The Building Code of Australia (BCA) sets out the formal process and documentation requirements for developing Performance Solutions and Performance-Based Design Brief (PBDB). In Victoria, this process must also incorporate certain aspects of the Building Act, Building Regulations, and Fire Rescue Victoria. The following sub-sections outline the essential steps to be followed during the fire engineering design and approval process in a typical project.
Stage 1 – Fire Engineering Design Brief
- Consult with relevant stakeholders regarding the fire engineering design.
- Identify the departures from BCA DtS Provisions (Building Surveyor’s task).
- Define acceptance criteria and trial fire engineering design (Fire Engineer’s task).
- Engage an independent third-party peer-reviewer if a Reg 126 Certificate of Compliance is required.
- Obtain stakeholder acceptance on the final FEDB.
Stage 2 – Submissions to Fire Rescue Victoria at the FEBD Stage
- Submit BCA DtS Provision A2.2(4) consultation application (Fire Engineer’s task).
- Submit Reg 129 pre-application (Fire Protection Services Engineer’s task).
- Submit FEDB review application (Fire Engineer’s task).
Note: FRV would take approximately five weeks to respond to each of the above applications.
Stage 3 – Fire Engineering Report
- Carry out analysis and modelling to justify the departures from BCA DtS Provisions.
- Evaluate the results against the acceptance criteria for each Performance Solution.
- Confirm if the results meet the Performance Requirements.
- Obtain stakeholder acceptance on the final FER, including a Reg 126 Certificate of Compliance by an independent third-party peer-reviewer.
- Submit Reg 129 application and the final FER to FRV to obtain the report and consent for the building permit (Fire Protection Services Engineer’s task).
Note: If the analysis results are found to be unacceptable, then a revision to the FEDB is required. Therefore, great emphasis must be given to the design development stage (i.e., Stage 1) to avoid delays. Note: FRV would take up to 6 weeks to respond to the Reg 129 application.
If your building project involves fire engineering Performance Solutions, please talk about the above process with the project fire safety engineer and the relevant building surveyor for advice. Should you need further information, please get in touch with me via Rusthi@PassionateFE.com.
Note, the above process does not include alternative compliance pathways such as evidence of suitability as per BCA Part A5 or Victorian Building Appeals Board determination of compliance under Section 160A of the Building Act 1993. I will write another article on this topic.