Updated February 02, 2018 07:18:23In what is likely to be Australia’s biggest building code overhaul, a major overhaul of the construction code will see new construction window requirements imposed for all new building in the CBD and in inner-city areas.
Key points:The new building code, which is expected to take effect from July 1, will require all new construction to have window requirements of at least 4 metres on all four sides and that all windows on existing buildings be designed to withstand wind loads of up to 60 kilometres per hour (37 mph).
The rules will also see a cap on new buildings’ height.
Under the new code, all new buildings that are more than 12 metres tall will have to have windows of at most four metres on each side and a window height of at over 20 metres.
The change follows the collapse of the building industry last year, with the average window height in Sydney and Melbourne falling from 6.6 metres to 5.9 metres.
However, a new report by the Building Industry Council of Australia (BIA) has warned the new codes could increase the number of building fires, particularly in the inner city, as well as lead to increased emissions.
The report, released today, found that in 2015, there were nearly 1,400 building fires across the capital.
It found the vast majority of these fires occurred in residential buildings, with a smaller number in office buildings and other high-density residential areas.
The fire codes, the report found, were “unnecessary, redundant and costly” and the cost of retrofitting existing buildings could be as high as $US10 billion ($11.7 billion).
“The code has failed to ensure safety for building occupants and, in doing so, it has failed the public,” said Dr James Ainslie, chief executive of the BIA.
“While the code has been a catalyst for building construction, it will not protect the building environment, and it is not necessary, redundant or expensive,” he said.
The code is expected make a number of changes including requiring new construction buildings to have a “permanent floor” which means they cannot be moved to a different floor of a building.
It will also require buildings to be “built to a minimum standard” in a new code.
It also will require building owners to be aware of the safety requirements for their properties, including the minimum allowable wind speed, maximum allowable temperature and the minimum minimum humidity.
In addition, it is expected the code will also increase building safety by requiring building occupants to wear head protection.
It will mean building owners will be required to be able to monitor the building conditions of their building on an hourly basis, and have an online building monitoring system.
“The codes are an important tool for improving safety in our city, and the BIFA will continue to work with the Government to ensure that all new and existing buildings are built in accordance with the code and the best building practice standards,” said Mr Scott.
“Building owners should take the time to get the new building codes in place, so that their buildings are safe and provide quality accommodation for our residents and visitors,” he added.
“It is important that people are aware of their rights, so they know what to do when they encounter any issues.”