Separating Walls on Boundaries


The VBA Pro-Active Inspection aims to bring better performance to the building and plumbing industry. It is meant to aid in improving the outcomes, and at the same time, assist practitioners to meet all their obligations but always under the Building Act and Regulations. The BVA Pro-Active inspection choose randomly which one to inspect but based on the building permits that they receive.

A recent inquiry was made. It was a question about what gap is ok between the flashing and gutter where the gutter is installed over the brickwork adjacent to the property boundary. Their response is that there is no gap allowed. To further educate all their consumers, they pointed out some important matters regarding this.

According to the VBA or Victorian Building Authority, they have identified a lot of “garage brick walls on boundaries as high as the course below the lower end of the pitched gutters, and in some cases only as high as the top plate.” Practitioners utilize a metal sheet called Colorbond flashing to clad the gap that extends up to the gutter’s underside, however, the VBA reminds everyone that Colorbond flashing is not a fire-rated material. This does not separate fire in its own right. Building code of Australia has specific regulations and requirements for the protection from the spread of fire. Furthermore, VBA states, “BCA Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) provisions for External Walls on Boundaries includes four diagrams indicating acceptable construction methods (Figure 3.7.1.3). It is important to note that figure 3.7.1.3 (c) does not permit a gap to be provided between the underside of the gutter, the flashing or brickwork.”

There are acceptable methods of construction, and it is important to have it reviewed first by the qualified person. This should take place before the construction.

As a practitioner, what are the things you can do?

  • According to the VBA, one of the most important things to do before carrying out any building work is to speak with the RBS. Make sure that the building work does not fall outside the BCA DTS provisions and Australian standards.

  • Inspectors are advised to report to the RBS if there are any Performance Solutions used unapproved in the documentation.

  • Inspectors are also expected to report those that do not comply to the provisions and Australian standards.

  • It is also possible for Performance Solutions to be proposed that meet the requirements.

  • Inspectors are not allowed to approve unapproved Performance Solutions by the RBS.

Reference:

http://www.vba.vic.gov.au/media/latest-news/article/2017/separating-walls-on-boundaries-a-gap-with-fire-safety-implications2

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