National Construction Code 2014 – Slip Resistance - The implications for polished timber stairways
On May 1st 2014, new slip resistance requirements for stairway surfaces were introduced into the Building Code of Australia (BCA). Stair treads, or nosing on treads, are now required to comply with a slip resistance classification when tested to Australian Standard AS 4586-2013 Slip resistance classification of new pedestrian surface materials. Discussions had been held with regulatory authorities regarding the introduction of the new provisions and the impact across industry sectors. The result has been a deferment of these provisions (typically for 12 months) in the majority of Australian States and Territories to allow industry sectors to address the new provisions.
The status of the provisions nationally, as understood, is as follows:
Residential Housing (Class 1)
- New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory1 and Western Australia2 have adopted the residential slip resistance provisions
- Other States and Territory, excluding Tasmania, have deferred the provisions until 1 May 2015
- Tasmania has deferred the provisions for at least 12 months
Multi-Residential, Commercial and Public Buildings (Class 2 – 9)
- All States and Territories, excluding Tasmania, have adopted the non-residential slip resistance provisions.
- Tasmania has deferred the provisions for at least 12 months.
- The BCA’s deemed-to-satisfy provisions are not a mandatory requirement in the ACT. Compliance can be demonstrated via testing in accordance with AS 4586-2013 Slip resistance classification of new pedestrian surface materials or via an alternative solution.
- Western Australia has an automatic transitional provision that permits a proponent to comply with the standards in either the current BCA or the BCA that was in place up to 12 months before the building permit application was lodged.
Discussions are currently being held to help develop and provide solutions to support the continued use of polished, feature timber stairways in line with the new slip resistance provisions. In a new WoodSolutions Technical Design Guide, FWPA will be addressing the new provisions and providing slip resistance options.