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Performance-Based Building Codes around the World

The transition to performance-based building regulatory systems commenced in the late 1970s, with the first generation of the ‘new’ regulations being promulgated in the 1980s and 1990s. These regulatory systems have also been referred to as functional or objective-based building regulations. But by the mid-1990s only a small number of countries, Australia included, had implemented functional or performance-based building regulations, whilst several others were in the process of developing them.[1]

It was in 1997 that representatives from lead building regulatory development agencies from four countries created a platform to discuss, formulate and develop strategies for implementing performance-based building regulations. These four founding nations established the Inter-jurisdictional Regulatory Collaboration Committee (IRCC).

The IRCC then sought contribution and involvement from other countries and soon released a documented for the Guidelines for the Introduction of Performance-Based Building Regulations.

Prior to the accepted use of performance-based building codes most building regulations had been prescriptive (descriptive) specifications that detailed “how a building must be built, including what materials can be used, how they may be used, and when they can be accepted.[2] However, building codes have permitted alternatives to prescriptive requirements for years.[3]

[1] Inter-jurisdictional Regulatory Collaboration Committee 2010, A Report of the Inter-jurisdictional Regulatory Collaboration Committee, pp.2,11

[2] Inter-jurisdictional Regulatory Collaboration Committee 2010, A Report of the Inter-jurisdictional Regulatory Collaboration Committee, p.19

[3] Bergeron, D, Bowen, B, Tubbs, B & Rackliffe T, 2001, Acceptable Solutions, CIB World Building Congress, April 2001, Wellington, New Zealand Paper number: 257 p.5

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