The NCC divides buildings into ‘classes’ which generally reflect their different occupancy and risk profile. The design and construction requirements for commercial buildings are set out in NCC 2019 Volume One and covers Class 2-9 buildings, which include multi-residential buildings, public buildings, shops, cafes and restaurants, offices and institutional buildings, such as hospitals and aged care facilities.
The requirements for commercial buildings are significantly different to those for houses, with two of the biggest differences relating to fire safety requirements and access requirements for someone with a disability.
With regards to fire safety, this includes requirements for compartmentation within buildings and separation requirements between buildings, width of paths of egress and travel distances. It also includes both active (sprinklers, smoke detection and suppression) and passive fire safety systems, such as for non-combustibility and FRL’s for external walls, as well fire hazard property requirements for internal linings.
These all have a significant bearing on the building design and the allowable materials that can be used.
The other major difference for commercial buildings in comparison to residential buildings is for providing access for people with a disability. Generally, for most commercial buildings the NCC requires that access be provided to all areas of the building used by its occupants, including for access to, and within, the building as well as its facilities.
Therefore, if working on commercial buildings it is imperative to ensure you have a good understanding of these requirements, and not just assume the same requirements apply as they do for residential buildings.