancy.
This feature will increase the likelihood of occupants being aware of the presence of a fire.

Whilst acknowledging that the final Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) demonstrated a net cost, the Board considered the following factors in its conclusion to include a  requirement for interconnection of smoke alarms in sole occupancy units in Class 1, 2, 3 and 4 buildings where more than one alarm is provided:
The life safety of building occupants, and particularly those in residential buildings (acknowledging additional risks associated with being asleep), was considered to be of paramount importance.

The cost to the community of interconnecting alarms at the time of construction is  not considered to be large.

Acknowledging that the RIS meets COAG guidelines, the Board was of the view that  saving of a life through the interconnection of alarms represented a greater value to  the community than that presented in the RIS
For many years, the BCA has contained requirements for stairway treads, landings   and ramps to have slip‐resistant, non‐skid or non slip properties. However, the BCA did not identify what level of slip
resistance was required or how it could be measured. This situation created uncertainty, risk and disputes about what was considered acceptable.

An Australian Standard for measurement of slip resistance existed but was not considered appropriate for referencing in the BCA. A recent revision of this standard (AS 4586) resolved these issues and, as a consequence, we are now able provide an answer to the question, “What does slip‐resistant, non‐skid and non‐slip really mean?” NCC 2014 includes minimum slip resistance classifications for different scenarios and references AS 4586 –2013 as a means of determining slip resistance.

It should be noted that the NCC will allow acceptance of test reports based on the  2004 edition of AS/NZS 4586 and issued prior to the 2013 edition of AS 4586 being referenced in the NCC. However, test reports prepared after the BCA reference date of the 2013 edition of AS 4586 must be based on that version

January 1st, 2014|New Homes|

New 2014 Building Regulation Amendments


Melbourne Builders,  we have just received a couple of important Building Regulation amendments that have been in the pipeline for some time now.

1.Walls on boundaries now can be up to 200mm instead of the 150mm from the boundary and still be deemed on the boundary. Yes for those of you that have been […]

December 30th, 2013|Building Plans, New Homes|

Bushfire Management Statement Consultant – Sample Report

This Bushfire Management Statement template has been prepared to assist applicants respond to the requirements of Clause 44.06 Bushfire Management Overlay, and associated Clause 52.47 Bushfire Protection: Planning Requirements. The statement contains two components: • A locality and site description, that is used to identify the existing conditions of the site and surrounds, in accordance with the application requirements of Clause 44.06-2. • A bushfire management statement, that is used to calculate the defendable space and construction requirements and show how the application meets the relevant objectives, standards, mandatory standards and decision guidelines of Clause 44.06 - Bushfire Management Overlay and Clause 52.47. Click on the post to read more about the Bushfire Management Statement Consultant Report.............
July 18th, 2012|New Homes|

Building Controls for Bushfire Safety – Interim

This updates the previous Interim Practice Note 2009-42 issued August 2009. Building in bushfire areas requires careful planning, siting and design. Class 1, 2 or 3 and associated Class 10a buildings must be designed and constructed to reduce the risk of ignition from a bushfire while the fire front passes. The building requirements are set out in the Building Code of Australia (BCA). Click the post to read more about Building Controls for Bushfire Safety......
July 11th, 2012|New Homes|

Can I use my shed as a permanent dwelling?

Buildings such as sheds are not normally approved for use as homes or dwellings as they may not have been constructed to comply with the requirements of the Regulations for a residential dwelling. Following the 2009 bushfires, certain concessions for temporary accommodation in buildings on bushfire affected properties were introduced to the planning scheme. These concessions will expire on 31 March 2012 by which time all buildings must comply. If you are considering building a shed with a view to later using it as a dwelling it is important that you seek professional advice before you build, as it may not be the best or most cost efficient option for you. The first choice should be to construct a new dwelling that fully complies with the Building Regulations 2006 (the Regulations). Click on the post to read more.............
July 11th, 2012|Building Plans, New Homes, Town Planning|


Defendable space is an area of land around a building where vegetation is modified and managed to reduce the effects of flame contact and radiant heat associated with bushfire. It comprises an inner zone and an outer zone.

The Defendable Space Requirements:

An inner zone distance as specified by AS 3959-2009 for a particular BAL, an outer […]

July 9th, 2012|New Homes|

Commercial Building Guide for Investors

There is no doubt that commercial building plans are at the very heart of real estate construction industry in Australia. Any person who wants to undertake construction of commercial property should know and observe the rules of building as stipulated by town or city councils across different regions. Some of the important considerations for any […]

June 30th, 2012|New Homes|

Building a Home- Tips for Attaining a Cooler Home Environment

The design of your house is a very important matter when building a home. And, by using the right building plans, you can save a considerable amount of money. It is possible to build an effective home by using the right design and construction process.  If you are thinking of applying for building permits to […]

June 29th, 2012|New Homes|

A Handy Guide to Getting Good Building Plans

If you intend to build a residential home or commercial property, you should at least be aware of the sort of building plans that you would want to use during construction. Municipal regulations state that commercial buildings and business should be constructed within the framework of building regulations. Given that building permits required by local […]

June 28th, 2012|New Homes|

Choose a Draftsperson that Completes Projects on Time

Most people think that the services of an architect is the only necessary thing when it comes to building a home or carrying out home extension, or a commercial project. Although the architect plays a central role as far as conceptualization and design are concerned, an experienced draftsperson cannot be left out of the consultative […]

June 27th, 2012|New Homes|