#1: Australian Standards in Building & Construction (B&C)
What are Standards and why do they matter?
In Australia, Standards are published documents based on consensus, which can take the form of specifications, procedural requirements, or handbooks. They are living documents which are updated to suit the changing needs of the economy and community.
Government regulators and public health authorities often turn to standards in their regulation to provide a baseline level of safety requirements for houses, buildings, machinery and everyday objects. Standards are everywhere in your daily life, from the buildings you live in to street lighting to the way seatbelts operate in your car.
In the world of building and construction, standards help to codify best practices, methods and technical requirements to create a safe and sustainable built environment for the community.
Standards and the National Construction Code
The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) develops one national building code that has been adopted by each state and territory.
The National Construction Code is a good example of performance-based regulation. Simply put, the NCC provides performance requirements for many aspects of building and construction which are based on outcomes. For example, the ABCB may call for all buildings and fittings to be constructed in a way that is efficient, effective, and habitable, with specific requirements on materials, design, accessibility, and above all, safety. These requirements are laid out in the NCC, which may then refer to Australian Standards as one way for builders to meet these requirements.
Standards Australia works closely with the ABCB and stakeholders from the government, industry and community to develop Standards related to building and construction, which are referenced in the NCC.
Australian Standards for Termite Management
Standards Australia published in November 2014 two revised Australian Standards for termite management, AS 3660.1:2014 Termite Management, Part 1: New Building Work and AS 3660.3:2014, Termite Management, Part 3: Assessment criteria for termite management systems.
The two documents have been developed for use in the National Construction Code and as a tool to assist builders, designers, regulators, manufacturers, installers, and assessors to manage termite risk in constructions.
AS 3660.1:2014 Termite Management, Part 1: New Building Work provides a range of options for termite management that can be implemented during the construction of buildings.
AS 3660.3:2014 Termite Management, Part 3: Assessment criteria for termite management systems provides new requirements and pass/fail criteria that will enable manufacturers and system proposers to assess their products and methods. It provides a clear path for compliance with AS 3660.1:2014.
These standards were developed by Standards Australia Technical Committee BD-074. The committee is now working on updating the Australian Standard on the post-construction management of termites
On the global level, it is equally important for countries to work together to share best practices and technology. International standards development bodies such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) have brought together people from all over the world to develop important standards for building and construction. Closer to home, the Pacific Area Standards Congress (PASC) convene yearly to discuss standardisation issues specific to the Asia-Pacific region.
In line with Standards Australia’s goal is to develop internationally-aligned standards as far as possible, we are proud to represent Australia at international meetings at ISO, IEC and PASC.
2015 will also see Standards Australia strengthening its partnerships with other countries. An exciting project underway is in New Caledonia in collaboration with AFNOR, the French national standards body. New Caledonia is one of Australia’s top 20 export markets by number of Australian companies doing business in the market.
As a start, we will share best practices, experiences and information in the realm of building and construction standards, with a focus on harmonisation. This project will be of mutual benefit and could potentially boost two-way trade and investment between Australia and New Caledonia.
About Standards Australia
Founded in 1922, Standards Australia is an independent, not-for-profit organisation, recognised by the Commonwealth Government as the peak non-government Standards development body in Australia. It is charged by the Commonwealth Government to meet Australia’s need for contemporary, internationally-aligned Standards and related services. The work of Standards Australia enhances the nation’s economic efficiency, international competitiveness and contributes to community demand for a safe and sustainable environment.