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Designing Fire-Resistant Structures: Meeting BCA Requirements

   

Added on  2019-09-30

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PART AThe BCA (Building Code of Australia) consists of three volumes.Volume IVolume IIVolume IIIVolume II consists of 3 sections.Section 1Section 2Section 3Section 3 gives the required information on the Acceptable Construction Provisions.3.0How to Use Section3.1Site Preparation3.2Footings and foundation Slabs3.3Building Masonry3.4Framing3.5Roof and Wall Cladding3.6Glazing3.7Fire Safety3.8Health and Amenity- – Facilities, Light, Ventilation, Sound Insulation3.9 Safe Movement and Access – Staircase Construction, Balustrades, Swimmingpool Access3.10Additional Construction Requirements –High wind regions, Earthquake proneregions3.11Structural Design Manuals3.12Energy EfficiencyControlling smoke spreading is a part of the Fire Active measure and it is accompanied by thesystem of detecting and communicating the fire outbreak whenever it occurs. Such an approachshould be considered as a proactive one. Fire Break Glass Alarm: This mechanism is meant for activating fire alarm for alerting the firebrigade so that quick response can be obtained. There is usually a red panel on the wall with asmall button, pressing which the fire brigade would be alerted. Fire Control Systems: In a building the fire control system should be considered as a hub forcontrolling fire. Typically the place is located in the ground floor, near to the entrance or exitpoint that opens to a broad road. In a cabinet or in a wall the panel should be placed. A goodnumber of lights and buttons constitute the panel indicating the fact that fire sensor is activated inthe concerned building.
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Fire Doors: There must be a passage through the building to give a vent to the smoke caused byfire. Such fire doors should be automatically operated in times of emergency and on the basis ofthe signal passed on by the smoke detectors and other mechanisms. Smoke and Thermal Power Detectors: Smoke detectors are proactive measures as they are usedfor generating earlier signal about the outbreak of a fire. Such a mechanism is utilized in respectof controlling and activating the fire doors and for isolating particular zones within a building. Portable Fire Extinguishers are also used to extinguish fire that are smaller in dimension and arein the initial stage. Moreover, fire hose reels and fire hydrants are also used extensively in themechanism of putting off fire. To the fire hydrant the canvas fire hose is usually attached andthey are installed by Fire Brigade. Only trained personnel and not general public should work onthe mechanism. Passive Fire ProtectionRise in temperature has to be reduced whenever any steel item is exposed to elevatedtemperature in the event of fire. Buchanan 2001) has suggested that properties of protectionmaterials and their measurement play a crucial role in reducing the elevated temperature but suchprocess of alleviation is reliant on certain calculations that must be specifically correct. Concrete encasement: Concrete encasement though might be a need in the building process tosupport the steel elements, they are actually costly in nature. Board Systems: Gypsum plaster or calcium silicate is used in the development of board systemsand in case of fire accidents the calcium silicate boards play a crucial role. But it must be notedthat Gypsum boards have the potential to insulate those properties that are resistant to fire andthis is due to the presence of water within the board. Spray-on protection system: To hold materials together, cement based form of glass or cellulosicfibres are used in the spray on protection system. It must be noted that there is a special kind ofpaint that plays an important role in an event of fire and that is intumesccent paint, and suchelement swells into a thick char whenever the same is exposed to increased temperature that hasthe potential to increase the fire rating of the steel utensils behind. Timber boards can also be used in the event of restraining fire and combating the same.Structural elements then should be encased with timer and this can give passive fire protection.But the timber has to be seasoned to be specific. Moreover, thermosetting adhesive must be usedto fix the boarding with timber to ensure fire protection. Concrete filling is also a way of preventing fire as it is a mechanism that is used for hollow steelsections that improve the performance of the fire. There is no need of external protection in thiscase of usage and it is useful in enhancing the load-bearing capacity of the sections. Water filling system on the other hand works within the principle of concrete filling and here,water is filled in hollow steel sections. Corrosion preventive additives are added to the waterfilling and this requires immaculate plumbing system and arrangement. But due to its
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expensiveness, the process is rarely used. Moreover, flame shields are also used in protectingexternal steelwork from heat radiation. Part BThere is a Building Code of Australia (BCA) and there is a Construction Certificate that is meantfor assessing the degree of compliance of the building process with the BCA. To be compliantwith the BCA the construction of the structure should be deemed to be satisfied and that shouldappease the BCA’s Acceptable Construction Practice. Then there is the alternative solution thatshould meet the required performance mechanisms that are evaluated by BCA’s assessmentmethods to be specific. BCA has mandated a verification process that should be used to ensure that the building processis compliant with BCA’s requirements. Then there it the practice of obtaining expert opinion andin this regard the documentation for building purpose should be certified by a qualified personwho has experience in the field of construction. 2Alternative assessment methods: There are many ways to assess if the building solution complieswith the BCA.Clause A2.2 of the BCA allows the evidence to be submitted that must support the proposal forbuilding materials. Registered Testing Authority report;Certificate ofAccreditation/ Certificate of Conformity;A certificate from a professional engineer or other appropriately qualified person;Certificate issued by a product certification body which is accredited by the JointAccreditation System of Australia and New Zealand (JAS-ANZ); VerificationThe verification methods encompass analytical methods based on some mathematical models.Tests are also conducted for understanding the overall technical operation on site for measuringperformance criteria. Expert judgment is often taken and counted whenever there is a case ofcalculation failure and in such events the technical advice of the expert must be noted. Thenthere is the comparison method in store which denotes the final assessment method applied forevaluating if the building process can be deemed to be satisfied. It must be noted that applicantshave the liberty to use any materials or components or design factors but every one of them mustmeet the requirements of the BCA. 3
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