COMPLIANCE WITH THE N.C.C.
A Building Solution will comply with the National Construction Code (N.C.C.) if it satisfies the Performance Requirements.
Meeting the Performance Requirements
Compliance with the Performance Requirements can only be achieved by:
- complying with the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions; or
- formulating an Alternative Solution which –
- complies with the Performance Requirements; or
- is shown to be at least equivalent to the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions; or
- combination of (a) and (b)
The Performance Requirements and Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions are found in the N.C.C. volumes and/or referenced Australian Standards (AS).
Alternative Solutions undergo a lengthy approval process through the State or Territory’s Regulatory Authorities who will ultimately assess the application and decide if it meets the Performance Requirements. If granted, they are only valid for the specific site and specific situations for which the application was made. They are not, therefore, a feasible solution for mass produced proprietary products. Mass produced products have to pass the Deemed-to-Satisfy tests (D-t-S Tests).
Products failing the D-t-S test will NOT BE APPROVED through Alternative Solutions.
Deemed To Satisfy Provisions
The Deemed-to-Satisfy Performance Requirement for service penetrations is found in N.C.C. Vol.1: Section C3.15.
C3.15 requires that an identical prototype of the proposed service penetration system (i.e. Building Element, fire collar, method of installation, service, and service support) has been tested to ensure that the “Fire Resistance Level” (FRL) of the element with the penetration protection system (e.g. fire collars and any service support) is not compromised.
The test must be conducted and reported according to the procedure specified in AS1530.4, and the results set out in a “Test Report” or a “Regulatory Information Report (RIR)“. The full Test Report is preferred as it contains all of the information relevant to the test. Certificates may not be used for compliance purposes; they are only to be used for commercial purposes, i.e. sales, and their exact wording is specified in the standards.
A Test Report, RIR or an Assessment (see below) are the documents required as “Evidence of Suitability” for compliance in N.C.C. Vol.1: Part A5 – Documentation of Design and Construction; clause A5.0 (2)(a).
The other clauses in section A5 cannot be used to qualify a “Deemed-to-Satisfy solution” because the ONLY evidence that is acceptable for a Deemed-to-Satisfy solution for penetrations is either a report covering the test specified in C3.15, or a formal opinion on a minor variation to the tested system which is permitted by the standards AS1530.3 and AS4072.1.
The other clauses in A5 are for Alternative Solutions, which as discussed above are applicable only for a specific site after a lengthy approval process by a relevant Regulatory Authority.
There is one other Deemed-to-Satisfy solution for some specific penetration systems and situations: this is installation as per Specification C3.15. If followed exactly it does not require testing, however it does contain conflicts regarding spacing between penetrations.
A formal opinion or “Assessment” as they are known is a document that has to be prepared by a registered NATA testing laboratory (see 4.2 of AS4072.1). The scope of “Assessments” are set out in AS4074.1 Section 4: VARIATIONS PERMITTED SUBJECT TO A FORMAL OPINION.
Section 4 of AS4072.1 defines a set of rules that must be followed in order to qualify an assessment as a Deemed-to-Satisfy Building solution and it needs to be read in its entirety. “Assessments” should not be confused with “Alternative Solutions”, and are solely concerned with minor variations to tested service penetration systems. It is not practical to reproduce here the rules in full but please take particular note of the following.
4.1 (a): Assessments shall be approved by the Regulatory Authority or other Authority having jurisdiction.
- PLASTIC PIPES
Table 4.2 States that floorwastes and showers must be protected by collars that pass the FLOORWASTE test. All other situations only need a collar that passes the STACK test. 4.6.4: Subject to the provisions of 4.6.3 Pipes made from “Materials other than PVC” and of different wall thicknesses can be assessed, but only between the sizes of 40mm and 120mm and even then the largest and smallest pipes in this range must be tested with the penetration sealing device being assessed. 4.6.5: “Fittings within the collar” are not to be used unless “supplementary testing” is also done.
Generally, documents and opinions that contain the words “likely performance” should only be used as part of an Alternative Solution and not as Deemed-to-Satisfy solution.