GMA Technical Information

Fire Separation

Fire separation between unattached buildings

If you propose to build a patio or a deck, and have plans drawn showing it in close proximity to your side boundary, if it may be required that you either move it away from your boundary or provide some sort of fire separation between it and the boundary line (usually in the form of a block wall or similar). This can be a frustrating thing to hear! Before planning your new building work, it is always best to check on what you may or may not be able to construct near your boundary lines.

If you are proposing building work near another building on your allotment, or if you live in a duplex, the National Construction Code (NCC) also has a set of requirements to keep both your dwelling and other structures safe in the event of a fire.

Fire separation is not a simple one rule fits all scenarios. The NCC accommodates for many different types of construction, so please contact your local GMA branch if you would like more information.

Separating walls between attached buildings

Separating Walls are required when two dwellings are attached – like a duplex/townhouse.

There are many types of separating wall construction methods available in today’s market. The NCC requires that each of these methods must achieve a Fire Resistance Level (FRL) of 60/60/60 between the dwellings. This means that the wall must maintain structural adequacy, integrity and insulation for a minimum of 60 minutes, enabling all occupants to vacate the building in the event of a fire.

All separating walls must be inspected by either the building certifier or a Passive Fire License Holder. If a Passive Fire License Holder inspects the wall, the inspection must cover all of the elements required in the NCC like the mineral fibre installation, eaves separation and end of wall compaction. If the passive fire licensee inspection does not cover all these aspects, GMA will also need to inspect.

Termite Management

The National Construction Code (NCC) has requirements for termite risk management that applies to all new building work. It is important to note that the NCC requirements are to provide for a termite management system that deters termites from gaining entry to a building via a concealed route. The installation of a termite management system will not stop termite activity from occurring on your site.

There are many methods available for providing an effective termite management system to your building. It would be advisable to speak with a licensed termite management installer before starting any construction work so that you will be aware of any requirements to your development.

One of the biggest heartaches home owners face is finding out the termite management system installed during the build has been compromised by works carried out AFTER construction has been completed. Often paths, landscaping, driveways, decorative claddings and other such ‘add ons’ breech the termite barrier, allowing for concealed access into the building. This can be expensive and time consuming to rectify. If you have plans to add any additional work like this, please let your termite management installer know so that they can prepare a suitable management system specific to your development.

There are several things that you can do as the home owner to ensure your termite management system remains effective and in accordance with the NCC

- Maintain a 75mm inspection zone below the barrier where above landscaping and grassed areas

- Ensure no pipes, fence posts, retaining walls or other attachments sit directly over the barrier. An inspection zone must be allowed for between these attachments and the barrier location so that any possible termite activity can be viewed.

- Place the termite notice sticker (durable notice) in your meter box.

- If concreting or laying other hardstand areas around the perimeter of your building, ensure a minimum 25mm inspection zone exists at the barrier location.