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06.06.2019

New Fire Acceptable Solution

The MBIE has announced that they will be publishing a new Acceptable Solution for fire in 2019.

This has particular relevance for combustible timber cladding, which will now be able to used up to 10 metres building height in most cases, including commercial buildings.

The new C/AS2 covers the C clauses in the Building Code, and replaces the Acceptable Solutions C/AS2 to C/AS7. C/AS1 remains unchanged.

The new C/AS2 will come into effect 27 June 2019, and has a transition period of three months.

After a public consultation, feedback was received from 38 organisations including consultants, professional bodies and research agencies for the new C/AS2. In addition to the prescribed questions, an additional 700 comments were received on the Acceptable Solutions.

Some of the proposed changes are considered technical changes that should be sent out for public consultation, and therefore could not be implemented in this upcoming edition. MBIE will review these and process them at a later stage.

The majority of submissions supported the following technical changes:

  • limiting the exemptions for sprinklers with dual water supply for unprotected openings in external wall areas within one metre of the boundary or where storage height is greater than three metres high (Section 5.2.2.a)
  • simplifying the content in C/AS2 by referencing D1/AS1 – Access routes, rather than repeating the content from D/AS1
  • adjusting building height demarcations for external wall cladding requirements from 7 to 10 metres to be consistent with the Building Code Clauses (Section 5.8.1)
  • allowing full height group sleeping area partitions (Section 4.6.2)
  • removal of a generic smoke control requirement for air handling system shutdowns (Section 4.18.1)
  • setting the height restriction for balcony balustrades at 1100 mm minimum, not maximum, in line with F4/AS1 (Sections 3.11.5 and 3.11.6)

Additionally, there are numerous minor changes.

The new C/AS2 is great news for designers, and will allow Abodo’s cladding range to be used in buildings up to 10 metres in most cases. Practically this means many three storey buildings can be clad with natural wood.

This new Acceptable Solution will come into effect 27 June 2019, and has a transition period of three months. Always consult with a fire professional prior to specification of cladding.

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