Author: David Rowlinson
The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has released the preview version of the 2019 National Construction Code (NCC) that increases the range of buildings - up to an effective height of 25m - in which fire-protected timber construction systems can be used. The new classes include schools, retail premises, hospitals and aged care facilities to the previously approved multi-residential, hospitality accommodation and office buildings.
This change is based on extensive work and a successful submission by Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA), which extends a Deemed-to-Satisfy solution that was secured in the 2016 NCC permitting, for the first time, construction in fire-protected timber building systems to an effective height of 25 metres (typically 8-storeys) for Class 2, 3 and 5 buildings.
The 2016 change has led to a growing number of mid-rise residential projects considering and adopting timber as the primary building material. “It’s been incredibly satisfying to see the market acceptance of timber in these projects and this is just the tip of the iceberg,” Ric Sinclair, FWPA’s managing director said.
“Every week we hear from new designers and developers who are realising the cost and speed benefits of timber systems and are looking for more information.
“The timber used in every one of these new mid-rise projects displaces other materials, so it’s effectively creating new market opportunities for timber building system suppliers and added sales volume for our industry.”
“One of the major benefits of the change is that timber will now be an option for mixed use mid-rise buildings, the retail, office and apartment complexes that are growing in popularity in inner and middle suburbs as part of urban infill policies,” Mr Sinclair said.
Make it Wood Program Manager