Compliance And Deficiencies Of A Residential Apartment Building In Hamilton Island

Internal and External Risk Factors

Apartments are able to be classified according to different factors. The building under consideration in this section is a 6 storey residential apartment with two basements which falls under class 3. Compliance to different legislations to reduce both external and internal risks in residential buildings is important. Hamilton Island, Queensland has legislations has well which makes sure these buildings are safe for the occupants. The fire resistance in the buildings is designed to last for at least 4 hours (Australian Building Codes Board, 2004). More importantly, the design of the buildings has a fire exist area which will ensure that evacuation is able to happen at the quickest time possible. In addition, control of fire and proper containment measures are required during the construction phase. This measure ensures that in case of fire existence, the spread of fire is contained to limited location. Site locations have been identified to have direct relationship with the wind factors. AS/NZS 1170.2 is able to provide the different locational classifications according to the wind speeds (Australian Building Codes Board, 2004). The location classification is able to help in determining the amount of wind experienced and thus help in design of the buildings. Fire risk on the other hand is an internal risk which can be experienced in this kind of building. During design, fire resistance consideration is important. Four hours of fire resistance is considered to be adequate for the concrete structures during design. This ensures that failure of the members does not happening so easily and thus offering key preventing and evacuation times.

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Fire resistivity is important for all the members used for construction of buildings. The members are designed with specific timeline which they can endure the fire before they experience failure. The key sources of fire in this building include the electricity connection, kitchen area where cooking gas may be stored and used and also the basement section where the cars will be parked. Fire resistance requirements are defined on BCA part A2.3. the section provides the design requirements for the different categories of buildings and elements and the way elements should be able to last under fire instances. In addition, this kind of structure requires provision of fire walls. BCA part C2.7 provides the design provisions of the fire walls to ensures that fire is contained at specific place and does not cause threat at other areas. The requirement also notes that the fire wall must be separated from other parts of the building. This ensures that fire will not spread to other locations and cause a risk to the whole building being on fire. The BCA clause also states that the fire wall openings must be covered well to reduce the fire risks. C2.5 states that the doors and windows be designed to be automatic of semi-automatic closing. This will ensure that the spread of fire instances is reduces and fire contained at specific places where it emanates from. C2.6 states that separation openings in external wall should be constructed with non-combustible materials (Australian Building Codes Board, 2004). This will ensure that the material contains fire spread and exist to other locations and buildings through the openings. Construction guidelines in C1.1 must be adhered to during the construction phase as well.

Fire Resistance

Egress provision in buildings is important for evacuation in case of internal risks. The design of residential apartments must be able to consider the capacity of the residents in order to provide adequate number of exists.  Section D of BCA is able to provide the different requirements of access and egress provision in different buildings. The sections define that the egress provision is able to enhance safe and reasonable access to the building. Section D1.2 is able to define the number of exists required in each building according to their specifications. First, the section in part a requires that all building must have at least 1 exit provided. Horizontal exist must be provided in the buildings which must be able to comply with the specifications laid in C1.5. in the basement part, the section requires that not less than 2 exists in addition to the horizontal exist must be provided. Therefore, the apartment under consideration in this section must have these provisions of number of exists. Part D1.3 provides that the exists must be fire-isolated areas. This is to ensure that the evacuation is safe and people are not under the threat and risk of fire when evacuating the building. The location of exists such as staircases or ramps which are serving the provided exists must be fire isolated. Part D1.4 and D1.5 provides the maximum travel distances for different building to the exit (Australian Building Codes Board, 2004). In this case, the travel distance should not be more that 45 meters from the entry point serving the storey at the level of egress to the building or open place.  The design of the egress and exist must be done according to the intended occupancy of the building. D1.6 provides the design requirements of exists where 1.8 meter exist should be provided for occupancy units. This will ensure that collision and proper evacuation from the building is access and done in case of threats.

Active fire control is able to provide the required warnings to facilitate the evacuation processes in case of internal and external risks. Emergency lighting such as the one showing risk existence should be location where they are visible. Part E4.4 defines that the emergency lighting must be provided on stairways or ramps to provide proper direction for evacuation. The lighting must be able to have the exit signs to provide guidance on directions on way out. According to part E of BCA, the emergency lighting is meant to provide adequate lighting, help in adequate identification of exits and exit paths and making residents aware of emergencies within the buildings. The provision of the emergency lighting and exit signs should be done in every storey and fire-isolated exits. This will help to facilitate the exiting of the occupants from the building in case of fire or emergency. Part G3.8 section 4.1 is able to provide the requirement of the smoke detection in every floor section. This will ensure that the identification of fire risk at any place of the building is well identified. Installation of fire hydrants according to G4.8 must be done according to specifications laid in E1.3 (Australian Building Codes Board, 2004). their accessibility in case of fire threat must be achieved during the construction phase. This will ease the firefighting exercise and containment of fire instances. G4.8 also states that the fire hose reels must be installed according to the provision laid in E1.4 with exception where the fire hose reel can be location on the egress. This is to enhance the accessibility of the facility.

Egress Provisions

Accessibility to the building is an important factor which has to be considered from the planning stage. The designs must have a clear plan on how each part of the building will be accessed and from which point. AS 1428.1 is able to provide the different specification which the staircases must be able to meet for residential occupancy. The width and landing heights are specified to enhance proper access to the buildings. In addition, the number of staircases provisions according to the occupancy level of the building are also stated in this section. The staircases help to enhance accessibility of different locations of the building. Multiple staircases are required when the building is large. Central location is perfect for small buildings to ensure that the access on both sides of the building is enhanced. Handrails must be able to comply with clause 10.1 of AS 1428.2. they are able to offer additional support whenever the passengers need the support. Their location must be accessible and firm to support the passengers. The staircases should have a provision of the handrail to ensure that the occupancy at times of need are able to use them for their support. Disable access include the provisions of ramps in buildings. Each residential apartment must have the provision of disabled access to the lower storeys.

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Consideration for health and amenity is an important aspect for any residential apartment. The requirement ensures that the health of the occupants will be well address through proper construction methods. Section F of BCA has the different specification of the health and amenity provision to all buildings. Section 5.3.3 of AS 2870 has the key requirement that ground floor of the building must be filled with damp proofing fill of membrane which is weatherproofing. This is to enhance water resistance and penetration from underground locations to the buildings. The provision of sanitary and other facilities is provided in PART F2 (a) and (b). it states that each unit must be provided with the sanitary facilities which is not less than 1. This is to ensures that different people are able to access the facilities at their convenience. Part F4 provides the important requirements of the lighting and ventilation in buildings (Australian Building Codes Board, 2004). The main objective of this provision is to ensure that occupants are safeguarded from injury, illness or loss of amenity due to isolation from natural light of proper provision of artificial light and due to lack of air freshness. FP4.2 states that artificial lighting must be provided in the room to enable safe movements of the occupants. Natural lighting must be considered and be made accessible in the buildings through permanent openings, windows, doors or other devices which can be opened. FP4.3 states that mean of ventilation with outdoor air must be provided and be adequate. FP4.4 states that mechanical facilities may be installed in room to enhance air circulation within the buildings. Part F3 provided the appropriate room heights according to the use of buildings. This helps to provide safety to occupants against inappropriate height of rooms. F3.1 states that a habitable room must have a minimum height of 2.1m excluding kitchen area (Palutikof, 2015). Part F5 is able to provide the requirements for Sound Transmission and Insulation in buildings. This provision helps to protect the occupants against undue sound transmission. Airborne sound insulation must be able to comply with specification on AS/NZS 1276.1.

Active Fire Control

Compliance with energy efficiency requirement is important to prevent unworthy emissions. Section J is able to look at different specific requirements which the buildings should conform to according to energy efficiency. The main objective of this requirement is to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions. The climatic conditions are able to define the kind of appliances and duration for their use. These appliances affect the amount of energy to be consumed. The overall efficiency according to Part J0 is defined by occupancy level for each building (Boulter; Palutikof; Karoly & Guitart, 2013). Part J1 provides the building fabric and thermal construction required. The key services in this include the roof and ceiling construction according to climatic zones. J1.4 emulates the lighting systems required and thermal performance of the systems.  

While planning, designing and in construction phases, it is important to consider some key external risks such as cyclone risks. Hamilton and Whitsunday Islands have been able to experience these risks and it is important to have buildings with proper compliance to reduce such risks. Past experiences are important to identify such risks (Boughton; James Cook University & Cyclone Testing Station, 2011). The experiences are able to provide the overview of the strength of the cyclones and the requirement of building strength required to withstand such risks. In risk identification, the past records can be able to provide the speed of the cyclones which are able to affect these areas. These can be able to help in planning of proper structure which will be able to withstand such risks.

The risk control while planning for the construction can include the inclusion of safe house in every apartment or storey (Bobrowsky, 2013). This will provide a place where the residents can house themselves. In addition, the accessibility of the safe house should be made available to ensure that residents can access the place for their safety. Provision of proper design to divert the cyclone is another measure which can be employed to reduce the cyclone risk.


Australian Building Codes Board (2004). BCA. Canberra: Australian Building Codes Board.

Bobrowsky P. T (2013). Encyclopedia of natural hazards. Dordrecht; New York: Springer.

Boughton G N; James Cook University & Cyclone Testing Station. (2011). Tropical Cyclone Yasi: structural damage to buildings. Townsville, Qld.: James Cook University.

Boulter S; Palutikof J P; Karoly D. J.; & Guitart D. (2013). Natural disasters and adaptation to climate change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Palutikof J P (2015). Applied studies in climate adaptation. Chichester, West Sussex, UK; Hoboken, NJ, USA: Wiley Blackwell.