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Building Code of Australia

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) is produced and maintained by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) on behalf of the Australian Government and each State and Territory Government. The BCA is a uniform set of technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings and other structures throughout Australia whilst allowing for variations in climate and geological or geographic conditions.  

The goal of the BCA is to enable the achievement of nationally consistent minimum necessary standards of relevant health, safety (including structural safety and safety from fire), amenity and sustainability objectives efficiently. This goal is applied so that:

  • there is a rigorously tested rationale for the regulation;
  • the regulation generates benefits to society greater than the costs (that is, net benefits); and
  • there is no regulatory or non-regulatory alternative that would generate higher net benefits. 

What is the difference between Volume 1 and 2 of the BCA? 

The BCA is published in two volumes:   

  • Volume One pertains primarily to Class 2 to 9c buildings (everything other than houses and their ancillary structures) 
  • Volume Two pertains primarily to Class 1 and 10 buildings (houses and their ancillary structures) 

Both volumes are drafted in a performance format to provide greater flexibility for the use of new and innovative building products, systems and design. Approximately 95% of all building work, can still follow the prescriptive deemed-to-satisfy (DTS) provisions of the BCA.

Who can give advice about the BCA? 

A Building Surveyor who is a member of the Australian Institute of Building Surveyors or a Building Surveyor accredited by the Building Professionals Board is best qualified to give applicants, or those doing fire safety upgrades, advice about the BCA. 

Because of the conflict of interest provisions in NSW laws, Building Surveyors cannot give design advice then assess applications for Complying Development Certificates or Construction Certificates.  Therefore, in the design phase of a development, and on bigger developments throughout the building process, a Building Surveyor is employed on the design and construction team.  On the assessment and approval side of the process, a separate Building Surveyor carries out the building certification process and is appointed as the Principal Certifying Authority (PCA).  

Council's Building Surveyors provide Building Certification services and PCA services.  Council's Building Surveyors do not provide design advice.

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