7 Home Building Regulations You Must Know

Building regulations and codes are designed to minimise the dangers around a home. In this article we’ll look at some of the more common home regulations, from hiring fencing contractors to install a pool fence to installing smoke detectors, balcony handrails and more.

Pool fences

If you have a backyard swimming pool, whether above-ground or in-ground, you’re required by law to have a pool fence surrounding it. This is to prevent the tragedy of child drownings which often result when unsupervised children approach the pool, unaware of the dangers, and fall in. Pool fences also must be completely secured to ensure children cannot slip through the rails, or creep underneath the bottom of the fence.

Smoke detectors

Between the years 2000 and 2005, a study found that up to half of the 144 deaths resulting from house fires in the state of NSW could have been prevented if smoke detectors were installed. Around Australia, smoke detectors are now required by law in any location where people may sleep. You should also ensure the batteries in these devices are replaced regularly to ensure they are in good working order should a fire occur.

Balcony handrails

The dangers of balconies are obvious; since they are generally located high off the ground, an unexpected fall could result in terrible injury or death. If you have a balcony that’s higher than one metre above ground level, that balcony must have a handrail of no less than one metre in height to help prevent balcony falls. Additionally, the openings between the vertical rails of the handrail must not have a gap that would allow a 12.5cm round ball to pass through.

Colorbond roofing sarking

Just like Colorbond fencing , Colorbond roofs are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to tiled roofs due to ease of installation, lightweightness and aesthetic value. However, condensation can form on Colorbond roof sheeting when it becomes colder than the air around it, which can lead to water damage to ceilings. As a result, wood panels — referred to in the industry as ‘sarking’ — need to be installed underneath the roof as a vapour barrier.

Stair landings

If you live in a two-storey (or more) home, or if you have a flight of stairs leading from your home to your yard, you’ll be required to install landings for every 18 risers to minimise the impact of a stair fall. Bear in mind that the limit of risers before a landing is required may differ depending on your state. Furthermore, an additional element of stair safety is that all stairs must have a slip-resistant finish or “stair tread” located on the edge to help prevent slips.

Toughened glass

If your building is located in a region that is classified as a high-wind area, toughened glass needs to be used in all windows. This is to prevent the dangers associated with flying projectiles from trees and surrounding objects in the event of cyclonic winds. Toughened glass, otherwise known as ‘tempered glass’, will break into small, granular chunks instead of large, sharp shards like regular glass would in the event of a window smashing.