Peer reviews to Building Code of Australia
Equal Access Pty Ltd have extended our range of services offered to include ‘peer reviews’. Peer reviews can be undertaken on reports prepared by other consultancies, including desktop design reviews, Alternative Solutions, ‘Expert’ opinions, or Professional Opinions.
The benefit of a peer review is to ensure compliance, mitigate risk, improve quality and consider other possible options.
What are Alternative Solutions
Alternative Solutions are one method of achieving compliance with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and Disability (Access to Premises-Buildings) Standards 2010 (Premises Standards)
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.
The BCA and the Premises Standards allow the use of an Alternative Solution that meets the relevant Performance Requirements, where a prescriptive, Deemed-to-Satisfy approach is not desirable, achievable or where an Alternative Solution provides a better outcome.
Alternative Solutions offer the chance to be innovative in the approach to compliance, but any proposed Alternative Solution must be assessed for compliance against the specific Performance Requirement.
Expert Judgement and Alternative Solutions
We believe that as experienced, trusted and Accredited Access Consultants that we have ‘expertise’, but our view is that reliance on this expertise alone to develop an Alternative Solution is not sufficient.
The Australian Building Codes Board states that “If an Alternative Solution is chosen, the practitioner must ensure that an Assessment Method is chosen which satisfactorily indicates that the Alternative Solution will meet the relevant Performance Requirements. The nature of the Assessment Method will vary depending on the complexity of the Alternative Solution.”
The Access to Premises Standards also states that to achieve compliance with the relevant Performance Requirements that the ‘Alternative Solution’ must be ‘comparable ‘to the ‘Deemed-to-Satisfy’ provisions.
We understand that the requirements to comply with Part A0 of the BCA when developing an Alternative Solution may not be the realm of all access consultants without a sound knowledge of how compliance with the Performance Requirements can be achieved, and the available assessment methods to determine if any proposed building solution complies.
Alternative Solution Peer Reviews
Equal Access Pty Ltd has identified a need in the marketplace for such a service and are perfectly positioned and resourced to provide peer review reports. We have already recently been involved in projects having been engaged to review reports prepared by other access consultants to determine if compliance has been achieved.
More risk adverse clients, building surveyors and other stakeholder will benefit greatly from a peer review to determine and verify compliance. There is always the chance that an Alternative Solution assessed against an access related Performance Requirement could be challenged in the future under the Disability Discrimination Act and having the document peer reviewed will help reduce risk.
There could also be times when the Authority, Council, Client or Relevant Building Surveyor / Building Certifier has some concerns over the content of the Alternative Solution report. Or, they have concerns over the level of experience and competency of person who prepared the report.
A peer review of such a report would act as a mechanism to ensure compliance, thus mitigating risk for the project team and protecting PI insurance.
Who Will Complete Your Peer Review?
Your peer review will be conducted by a dedicated team of disability access consultants who collectively have:
- Membership to various industry associations
- Accredited Membership of the Association of Consultants in Access Australia
- Qualifications in building surveying, civil engineering, architectural design and risk management
- Registration as Building Practitioners
- Post graduate qualifications in performance based building and fire codes
You can view Equal Access Pty Ltd staff profiles here