New Designers Responsibilities – Performance Solutions

  • July 26, 2021
  • Bruce Bromley

New Designers Responsibilities - Performance Solutions

Please Note: This requirement is an Australian Building Codes Board directive and does not just apply to access. All performance solutions including fire engineering, structure, egress, services & equipment, health & amenity etc will all need performance based design briefs prepared.

Update for Performance Solutions – Access

From 1 July 2021, the way performance solutions or performance-based design solutions are prepared has changed. This includes the definition of Performance Solution and the addition of a Performance-Based Design Brief within the NCC Building Code of Australia 2019 Amendment 1.

New Requirements for Designers

This process now requires designers to either develop or have developed most likely by an access consultant a Performance-Based Design Brief and have it approved by relevant stakeholders before an access consultant prepares a performance-based design solution.

BCA Requirements

Vol 1 of the Building Code of Australia Amendment 1

A2.2 Performance Solution

(4) Where a Performance Requirement is proposed to be satisfied by a Performance Solution, the following steps must be undertaken:

(a) Prepare a performance-based design brief in consultation with relevant stakeholders.
(b) Carry out analysis, using one or more of the Assessment Methods listed in (2), as proposed by the performance-based design brief.
(c) Evaluate results from (b) against the acceptance criteria in the performance-based design brief
(d) Prepare a final report that includes—

(i) all Performance Requirements and/or Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions identified through A2.2(3) or A2.4(3) as applicable; and
(ii) identification of all Assessment Methods used; and
(iii) details of steps (a) to (c); and
(iv) confirmation that the Performance Requirement has been met; and
(v) details of conditions or limitations, if any exist, regarding the Performance Solution.

“A provision that states something ‘shall’ or ‘must’ be done by a person generally imposes an obligation to do that thing….. these words impose an obligation” (Guy 2014 p,79).

Therefore, before preparing a performance solution, a performance-based design brief must first be prepared.

New Responsibilities

The development and approval of a Performance Solution can be a relatively simple process if initiated by the collaborative preparation of a performance-based design brief (also known as the brief or PBDB). Using this process can assist in developing a solution that satisfies the requirements of the NCC.

The purpose of the brief is to record the fundamental activities and outcomes of the performance-brief design process, as agreed by stakeholders. Consequently, the design process can be commenced with a high degree of confidence that the design will be NCC compliant.

BCA Amendment 1 2019:

Performance-based design brief (PBDB) means the process and the associated report defining the scope of work for the performance-based analysis, the technical basis for analysis, and the criteria for acceptance of any relevant Performance Solution as agreed by stakeholders or involved with any design elements.

The preparation of a performance-based design brief shall be in consultation with relevant stakeholders.

  • A regulating building surveyor should be involved but not manage the process. They should, however:
    • Identify and manage conflict of interest,
    • Act ethically, in the public interest and independently
    • Not be involved with design aspects

Also, must be competent in the performance-based scope of works


Everyone relevant to the performance solution must now come together and agree to what is being proposed.

  • Owner
  • Builder
  • Clark of works/project manager
  • Architectural designers
  • Engineer/s
  • Specialist consultants (fire, access, energy efficiency)
  • Regulating building surveyor (appropriate authority)
  • Specialists (consulting building surveyors)

Designers Role in initiating the design brief?

For access matters, the designer typically initiates the design brief process, sometimes in conjunction with an access consultant. Broadly, the components in the

process of development of a brief include:

  • Scope proposed solution
  • Communicate with stakeholders
  • Document relevant data
  • Stakeholders sign off on the agreed brief

Process of developing a performance-based design brief

Process of developing a performance-based design brief

Acceptance of the performance-based design brief

Once the performance-based design brief has been prepared, the designer will need to have it signed off by the relevant stakeholders. Once approval has been received from the relevant stakeholders, it can then be issued to the access consultant to prepare the performance-based design solution.

Performance-Based Design Brief Template

We have developed a template to assist designers to prepare a Performance-Based Design Brief. This will be provided on the acceptance of our fee proposal.

AIBS: Handbook- Performance solution process

This non-mandatory Handbook guides applying the requirements introduced into the NCC with Amendment 1 of NCC 2019, specifically clause A2.2(4).

It will assist a range of stakeholders with the application of the performance-based NCC and the process for developing Performance Solutions.