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Performance expectations in regard to Australian Access regulation and outdoor ramps


The National Construction Code and Performance is a performance-based code, the NCC now has a new document titled the ‘Performance Requirements extracted from the National Construction Code 2015’. The purpose of this publication is to emphasise that the Performance Requirements are the only mandatory requirements of the NCC.

Compliance with Performance Requirements can be achieved by the development of ‘Alternative Solution’ designs that provide opportunity for new technologies, materials, innovation and flexibility, You can read more about the use of ‘Alternative Solutions’ in Victoria and the Role of the Building Surveyor (RBS) in determining that a building permit application which includes an Alternative Solution, that complies with the Building Act.

The NCC and it’s subpart the BCA applies only to buildings and within class 1 and 2 buildings and within these building classes it only applies in common areas where adherence with the “Access to premises standards” is required.
Nevertheless, typically a development approval is required before you undertake building works, and the majority of development activity requires approval through a development application (DA). When development consent is granted, a construction certificate must be obtained before work can start.
Within NSW the DA approval of an outdoor ramp is automatic if it complies with AS1428.1 under the Exemptions from development approval rules established by Planning NSW.

Works that are carried out without any formal approval are called exempt development. The NSW legislation regarding disability access ramps states within “State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 accessed 12 October 2016: Part 2 Division 1; Subdivision 1; Clause 2.2 Development standards

The standards specified for that development are that the development must:
(a)  be not more than 1m above ground level (existing), and
(b)  be located at least 450mm from each side boundary and the rear boundary, and
(c)  not interfere with the functioning of existing drainage fixtures or the natural surface flow of water, and
(d)  if it is located on bush fire prone land and is less than 5m from a dwelling—be constructed of non-combustible material, and
(e)  if it is constructed or installed on or in a heritage item or a draft heritage item or in a heritage conservation area or a draft heritage conservation area—be located in the rear yard.
Note. See AS 1428.1—2009, Design for access and mobility—General requirements for access—New building work and the Disability (Access to Premises—Buildings) Standards 2010 under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 of the Commonwealth which specifies the design requirements for new building work to provide access for people with disabilities
However, this is not the case in all States/Territories, where it is unclear if any automatic DA exemptions apply.

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