Building Codes Queensland (BCQ) has published a new Queensland Development Code (QDC) part for construction of buildings in flood hazard areas. QDC Mandatory Part 3.5 – Construction of buildings in flood hazard areas commenced on 26 October 2012.
BCQ has developed guidelines (PDF, 55KB) to accompany the new QDC part.
Background and consultation
In 2011, the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) developed a draft national Standard for the construction of buildings in flood hazard areas (draft Standard). The ABCB developed the draft Standard and an accompanying Information Handbook with the assistance of a reference group made up of representatives of state and local governments, the building and engineering industries and flood and hydrology experts. The draft Standard provides specific performance requirements and deemed-to-satisfy provisions for the design and construction of buildings in designated flood hazard areas.
BCQ through Building and Plumbing Newsflash 474 (issued on 26 July 2011) sought comment on early adoption in Queensland of the draft Standard. BCQ also met with representatives of the Building Industry Consultative Group (BICG) to discuss the proposal and consultation results. The BICG includes members of a wide range of key building industry organisations and the Local Government Association of Queensland. BCQ also received submissions from a number of other stakeholders during the consultation process.
Following the initial consultation period, BCQ developed a draft Queensland Development Code (QDC) to adopt the draft Standard into building law in Queensland. BCQ conducted further consultation on the draft QDC in late 2011 including teleconferences, face-to-face meetings with local governments, an out-of-session BICG meeting and participation in roadshows. A number of amendments were made to the draft QDC to ensure that it could be practical in its application. BCQ also took part in 'roadshows' to advise building practitioners and local governments of the draft QDC requirements.
Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry
On 16 March 2012, the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry (the Commission) delivered its Final Report into the 2010-11 floods. The Final Report contained recommendations covering a broad range of matters including management of Wivenhoe Dam, floodplain management, planning issues, performance of private insurers and management of abandoned and operational mines. It also recommended that further public consultation be conducted on the draft QDC.
On 7 June 2012, the Premier tabled in Parliament the Queensland Government response to the Final Report. As part of its response to the Commission's Final Report, the Queensland Government formed five groups to implement the recommendations. The Building Implementation Group was established to oversee implementation of recommendations from chapters 9 and 10 of the Final Report and is chaired by the Director-General of the Department of Housing and Public Works.
The Queensland Government's response included a commitment to revising the draft QDC to reflect the Commission's recommendations with a focus on providing further practical flexibility in the application of the code. In addition, the government committed to undertaking community and industry consultation on the revised draft QDC.
Consequently, the new QDC part will apply to building work in a practical way where a local government has designated a flood hazard area and declared a defined flood level. It also allows local governments to declare further information such as maximum flow velocity of water and inactive flow or backwater areas. The Building Regulation 2006 also gives flexibility for building applicants to use information that varies from the information declared by the local government.
Making a designation of a natural flood hazard area (floods) prior to adoption of the new State Planning Policy—Interim policy for mitigating the adverse impacts of floods
The State Planning Policy 1/03: Mitigating the adverse impacts of flood, bushfire and landside (SPP 1/03) expired on 1 September 2013.
The Building Regulation 2006 has been amended to assist local governments wanting to make a designation of a natural flood hazard area (flood) under section 13(1)(a) of the Building Regulation 2006 for the purpose of triggering the Queensland Development Code (QDC) Mandatory Part 3.5—Construction of buildings in flood hazard areas
Under section 13(2) of the BR a local government is now required to comply with the Interim policy for mitigating the adverse impacts of floods (PDF, 104KB). This interim policy reflects the same position policy as the expired SPP1/03 and will help ensure consistency until the new single State Planning Policy is adopted.
The Department of Housing and Public Works is working closely with the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning. Further amendments to the Building Regulation 2006 to coincide with the proposed adoption of the new single State Planning Policy are expected to be made later this year.