Fire Rating and Residential Developments: open car parking on a title

16 May, 2023 |

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Navigating the intricacies of urban residential development often presents novel questions. Today, I'm exploring one such query: Is fire rating necessary for walls adjoining open car parks, especially when they are on separate titles?

In my latest article, I delve into this complex issue, scrutinizing building code requirements and pondering potential solutions. Join the discussion and let’s shape safer, smarter housing together.

In the context of residential development, particularly terrace housing type, a pressing question has been raised: Is fire rating necessary against open car parking areas when it is on different designated titles?

As urban design density increases, a common trend in contemporary terrace house developments is the elimination of internal garages. Instead, developers are favouring unit-titled open car parks. Intriguingly, these parking areas often abut the building walls, sparking a debate on whether these walls necessitate fire rating.

After some deliberation, my current viewpoint is that the walls adjoining such open car parking areas should not be mandated to have fire rating to comply with building code performance requirements. This stance stems from a close examination of the objectives of clauses C2 to C6 in the building code, which aim to: (extract)

(a) Safeguard individuals from an unacceptable risk of injury or illness due to fire,

(b) Protect other property from fire-induced damage, and

(c) Facilitate effective firefighting and rescue operations.

Though the car park may bear a distinct title, safeguarding the adjoining wall does not seem directly relevant in the context of the stated objectives, particularly in protecting other property—specifically, other buildings. Consequently, the perceived benefits of implementing a fire rating in this context appear minimal, if not entirely absent.

One potential solution could involve the establishment of an encumbrance ensuring no building will be erected in the car parking area. This concept aligns with the treatment of unprotected walls adjoining the JOAL area, which the council already accepted in other case of development we did. In light of these factors, I would invite the council to consider a waiver application for the car parking areas as well.

This perspective, however, is open to debate and I would welcome the thoughts and insights of others in the industry. After all, the goal is to ensure that our residential developments are not only aesthetically pleasing but, more importantly, secure and fire safe for all its residents.

#UrbanDesign #FireSafety #ResidentialDevelopment

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