24 March, 2021
Compliance with National Construction Code (NCC) requirements is sometimes difficult. This can be due to a variety of reasons, such as technical construction constraints or other applicable laws (e.g., for heritage protected buildings). Usually, the difficulty will be in meeting one or more Deemed-to-Satisfy provisions. To overcome such challenges, building practitioners can seek NCC compliance in the form of a Performance-based Solution.
Performance Solutions are a pathway enabling design practitioners to use innovative approaches to meeting a brief while still complying with the National Construction Code (NCC) Performance Requirements.”[i]
Ergonomics principles can often be applied to develop effective Performance Solutions, and allow justified alternatives to NCC provisions to be used. It is particularly useful in matters of access: stairs, thresholds, headroom, egress, slip resistance, balustrades, railings, landings, facilities, lighting, signage and disability.
Ergonomics, also known as human factors (“fitting things to people”), draws on scientific data about humans’ true capabilities and limitations, including physical, cognitive, emotional, social and environmental factors.
In considering building design safety and compliance, ergonomics takes into consideration the characteristics of who uses a facility and their relevant attributes, when and how they use it, as well as how people actually see, move, understand and sense their surroundings, including:
- Usage of areas (whether the general public or employees);
- Accessibility requirements (e.g., children, elderly, disability, maintenance, frequency of access, hours of access);
- Human attributes (e.g., height ranges, weights, arm reaches, strength, vision, centre of gravity, etc.)
- Human behaviour (e.g., desired path vs anticipated path);
- Visual cues (e.g., quality and quantity of lighting, light source positioning, contrasts, colours, signage)
- Expectancy (e.g., anticipating what people will do, and how people perceive the world around them)
Ergonomics is a powerful tool and can make a strong contribution to designing buildings to be safe and optimised for human interaction, while meeting applicable codes, standards and statutory requirements.
Dohrmann Consulting is Australia’s longest-established independent firm of professional engineers and certified professional ergonomists. We specialise in occupational health and safety, ergonomics and injury prevention.
We regularly review non-compliant building elements and provide justified Performance Solutions and expert safety advice across a wide range of areas.
Our team of experts also provide hundreds of expert reports in personal injury litigation annually throughout Australia. We are well resourced through forty-five years of consulting, preparing expert opinion and engagement in building and interiors planning to give reliable, creative advice.
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