Concerns have recently been raised about some builders’ failure to adhere to mandated fire safety precautions during the construction process. In these cases builders had not ensured that the required firefighting equipment mandated under Part E1.9 of Volume 1 of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) was provided during construction.
Fire can be a significant risk during the construction of a building where activities such as welding, cutting or grinding of steel and the application of torches on materials such as waterproofing membranes could ignite rubbish, packaging, timber formwork and other materials commonly found on construction sites. It is due to this risk that the BCA mandates having firefighting equipment available during construction to help site workers and emergency services personnel to fight fires, if required.
Contractors also have obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, which provides a framework to protect the health, safety and welfare of all workers and the public on or around construction sites. Building certifiers also have a role to play in the enforcement of Part E1.9 of the BCA. Certifiers must ensure that all aspects of building work comply with the building assessment provisions of the Development Approval.
The QBCC urges all stakeholders in the chain of responsibility to ensure compliance with Part E1.9 of the BCA when constructing a building to best ensure the safety of site workers, emergency services personnel and the public.
The relevant clause of the BCA applicable to Class 2 to 9 buildings appears below: