In Queensland, many properties undergoing alteration would be best suited for an assessment against The Building Act Section 68, which requires the following to not be unduly reduced:
(a) the existing level of fire protection for persons accommodated in, or using, the building or structure;
(b) the existing level of resistance to fire of the building or structure;
(c) the existing safeguards against spread of fire to adjoining buildings or structures;
(d) the existing level of emergency egress from the building or structure.
Fire engineering on a historic building can be as complex as that of a modern building, as it involves reviewing and referencing the existing facilities and demonstrating fire safety levels are maintained. Sotera has been involved in a series of such projects, from small to big, including shopping centres, mid-rise, industrial and domestic dwellings, at competitive fees to our clients. Our analysis revolves around the four transitional provisions above. We can identify the analysis in legacy fire engineering reports and discuss their validity and required variations in our assessments. It assists our clients in saving costs of upgrading the fire safety systems in their properties.
Sotera managing director, Paul Clancy, has advocated our services focus on the bread and butter of fire engineering. This is also a key principle used in our staff development. In this instance, engineers are encouraged to establish an assessment framework agreed upon among our clients, certifiers and fire engineering consultants. It is important to know the backgrounds of the codes (BCA/ or transitional provisions), explain their applicability to a project (requirements and acceptability criteria) and communicate them to all stakeholders through design meetings and in written forms.