Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Some info on Planning & Building regulations

A bit of info on planning controls:

If you have a look at the Central Sydney Floor Space Ratio Map, you will discover the area around our site has a Floor Space Ratio of 7.5:1. To find out what this means look for the definition of Floor Space Ratio in the Schedules and dictionary section of the Local Environmental Plan to which this map is attached. Essentially it means the maximum internal floor space you can propose is 7.5 times the site area, but do read the definition.

If you look at the Central Sydney Height Map you will discover that the maximum height on your site is 50 meters. You will also need to look at the definitions again to find out how to measure this height (from what, too what, and what exclusions there might be). 50m is tall. If you were to allow for ceiling heights of 2.7m, ceiling space of 300-400mm for services and say 200mm floor thickness (lets assume beams can intrude into the ceiling space), then you could fit a building that is 15 stories high! For comparison purposes, the building to the North is supposed to be 43.7m high (or 45.7, my info is blurry) and the ridge height of the building to the south is supposed to be 24.5m (this is much taller than this building looks to me. I hope someone is obtain an elevation of Sussex St, and the side elevations of neighboring buildings facing the site.

I think its unlikely any of you will propose a building of this height. One very good reason is the Building Code of Australia, which you can access online at the UTS library (login required)

Here are some important bits:

Clause D1.2 of Volume 1 of the BCA
D1.2 Number of exits required
(a) All buildings — Every building must have at least one exit from each storey.
(b) Class 2 to 8 buildings — In addition to any horizontal exit, not less than 2 exits must be provided from the following:
(i) Each storey if the building has an effective height of more than 25 m.

You will find it very difficult to fit 2 exits on your site, therefore, I think its likely you'll need to keep your building to the Effective Height of 25m. You need to go to the definitions part of the BCA to understand what an Effective Height is, because it is not the height of the building. To quote:
Effective height means the height to the floor of the topmost storey (excluding the topmost storey if it contains only heating, ventilating, lift or other equipment, water tanks or similar service units) from the floor of the lowest storey providing direct egress to a road or open space.

To understand the dimensional requirements of stairs, look at your helpful BCA again, Clause D2.13. I'd suggest you read it cause you'll need to just know this stuff for the rest of your career.

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