Safe Movement And Access - TAFE NSW

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Safe movement and accessSafe movement and access to and within a building are a necessary requirement for healthand amenity. Reference to the BCA is the most effective means of collecting information onconstruction methods relating to safe movement and access. Practically, this relates tosafety from falling, and access to swimming pools. The objective of the BCA in providingperformance provisions relating to safe movement and access is to:a) provide safe access to and within a building for all persons,b) protect children from injury or drowning in a swimming pool, andc) protect people from injury from a swimming pool water recirculation system.Read the Performance Requirements for safe movement and access in Volume 2 of theBCA, Clauses P2.5.1 to P2.5.4.Acceptable construction practice for Safe Movement and Access is covered in the BCA infour sections: stair construction barriers and handrails swimming pool access swimming pool water reticulation systemsin Part 3.9.Stair constructionStairs can be defined as a series of steps, with or without landings, that forms a stairway andprovides access on foot from one storey or level in a building or structure to another. Astairway is a way up by means of a sloping, stepped structure leading from one storey orlevel to another above or below, and including landings, newel posts, handrails andbalustrades.Staircase terms baluster - a vertical member supporting a handrail and forming part of thebalustrade. balustrade - a series of balusters supporting a handrail at the open side of the stair,ramp, elevated platform, landing, balcony or the like.Topic 1.8 Safe movement and access CPCCBS6001 Ed 1 New South Wales Technical and Further Education Commission, 2015 (TAFE NSW – WSI)1

riser - the vertical or inclined face of a step in a stair flight. going - the horizontal distance from the face of one riser to that of the next,measured on the walking line. tread - the horizontal upper surface of a step in a stair on which the foot is placed. landing - a level platform at the top of, or in between two flights of stairs. newel post - a post at the top and bottom of a stair flight, or at a point of change ofdirection, to support the ends of the handrail, balustrade, and outer string. nosing - a semi-circular or rounded projecting part of the stair tread. handrail - a horizontal or sloping rail which forms a safety rail to guard the side of astairway, walkway, landing or the like. Handrails form the top of the balustrade. winders - a triangular or wedge shaped tread of a step used in winding, curved orangled stairs to change the direction of the stair. string - an inclined timber member supporting the treads and risers.Basic stair construction2Topic 1.8 Safe movement and access CPCCBS6001 Ed 1 New South Wales Technical and Further Education Commission, 2015 (TAFE NSW – WSI)

A typical stair construction detailBCA RequirementsThe deemed to satisfy requirements for stair construction depend upon whether the stairsserve habitable or non-habitable rooms. Stairs which serve non-habitable rooms may usethe BCA acceptable construction practices or AS 1657 Fixed platforms, walkways, stairwaysand ladders — Design, construction and installation.Part 3.9 of the BCA focuses on safe movement and access in buildings, in particular, parts3.9.1 - Stair Construction and 3.9.2 – Barriers and Handrails. It is a very important that youread and become familiar with these parts of the BCA.Topic 1.8 Safe movement and access CPCCBS6001 Ed 1 New South Wales Technical and Further Education Commission, 2015 (TAFE NSW – WSI)3

Part 3.9.1.3 focuses primarily on the requirements for stair construction. Generally thelimitations relate to dimensional sizes or methods of construction. For example: limit of no more than 18 and no less than 2 risers, treads must be of solid construction if more than 10 meters high or connecting morethan three storeys, goings and risers must be of consistent dimensions through the flight, the riser must not allow a 125mm sphere to pass through between treads, have a limit of 3 winders in lieu of each quarter landing or 6 winders in lieu of eachhalf landing, treads must have a slip resistant finish, and have requirements for landings as specified.When a staircase is designed for a domestic building, careful consideration must be given tothe correct ratio of riser to going (or in other words the inclination of the flight of stairs). If therisers are too large the stairs will be too steep and if the going is too small a person won't beable to fit their foot on the tread.Part 3.9.1.4 of the BCA lays down specific dimensional requirements for the construction ofstairs which must be adhered to.Figure 3.9.1.2 from the BCA Volume 24Topic 1.8 Safe movement and access CPCCBS6001 Ed 1 New South Wales Technical and Further Education Commission, 2015 (TAFE NSW – WSI)

Angle of inclinationThe angle of inclination of the flight must be comfortable and within the limits imposed by theBCA. The BCA states that the riser can be between 115 mm and 190 mm, and the goingbetween 240 and 355 mm for a stairway in a residential building. However the quantity ‘twicethe riser plus the going’ (2R G) must be not more than 700 mm and not less than 550 mm.The flight of a staircase must not be less than 2 risers, or more than 18 risers. If your flight ofstairs has more than 18 risers, then you must include a landing.For more information on stair construction, read Building Your Own Home, Section 64 Stairsand Entry, The Australian House Building Manual, Topic 6 Stair Construction, and Chapter14 Stairs & Balustrades in Acceptable Standards of Construction Class 1 & Class 10Buildings.Barriers and handrailsBarriers and handrails provide protection from falls or from access to swimming pools.Barriers are required to be provided where there is the possibility of falling: 1 m or more due to a sudden change in level such as through an opening in theexternal wall, from a roof, or from a floor, or from some other sudden change inheight associated with a building, 2 m or more from a floor through an openable window in a bedroom, or 4 m or more from a floor through any other openable window.Such barriers must be: continuous for the full extent of the hazard, of a height to protect people from falling, sturdy enough to prevent falls through the barrier, including from impact, and fromthe pressure of many people pressing against it, and able to prevent the passage of children.Topic 1.8 Safe movement and access CPCCBS6001 Ed 1 New South Wales Technical and Further Education Commission, 2015 (TAFE NSW – WSI)5

Where barriers are required for external stairsRestrictions on the size of openings to prevent children fallingSpecial consideration must also be given to wire balustrades which must be constructed inaccordance with part 3.9.2.3(f).The BCA describes DTS provisions for barriers and handrails in Part 3.9.2. Read this sectionvery carefully now and then answer the questions below.1. The rear entry to a building is 1.4 m above natural ground level. A concrete landingand stairs are provided to the door and one side of the stairway is bounded by the6Topic 1.8 Safe movement and access CPCCBS6001 Ed 1 New South Wales Technical and Further Education Commission, 2015 (TAFE NSW – WSI)

wall of the house; the other side falls to a garden bed. Is a barrier required to thelanding? Is a barrier required to the stairs?2. For the stair described in 1. provide the following details:a. The minimum height of the barrier above the stair tread levelb. The minimum height of the barrier on the landingc. The maximum size of any openings in and under the barriersd. Is a handrail required for the stairs?e. Is a handrail required for the landing?3. There have been several instances of children falling from windows in residentialbuildings. Briefly list the requirements for a window where the floor in the room is a).less than 2 m above the ground beneath, and b). 2.5 m above the ground beneath.4. Why are there special requirements for barriers constructed with wire systems?(answers at the end of the section)Swimming pool accessSwimming pool barriers are a topic of some contention due to the number of child drowningsthat occur every year in Australia.In NSW, the Swimming Pools Act 1992 and the Swimming Pools Regulation 2008,applicable to swimming pools with a depth of water of more than 300 mm, regulate thecircumstances in which a barrier is required. Safety barriers installed in accordance with AS1926 Swimming pool safety Part 1 Safety barriers for swimming pools and Part 2 Location ofsafety barriers for swimming pools fulfil the performance requirements of the BCA.Different regulations apply in different states and territories. In Queensland, restriction ofaccess to swimming pools is regulated under the Building Act, 1975. In Western Australia, itis the Building Act 2011 and the building Regulations 2012 that apply.You should read Part 3.9.3 of the BCA Volume 2.Swimming pool water reticulation systemsRead Part 3.9.4 of the BCA Volume 2.Topic 1.8 Safe movement and access CPCCBS6001 Ed 1 New South Wales Technical and Further Education Commission, 2015 (TAFE NSW – WSI)7

Answers to questions within this topic1. A continuous barrier must be provided along the side of the landing and stairwaywhere the height of the landing is more than 1.0 m above the ground level as is thecase with this example.2. For the stair in Q1,a. The height of the barrier must be not less than 865 mm above the stairtreads,b. The height of the barrier on the landing must be not less than 1 m above thefloor of the landing,c. The maximum size of any openings must not allow a sphere of 125 mm topass through it,d. A handrail is required for the stairs on at least one side of the flight,e. A handrail is not required for the landing.3. A window opening must be provided with protection if the floor below the window in abedroom is 2 m or more above the surface beneath.a. Where the floor level below an openable window is less than 2 m there are nospecific requirements,b. Where the floor level below an openable window is more than 2 m above thesurface beneath, then the windows are required to be able to restrict thepassage of a 125 mm sphere, and resist a horizontal outward force of 250N,using a device or a screen. When a child-resistant release mechanism is tobe used for a screen, a barrier not less than 865 mm high is required to thewindow with no horizontal elements that can facilitate climbing. If theopenable part of the window is at least 1.7 m above the floor, no furtherprotection is required.4. There are specific requirements for tension of wire systems used as barriers, and formaximum deflection, because of the ability of tensioned wire to relax over time, andbecause there is the ability of wires to deflect; hence, in order to meet therequirements of restricting the passage of a 125 mm sphere, and maintaining theability to prevent falls, wire barriers must meet the requirements detailed in Part3.9.2.3.8Topic 1.8 Safe movement and access CPCCBS6001 Ed 1 New South Wales Technical and Further Education Commission, 2015 (TAFE NSW – WSI)

the BCA acceptable construction practices or AS 1657 Fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders — Design, construction and installation. Part 3.9of the BCA focuses on safe movement and access in buildings, in particular, parts 3.9.1 - Stair Construction and 3.9.2

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