LSAA Update on Fire Subcommittee Initiative (20 November 2020)
We wanted to provide you an update on an ongoing initiative of the LSAA, spearheaded by the Fire Subcommittee which was formed after the last LSAA Conference.
- Many of our members have experienced roadblocks to having coated tensile fabric accepted by Building Surveyors and Fire Engineers for particular projects.
- Despite the fact that most tensile fabrics do not contribute a significant fuel load to a fire, they do not comply with the Deemed to Satisfy Provisions of the (Building Code of Australia Version 2019) (“BCA”) because they are deemed combustible when tested in accordance with AS 1530.1.
- It is however possible to use coated tensile fabrics in Type A and B construction through the alternative compliance pathway of a Performance Solution.
- The LSAA engaged the services of Basic Expert Pty Ltd, Fire Engineers, to develop a Guide to Preparing a Performance Solution for Fabric (“The Guide”)
- The current version (Draft7) of The Guide is available HERE.
- The purpose of The Guide is to help LSAA members navigate through the combustibility provisions of the BCA and provides valuable information to aid fire engineers with preparation of a performance solution for a coated tensile fabric project.
- The Guide covers PVC/Polyester and PTFE/Fiberglass, but the principles in the guide applies to other tensile fabrics including HDPE.
- Next Steps:
The Lightweight Structures Association is a Not for Profit, autonomous, inter-disciplinary group of interested parties involved in the field of lightweight structures. Operating primarily in Australia and New Zealand our basic aim is to promote the proper application of lightweight structures, their design, fabrication, construction and materials and to encourage the development of these and other aspects essential to lightweight structures.
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Following several major building fires around the world there has been a reaction in Australia to introduce restrictions into various regulations that will affect the fabric segment of our industry.
The LSAA is taking a lead role in the formation of a task force to address these changes.
Several of the changes brought on by perhaps ill-informed wording could have a serious impact on the use of fabric in structures.
A fact finding exercise is being planned for 2018-19 followed by steps to have our industry have a voice before future changes are introduced to the NCC.
December 2018 - updated Nov 27 2020
Typical lightweight structures include cable-, membrane-, shell-, and folded structures as well as space grids, braced vaults and domes, arched-, stayed-and trussed systems. Membrane materials are commonly PVC-coated polyester fabrics as well as PTFE coated glass. Lightweight structures are widely employed in architecture, engineering and building construction and find application in long span roofs for stadiums and exhibition structures; covered shopping malls; entrance structures; signature structures and sculptures as well as shade and environmental protection canopies.