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Discuss the special construction requirements in this high-risk geographical location.

Smoke Detection

This report has been written for the large building with the excessive compartment area regarding the fire safety rules and regulation that was developed by the Building Code of Australia (BCC). In order to satisfy the Fire Safety regulatory reform order of 2005 (van Hees, Holmstedt, Bengtson, Hägglund, Dittmer, Blomqvist, Lönnermark, 2009) for the basic buildings, type A risk assessment has been carried out. For the sustainable building it is necessary to utilize maximum amount of natural resources in order to avoid fire. The occupants should have sufficient knowledge regarding fire so that they could handle the situation effectively. According the rules of BCA, the building have to be constructed based on certain conditions. The main objective of this report is to save the occupants of the buildings from the fire and cyclone activities.

The details regarding the construction of the apartments are as follows

S.NO Details Specification
1 Site area 1609 m2
2 Tower building area 3895 m2
3 Basement area 2010 m2
4 Storey 6
5 Apartments 39
6 Car spaces 54 (26- Level B1 and 26- Level B2)

Smoke Detection:The functionality of smoke detection and alarm circuits has been mentioned in part one of E2.2a. These requirements include the following:

  • AS 1603.4 Smoke detection and alarm activation
  • AS 2220.2 Smoke alarms and audible alarms
  • AS 1670 Automatic fire detection and alarm system

Based on the Class 2 building, the system should comply with AS3786 that is necessarily powered from the main source of the building. It is sufficiently installed in the kitchens where there is a possibility of smoke to evolve. According to AS1670.1, if there is an absence of sprinkler system then it is necessary to install the smoke alarm system. Smoke alarm system is sufficiently fixed on all foyers on all levels of SOU.

  • Moreover, it is necessary to have a warning system that raises alarm if smoke occurs, which should comply with clause 3.22 of AS 1670.1

Fire Hydrants:Fire Hydrants are used-

  • Necessary for the floor area above 500 square meter
  • Availability of fire brigade to attend fire cases

The hydrant system should comply with the following:

  • Installed according to AS 2419.1
  • Should be provided internally to serve the storey
  • Especially for class 2 or 3 buildings

Fire Hose reels:The main purpose of Hose reel system is to

  • Serve the dwellings that are provided with the internal hydrant system
  • Installed in accordance with AS 2441
  • Serve the storey at the located place except a sole-occupancy unit
  • Can be installed internally or externally

Stair Construction:The main purpose of the stairways is to save people from injury while escaping due to fire.In compliance with DP2: In order to have a safe movement within the buildings, the following provision should be done:

  • Proper gradients should be provided in the walking surface
  • The door should be promoted in such a way for an easy egress and no one should be trapped within the compartment.
  • Slippery resistant staircases and ramps should be offered
  • Sufficient handrails should be provided for the people who use stairways

Handrails:As reffered in D2.18, Handrails should have the following:

  • It should be place at least on a side of a ramp
  • If each side of the ramp exceeds 2m then it is necessary to be installed on both the sides
  • Intermediate handrails should not exceed 2m
  • Class 9a, health care building- fixed at the full length of the wall with 50mm clear of the wall
  • Class 9b, primary school building- hand rail fixed at a height of 865mm
  • Class 9c, aged care building- fixed along both sides of the corridor or halfway with 50mm clear of the wall

Health and Amenity:Damp and weather proofing:The main objective of this is to protect the occupants from any illness and injury and also protect the building from any damage due to the external moisture, surface absorbent moisture and other causes due to natural resourcesAccording to FP1.5- Moisture from the ground

  • Should not cause any dampness on the building elements
  • Should not provide unhygienic situation that could provide loss of amenity to the occupants

Water for the floor or the ground should not necessarily reach the upper surface. Hence sufficient vapour barrier should be set according to AS 2870 (Damp Proofing)Sanitary and other Facilities:According to FF2.3 of BCA, sufficient space and facilities should be offered for the cooking and washing. Facility provided by FF2.3 includes the following

  • Facility for rinsing the food, washing the utensil and disposal of waste water
  • Facility for preparing the food
  • Space for food preparation

Factors affecting Susceptibility to Cyclones

According to FP2.6- there should be a control gathering of harmful levels of micro-organisms in the place that stores the Hot water, warm water and cooling water systems. Class 2 and class 3 buildings must be installed according to the rules of AS/NZS 3666.1, in order to control these harmful micro-organisms. Ventilation and Lights:According to F4.1, natural lights should be installed in all the class 2 and class 4 habitual buildings.Subject to Clause 3.6 of Specification C1.1, the natural lights should be provided with the windows for the ventilation purposes that

  • Have a collective light that transmits the area exclusively measured of framing members, glazing bars or other obstacles that should not be less than 10 percent of the room
  • Should be open to the sky or veranda or any open environment

Sound Transmission and Insulation:According to FP5.2, Walls should separate the sole-occupancy units and proper insulation should be provided with the stairway, public place or corridor, airborne transmission and other sound impact places in order to protect the recipients from any illness or amenity.FP5.3 says that the sufficient sound insulation for the floors or walls must not be withdrawn from penetrating the pipes or any other factors.

Hamilton Island is said to be the heart of the Great Barrier Reef that is located at the Queensland coast of Australia and the marking scheme of the place is shown in the figure below. It is the largest inhabited island that measures about 4.5 km from north to south and 3 km from west to east of the 74 Whitsunday Islands. Situated on the same latitude as Honolulu in the northern hemisphere and Mauritius in the south, Hamilton Island enjoys a year-round tropical climate with an average temperature of 27°C.The buildings of the Hamilton Island comes under zone 5 category since the zone 4, 5 and 6 are summarized to be warm during summer and cool during winters that needs a balance insulation and glazing requirements (Proulx, 2008). Hence the building requirements according to section J varies and the fabrics are chosen according to the climatic condition.  These materials should be approved with the Building Code of Australia (BCA). The brick veneer could be chosen for the construction since the building constructed (Zimmerman & Restrepo, 2009) with this brick resists the heat to enter the building and it could be fine during summer (Beyler, 2008). On the hand, the building could insulate the heat from leaving the building and keeps warm during cold winter. Timber roofs could also be provided with cement tiles with R3.0 roof insulation. These materials could be best suited for the climate Zone of Hamilton Island.
Productivity:The efficiency does not last for a long period till the life time of the building. Moreover, according to the BCA 2011, the lifespan of the material is assumed to be 25-40 years. Beyond the lifespan, the materials could worm out, loss its productivity and gets damaged. Moreover, the plan for the building materials will become old under Section E within the time period of the construction of the commercial building (Babrauskas, 2008). Hence it will become an aged technology within a period of ten years. It is necessary to maintain the building system that serves as a safe place for the occupants (BSI 2011). Hence it is necessary to have secured and protective systems that serves well with the alarm systems. Additionally, the heating and the cooling system of the building should also be maintained with the regular check of filters, pump efficiency and glands that are in the operation.

  1. According to energy efficiency of section 2.6, BCA volume 2, it is necessary to have the renewable energy panels around the building namely a solar water heater, wind turbine etc, that utilizes the natural resources.
  2. The building should not be prone to the green house gases according to the section Clause I 2.2(h). Under section 2.6, BCA volume 2 (Class 1 and class 10, Housing provisions), the building should highlight the factor for the reduction of green house gases. The building should efficiently utilize the energy for their domestic purposes by obtaining the energy in the form of renewable sources, sources that supports low greenhouse gas intensity and any other form of reclaimed energy. 

Requirements for Cyclone-Resistant Buildings

Building Materials:The materials used for the construction is said to be Autoclaved aerated concrete panels with IN-SITU concrete. The arch is made of Metal Louvre screen. Under the Specification J1.2 of BCA the building materials has to be chosen (Chiti, 2009). As mentioned previously, brick veneer with the timber roof tiled with cement could be used made up of R3.0 roof insulation. The construction should comply with the following rules:

  • The statement of J1.2 (a) says that the insulation procedure should generally satisfy with AS/NZS 4859.1. It generally says the thickness of the material to be 35-75 mm thick that has air traps with low density (Hu, 2017). This is said to be the blanket of the construction. For a perfect insulation, there must be no air gaps among the "blankets" and overlap the junctions of walls and roof framing members.   
  • The statement of Ji.2 (b) says the use of sheet reflective insulation materials. They are made up of metallic firm or reinforced paper (Utne, Hokstad  & Vatn, 2011). The sheet membrane should be continuous and the junction should be lapped with the structural membrane.
  • The ceiling construction with the flooring and the roof lights has been described in the part J1 of BCA volume 1.
  • According to BCA table J6.2a, the car park should have a maximum power density of 25 W/ m2  at the first 20 m entry. The garage contains the fluorescent lights placed at a distance of 6 m each. They emit 100 lumens per watt that complies with BCA. 

In several cases the inner pressure of the buildings is comparatively high rather than outside. This is a general case that inside the building the temperature is relatively high when compared to outside. When air heats up, it will cause a difference in pressure.  The hot air from the building tends to move outwards (Klason, Andersson, Johansson  & van Hees, 2011). If the difference in pressure is small then air flow takes place through an opening i.e. upper part allows the air flow outwards whereas, the inner part supports the inflow of air. If the difference in pressure is very high, then the situation will be the vice versa of the previous situation.

There are about 4100 fire incidents happening annually around the world in the residential building but the reason is still not known exactly. This does not avoid that the fire service will be confronted with fires in these types of dwellings in future. One of the important causes of developing fire would be the window pane. The mechanical strength of the glass increases with the increase in the thermal properties. Ventilation controlled fires are expected to be more common. The sudden failure happens with the opening of the doors and windows could lead a situation of back draft within a few seconds that could be a dangerous situation for the fire fighters (Nilsson & van Hees, 2012). However, several recent studies, of which one of them was presented during the 6th National Congress Fire Safety Engineering, suggests that as a result of the new building strategies the pane behaviour might be affected by the pressure build-up generated by the fire. Having a thorough knowledge about this is very essential for the safety of the occupants.

The susceptibility for the cyclone could be determined by the probability for the cyclone to occur, the nature’s shifting as well as the damage that could occur due to the occurrence. If a building cannot withstand the high winds then they are said to be vulnerable (Richards, 2008). These building could be made up of lightweight structure such as wood frames mainly in certain old buildings where the woods have worsened and became weak. It is necessary to construct the compartment with the high quality and reinforced material. Especially people living near the costal lands and near the river flood plains should have a high degree of exposure of lands. Certain settlement patterns could bring "funnel effect", which maximizes the speed of the wind among the building leading to a high damage.

Seismic Hazards and Earthquake-Proofing

The sufficient effort for the design of the structure could be obtained if the annual probability of expedience, the site hazard rate, the soil conditions and the height of the building are all known.

  1. According the table B1.2a of the BCA, the level of the building should be known. Based on this the building is said to be at Important level 2.
  2. Table B1.2b from the BCA, the annual probability of the building could be determined based on the area and the material used for the construction.
  3. The site sub-soil conditions are grouped into 5 categories (Class A, B, C, D or E) ranging from hard rocky soils to very soft soils e.g. sand.
  4. The hazard factor value (Z) for the site should be obtained and this is obtained from AS 1170.4 section 3, table 3.2
  1. Foundations:

The cyclone wind forces could sometimes completely pull a building from the ground. A cyclone resistant building should have a stronger foundation when the building is very light. If these rules were ignored then the building could have a short span when subjected to cyclone conditions.

  1. Steel Frames:

The load could be relieved from building if there is a loss of cladding. There are several cases in which the sustainability of the building could increase due to the wind loads that lead to the loss of cladding. Figure 4 shows the foundation that has been pulled out from the building

  1. Reinforced Concrete Frames

The seismic hazard completely controls the design of reinforced concrete frames. When this is ignored (although in areas that has a least natural disaster) then it could lead to a huge disaster.

  1. Component Failures

One of the common areas that lead to cyclone effect is the roof sheeting. There are several factors that lead to this condition that are as follows:

  • Insufficient device fasteners
  • Insufficient thickness of the sheet
  • Inadequate fastener frequency in the known areas of greater wind suction.

At certain situation during the occurrence of cyclones, the top part of the rafters could disappear leaving the bottom part its place. This is due to the holes that are drilled horizontally through the rafters in order to hold down the straps.

The components that get damaged after roof sheeting will be the windows and the doors. According to BCA, areas that are prone to cyclone effect should avoid their building windows constructed with the glass. Other than glass, bolts, latches and hinges also takes place.

The walls with the ring beams and columns could be safe during the attack of cyclones. On the other hand, it is insufficient to use the Cantilevered parapets that may lead to a high risk.

The performance of the building due to the cyclones could be determined by the building design and shape. The best design could be made out of simple, compact and symmetrical shapes. On knowing this we could say that the square plan works well when compared to the rectangle. Since a square building could allow the propagation of wind through the entire building. But, compared to the L-shaped plan, the rectangle plan serves the best. It is not necessary for the entire building to be designed in the square structure. One should be aware of all the design implications and take necessary decision according to the negative impacts. The best will be square. If we switch on other design then it is necessary to strengthen the corners of the building. This is to withstand the force of the wind. When designing the rectangular layout then the length of the building should not exceed thrice the width of the building.

General Considerations

General Considerations:

The general consideration for a building to resist the cyclones is as follows:

Usage of hip or high pitched gable roof is highly recommended

  • Overhanging roofs could be avoided. If canopies are adapted then they could be held with the main building by ties
  • Opening the doors and windows could be avoided during the situation. Rather, Cyclone shutters could be offered.
  • Overhangs should not exceed 18 inches at verges or eaves
  • Separate structure could be provided for the veranda that could sufficiently avoid with the main building extension since they could blow off without damaging the entire house.
  • The foundation plays a major role. The types include 1) slab or raft foundation that could be used on the soft soils where their weights should be spread to a wider area. 2) Strip foundation could be used in the varied soil and this is a most commonly used one that could provide a best support. 3) Stepped foundation could be used in a slope ground that is similar to a strip foundation. 4) Pile foundation is said to be a deeper foundation that is suitable for larger buildings like apartments.  


In this paper the fire safety equipments with their functionality has been studied. The BCA regulations for the proposed building have also been written. The construction of the building in order to withstand cyclones has also been studied.


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Babrauskas, V. (2008). Heat Release Rates. In P. J. DiNenno et al. (Eds.), SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering (4 ed.). (pp. 3-1 - 3-59). Quincy, MA: National Fire Protection Association.

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Chiti, S. (2009). Test Methods for Hypoxic Air Fire Prevention Systems and Overall Environmental Impact of Applications. MSc thesis, Modena: University of Modena.

Hu, L.(2017). A review of physics and correlations of pool fire behaviour in wind and future challenges. Fire Safety Science: Proceedings of the 12th International Symposium. 91, pp. 41-55.

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Proulx, G. (2008). Evacuation Time. In P. J. DiNenno et al. (Eds.), SFPE Handbook of Fire Protection Engineering (4 ed.). (pp. 3-355 - 3-372). Quincy, MA: National Fire Protection Association.

Richards, P. L. E. (2008), Characterising a design fire for a deliberately lit fire scenario, thesis (M.A.), University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

Utne, B., Hokstad, P., & Vatn, J. (2011). A Method for Risk Modeling of Interdependencies in Critical Infrastructures. Reliability Engineering & System Safety, 96(6), 671-678, doi: 10.1016/j.ress.2010.12.006.

van Hees, P., Holmstedt, G., Bengtson, S., Hägglund, B., Dittmer, T., Blomqvist, P., Lönnermark, A., (2009). Determination of Uncertainty of Different CFD Codes by Means of Comparison with Experimental Fire Scenarios.  London: Proceedings of the 11th International Conference and Exhibition. pp. 403-411

Winter, M., Moore, D. L., Davis, S., & Strauss, G. (2013). At Least 3 Dead, 141 Injured in Boston Marathon Blasts, USA Today, Online, Retrieved April 23, 2013, from explosions-finish-line-boston-marathon/2085193/.

Xin, Y., & Khan, M. M. (2007). Flammability of Combustible Materials in Reduced Oxygen Environment. Fire Safety Journal, 42(8), 536-547 doi: 10.1016/j.firesaf.2007.04.003.

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