Overcoming Ambiguities Surrounding the Changes in BCA 2019
Previous to 2019 there had been ambiguity regarding the non-combustibility requirements of external walls for Type A and Type B commercial buildings of two stories or more, as required by C1.9 in Volume 1 of the BCA.
In response, the NCC was updated in 2019 to address these ambiguities in the NCC; specific to fire compliance, all buildings are now obligated to rectify external combustible cladding.
It has been established that the non-combustibility of external walls in these Type A and Type B buildings is critical. So that in the event of a fire, the failure of these components or elements will not allow, for example, the fire to travel up the external face of a building, as happened in the Grenfell fire disaster and many other recent facade fires, including those in Melbourne.
Even since changes to NCC/BCA 2019 came into effect, there remained some confusion around fire compliance of interior linings (Eg. fire resistant panels, non-combustible wall panels, timber wall lining, timber lining boards external) used in commercial buildings, as outlined in C1.10 in Volume 1 of the NCC.
Although some ambiguity remains about the suitability of combustible linings and fixtures when installed inside a required non-combustible wall, SUPAWOOD has taken it in our own stride to conduct some independent Fire Assessments to help our clients find certainty in project compliance regarding non-combustible wall and ceiling panels.
Download our Fire Assessment for using SUPAWOOD products on external walls.
Timber linings over non-combustible walls - Concord Oval
Finding Certainty with SUPAWOOD's Fire Assessment for Non-combustible Walls
SUPAWOOD has done extensive research and development to establish more certainty and clarity on the fire compliance needs of internal lining systems for non-combustible walls.
To clear ambiguity surrounding fire compliance for internal linings, SUPAWOOD procured an independent Fire Assessment, one of the first compliant assessments that grant the use of combustible products on non-combustible walls on several projects. (Download this assessment above).
This certainty is based on the ABCB Advisory Note on “Fire performance of external walls and cladding” dated 3/2/2020, pages 3 and 4, which states:
“A building element is considered to be part of an external wall if it is integral (i.e., not ancillary) to the construction of the wall. For example, the following elements are considered to be part of an external wall:.”
After that follows a list of items, including “Internal lining (e.g. plasterboard) of an external wall”.
Thus, if an external wall has been lined with plasterboard, as shown in the photo below, then timber lining may be fixed over this lining and still be compliant, although it is a combustible product.
The timber lining must, however, still be certified to the Fire Group number (1, 2 or 3 as per AS5637.1) as required for using that room.
Fire compliance: Peace of mind with SUPAWOOD
At SUPAWOOD, we believe in doing things right the first time by using products, processes and materials proven for compliance and fire-safe.
Supawood only uses fire tests and assessments from NATA or IANZ-accredited laboratories, as our view is that only these fire engineers are appropriately qualified for the job.
We chose this course of operation because NATA or IANZ-accredited fire engineers have superior expertise and access to the knowledge gleaned from all the tests conducted in the industry, which are peer-reviewed and ISO 17025 certified.
SUPAWOOD timber lining products fully comply with the relevant NCC/BCA standards in all respects: Reaction to Fire, Non-Combustibility, Seismic, Acoustic, and Sustainability. We are known for this and for providing clear and concise compliance information to design and building professionals.
If you have any questions about this topic or would like help selecting fire-resistant wall panels or fire-resistant panels for ceilings for your project, please don't hesitate to reach out.
Render image: City of Canada Bay Council
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