Alternative assessment methods



There are several means by which an approval authority can assess whether a building solution complies with the BCA. These are referred to as 'assessment methods' and include the following:


Evidence

(clause A2.2 of the BCA)

This clause allows the following evidence (in some cases subject to conditions) to be submitted in support of a proposal that a material, form of construction or design meets a performance requirement or deemed-to-satisfy provision:

  • a report from a Registered Testing Authority;
  • a current Certificate of Accreditation or Certificate of Conformity;
  • a certificate from a professional engineer or other appropriately qualified person;
  • a current certificate issued by a product certification body that has been accredited by the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ); and
  • any other form of documentary evidence that adequately demonstrates suitability for use.


Verification



Verification methods include:

  • Calculations: using analytical methods or mathematical models; and/or
  • Tests: using a technical operation either on site or in a laboratory to directly measure one or more performance criteria of a given solution.

In keeping with the flexibility provided in the performance-based BCA, designers are not restricted to using a listed verification method. Any other method may be used if the relevant approval authority is satisfied that it establishes compliance with the BCA. However, in making a decision, an approval authority may have regard to the relevant deemed-to-satisfy provisions or verification methods provided for in the BCA.


Expert judgment



Where physical criteria are unable to be tested or modelled by calculation, the opinion of a technical expert may be accepted. This is referred to as the use of expert judgment.


Comparison



The final assessment method is referred to as comparison to deemed-to-satisfy. This method permits a comparison to be made between the deemed-to-satisfy solution and the proposed building solution. If it can be demonstrated to the approval authority that the building solution complies in an equivalent or superior way to a deemed-to-satisfy provision, then it will be deemed to meet the relevant performance requirement.

Under this hierarchy an applicant can use any materials, components, design factors or construction methods which comply with the relevant performance requirement. For Australia, this is a significant move away from sole reliance on prescriptive requirements and is designed to encourage innovation and the use of new technology.

However, the BCA still caters for those who prefer specific guidance, or wish to continue to use traditional building methods. The deemed-to-satisfy provisions of the BCA continue to provide detailed prescriptive methods for establishing compliance with the performance requirements.

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Updated 7 July 2014