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Urgent Update  – Proposed National Construction Code Changes

As you may be aware changes have been proposed to the National Construction Code that, when adopted, will impact on residential developments that are in planning or construction. The key change relates to the provision of sprinkler systems.

Current Regulation

Currently, full sprinkler systems are only required in buildings which exceed 25m from the surrounding datum (8-9 stories).

Proposed Regulation

It is proposed that from 1 May 2019, full sprinkler systems will be required in buildings of 4 stories and over.

This is a significant change and one that has the potential to impact on a number of projects that are currently in planning or design.

According to Graham Upton of PEP Solutions there is the potential for a significant cost and floor plate efficiency impact. Graham noted “We estimate that the change in regulation will add anything from $45-75 per sqm in construction costs and will require significant additional investment in services, pipework and metering. It will also be critical to bear in mind the location and additional costs of pumps and tanks when calculating project finances and cost projections.”

With any changes to legislation, it is important to ensure that your development is compliant and Cameron McLean at Knisco recommends the engagement of a certifier as soon as practically possible, stating “It is unlikely that there will be an immediate hard-line stance taken by Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, but it would be prudent to ensure that your projects are compliant. Engaging a certifier well ahead of the proposed 1 May change will enable you to discuss timings and strategy around achieving a building approval and to examine potential offsets such as increased travel distances with respect to egress and possible lower Fire Resistance Level requirements for building elements.”

For more information on the changes and how this can impact on your development, please contact Inertias’ Scott Clements, PEP Solutions’ Graham Upton or Kniscos’ Cameron McLean.