Items of news of general interest to those in the industry.

May include aspects of Architecture, Innovative design, new products or issues of interest.

A new (future) draft version of the NCC (National Construction Code) is now available for public comment. Comments are due by COB April 13 2018.

To view this document (in PDF format) you may need to login or register at the ABCB (Australian Building Codes Board) website

Of interest to many involved in lightweight structures, and in particular tension membrane structures, are the new requirements related to fire. These new requirements have been the result of a number of fatal fires in Australia and overseas. See this article for an interim report related to fires and cladding.

An observation is that there seems to be an increasing acceptance of "performance based design" compared with the more traditional "prescriptive" or "deemed to comply" approaches. Indeed there is a separate document produced by the ABCB that may assist in the area of fire issues in larger membrane structures. It is called the "Fire Safety Verification Method proposed for NCC 2019" and can be found under the "resources" section of the ABCB website (see )



There are a number of product orientated "white papers" that may be of some interest to designers located HERE

To download, you have to give your contact details which may not appeal to all.

An Interim Report has now been published by the recently formed Victorian Cladding Taskforce.

The taskforce follows the serious Lacrosse Building fire in Melbourne Docklands (November 2014) and later the Grenfell Tower disaster (71 fatalities, June 2017) in London (see Grenfell_Tower_fire ) involving the use of highly combustible cladding panels.

The report covers the use of aluminium composite panels (ACP) with a polyethylene core and expanded polystyrene (EPS) cladding, for class 2, 3, or 9 buildings of two or more storeys, and class 5, 6, 7 or 8 buildings of three or more storeys. 

A PDF copy is available here

An earlier report on the Lacrosse Fire by Giuseppe Genco (Melbourne Building Surveyor) in April 2015 can be downloaded here

Prepared by the Tensile Membrane Structures Standards Committee of the Codes and Standards Activities Division of the Structural Engineering Institute of ASCE

Standard ASCE/SEI 55-16 provides minimum criteria for the analysis, design, and performance of membrane-covered cable and rigid member structures, collectively known as tensile membrane structures. It is applicable to both permanent and temporary structures.

Within CEN/TC 250/WG 5, CEN/TC 248/WG 4, the TensiNet Association and COST Action TU1303, an international team of researchers, engineers, architects, material producers and manufacturers has been working on this report, which provides background information in support of the implementation and development of a future Eurocode for the Structural Design of Tensile Membrane Structures.

Tensioned Membrane Structures have unique properties compared to the more conventional built environment. Besides their low self-weight and high flexibility these structures are known to be 'optimally' constructed, as they are only loaded in tension. It results in shapes adapted to the flow of forces and a minimum of material needed to realise the span.

Important revisions have taken place for fire detection and control in buildings across a number of Standards.

These set out the minimum requirements that should be in place during design and construction to ensure compliance.

Recent revisions include:

AS/NZS 1668.1:2015
The use of ventilation and air conditioning in buildings - Fire and smoke control in buildings

AS 1670.1:2015
Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems - System design, installation and commissioning

AS 1670.4:2015
Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems - System design, installation and commissioning - Emergency warning and intercom systems

Article added February 2016. For more information, see SAI Global website