What are Performance Solutions / ‘Alternative Solutions’?

An ‘Alternative Solution’ has been defined as “a building solution which complies with the Performance Requirements other than by satisfying the ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions of the BCA.”

Performance -based building codes and the use of ‘Alternative Solutions’ have led to “significant cost savings and more modern and innovative designs”.[1]

The National Construction Code (NCC), which includes the Building Code of Australia (BCA) (Volumes One and Two) is a ‘performance-based’ building code. As the code is ‘performance based’, each section of the BCA has minimum levels of compliance which are mandatory – these are called the ‘Performance Requirements’.

The Australian Building Codes Board has been quoted as stating that the use of a performance based approach to compliance “provides practitioners with a strong degree of flexibility to determine the most appropriate means for demonstrating compliance with the relevant Performance Requirements”. This therefore allows some level of creativity in how compliance (or a compliant building solution) can be achieved and could see the introduction of new materials, technologies or methodologies, which could also see some efficiencies, better outcomes and cost savings, whilst still meeting the relevant Performance Requirement.

[1] Australian Government, Productivity Commission Research Report, Reform of Building Regulation, 2004, Page xxx , http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/building/report/building.pdf, viewed 20 September 2015

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