New Model Guidance for Building Manuals


New Model Guidance for Building Manuals Issued by Australian Building Codes Board

The Australian Building Codes Board has developed a new Model Guidance for Building Manuals. This guidance is a national model for building manuals defining the minimum building manual information requirements.

The aim is to ensure building manual information is accurate and complete prior to the issuing of an occupancy approval. As a model, this guidance does not have any force until adopted by State and Territory jurisdictions as part of their building regulations.

The Model Guidance is in response to the Building Confidence Report, Recommendation 20. The BCR states “that each jurisdiction requires that there be a comprehensive building manual for commercial buildings that should be lodged with the building owners and made available to successive purchasers of the buildings”.

The Model Guidance identifies that ‘lack of building documentation reduces transparency, accountability, and knowledge required to understand the design assumptions, building solutions, and key safety and maintenance obligations’.

The Model identifies the following key principles for building manuals:

  1. All documentation relating to a building’s design and approval is available to building owners to inform ongoing building management and maintenance
  2. Building manual information is compiled and checked by the statutory building surveyor as part of the building approval process prior to issuing an occupancy approval
  3. Practitioners that contribute building manual information are responsible for its accuracy and completeness
  4. Owners and relevant government agencies have access to building manual information for the life of a building
  5. Government undertakes compliance monitoring, auditing, and enforcement of building manual information and maintenance activities
  6. Governments provide information and education on the use of building manual information and the need for ongoing building maintenance

Below is a summary of the minimum content (ref Table 1 and 2 in the Model Guidance)

Standard information – Provides information about building manual information and owner’s obligations

Building and site details – Provides information about the site and design of the building

Site constraints – Provides information about site constraints whether environmental or legal. The name of the person providing the rating or status of information should be included for regulatory purposes

Developer and practitioner details – Provide details of developer and practitioners involved in the building’s design, construction, and approval

Maintenance and operation – Provide details of maintenance and operation requirements ( includes testing and maintenance schedule of all statutory, non-statutory, and performance measures requiring maintenance and inspection)

Building design – Provides information about the building’s design (including complete construction drawings, building approvals, project product register declarations of design compliance, final report for each Performance Solution used in the building

Compliance – Provide information about compliance (including NCC Performance Requirement checklist, Building approval, any linked conditions, Occupancy approval, or final certificate)

Commissioning –Provide details of commissioning (including Information required prior to building occupation, Building practitioner who carried out commissioning, etc)

Note: Maintenance records and Annual Maintenance statement are not required in the Building Manual prior to Occupancy Certificate

The process to produce all this information is complex. The sources of the information are many, from developers, designers, contractors, subcontractors, and certifiers. Add the additional requirements for Product Safety Information (see separate article) and the Building Manual is to become a very important and critical document to meet future Government regulations.

While not as yet legislated it would be wise to consider these issues for your current and planned projects.

The Australian Building Manual Guideline developed jointly by Engineers Australia, Strata Communities Australia, and WebFM addresses all the above criteria in a simple and easy-to-deliver process.

If you would like to learn more about how to streamline and simplify the development of compliant and fully digital Building Manuals contact WebFM to discuss our Omtrak solution.