LSAA Update on Fire Subcommittee Initiative (20 November 2020)
We wanted to provide you an update on an ongoing initiative of the LSAA, spearheaded by the Fire Subcommittee which was formed after the last LSAA Conference.
- Many of our members have experienced roadblocks to having coated tensile fabric accepted by Building Surveyors and Fire Engineers for particular projects.
- Despite the fact that most tensile fabrics do not contribute a significant fuel load to a fire, they do not comply with the Deemed to Satisfy Provisions of the (Building Code of Australia Version 2019) (“BCA”) because they are deemed combustible when tested in accordance with AS 1530.1.
- It is however possible to use coated tensile fabrics in Type A and B construction through the alternative compliance pathway of a Performance Solution.
- The LSAA engaged the services of Basic Expert Pty Ltd, Fire Engineers, to develop a Guide to Preparing a Performance Solution for Fabric (“The Guide”)
- The current version (Draft7) of The Guide is available HERE.
- The purpose of The Guide is to help LSAA members navigate through the combustibility provisions of the BCA and provides valuable information to aid fire engineers with preparation of a performance solution for a coated tensile fabric project.
- The Guide covers PVC/Polyester and PTFE/Fiberglass, but the principles in the guide applies to other tensile fabrics including HDPE.
- Next Steps:
- The LSAA would like to offer members the opportunity to discuss The Guide and its implications on a Zoom meeting for LSAA members which is scheduled for 10am November 27 2020.
- The LSAA aims ultimately to influence the ABCB to change the BCA (2022 edition) to align with the European standard EN 13501.1 classification – this provides a range of combustibility levels, unlike the current BCA which has a binary definition.
- The BMAA recently funded large scale testing has been completed on three different types of fabric to show a correlation between AS 3837 and AS1530.2 and 3.
- New Zealand has also recently moved towards recognition of EN13501.1 classifications within performance solutions. [add reference to NZ building Code relevant provisions]
- The LSAA will begin collaboration with the STA and the BMAA and potentially the equivalent New Zealand bodies to determine a way forward to influence the next revision of the BCA (2022).
- For discussion:
- Do we focus on getting the ABCB to accept better test methods for combustibility – in alignment with EU and ASTM codes?
- What level of spread of flame and smoke developed indices are acceptable for combustibility?
The LSAA would like to get your feedback on these issues and more during our Zoom call at 10am Friday 27 November 2020
The LSAA notes that The Guide is a reference document only and the LSAA does not accept any responsibility for any liability arising from use of this document.