Ep3. The Block Handbook – Have you ever read the Building Code of Australia? I have. More than once.

Low ceiling, example of why the BCA matters on The Block

Low ceiling example of why the BCA matters on The Block

Have you ever read the Building Code of Australia?

I have, on more than one occasion, and I can tell you its a wonder I am not brain dead.

I do this stuff for work by the way, not fun.  I’m really more a GoT fantasy fiction reader but since getting a iPad mini, I wouldn’t share my Library with anyone.  It’s full of more dubious content with even more dubious cover art.

However as the Cousins  floor height stuff up in episode 3 of The Block, Triple Threat highlighted, you need to know the basics of the BCA off the top of your head.

if you are going anywhere near renovation or home improvement jobs.  I will learn their names, if they are not eliminated and I don’t think they will be.

Example of a window less room, why the BCA matters on The Block.

Example of a window less room; why the BCA matters on The Block.

Now because it is the BCA there are caveats and conditions on the items below but – generally – here is what sheBuilds thinks you need to know:

Habitable Room – any room used for normal domestic activities, bedrooms, lounge rooms and other dodgy ones you may try to get away with like “music room”, “sewing room”, “study”, “man cave”.

But – rooms like laundries, bathrooms, WC’s, pantry, corridor, walk in robe etc are all excluded because they are of a specialised nature and you basically don’t hang out in them.  (PS the BCA doesn’t endorse the use of the term ‘hang out’.)

Class 1a – The majority of buildings you would be calling home or investing in are referred to as a Class 1a building.  So that means most likely a single house or a semi detached home like a row or terrace, town house or villa unit.

Class 2 – is likely to be the only other one you may fall into; is like a battleaxe block with two separate, single occupancy units.

Have I lost you yet?  

Probably, but for those of you brave enough to venture on here is the real regulatory porn you have been after.

Room Sizes:  why do we care?  Basically its about keeping the occupants safe from injury and to ensure you enjoy and can use the space, it generally falls under Part 2.4 Health and Amenity.

The main provisions are:

  • 2400mm (or 2.4m if you read measurements like I do) is the required height in a habitable space
  • 2100mm (or 2.1m) for areas like kitchens, halls and corridors

You also need to ensure that each habitable room:

  • Has openings to let in natural light (commonly called windows)
  • Has artificial light (to use at night)
  • Sound insulation (your neighbours should not be disturbed by your nocturnal habits or if you are anything like me crying children in the middle of the night, I’m not doing anything they just cry when I keep trying to put them back in their own beds)
  • Keep things dry and prevent overflows and leaks (usually this is your floor waste)
  • Have a:
    • Dunny (outhouse, loo,  mummy’s room for quiet time)
    • Food preparation area (commonly called a kitchen)
    • Laundering facilities (the dumping ground that mum will fix up – eventually)
water leak, no floor waste, why the BCA matters on The Block

Water leak, no floor waste; why the BCA matters on The Block

Please don’t write to tell me I left something out and the Surveyor is onto you.  There is a whole lot more.

Hit me up if you have any questions or want to know if something would be allowed,  I’ll do my best to answer it.

Til Episode 4 of The Block, Triple Threat, seeya Blockheads.

About Suzanne Commerford

Suzanne has stepped out from behind the desk of Australia's largest home inspection business to build the skills, confidence and independence of women to tackle maintenance and home improvement projects around the home.

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