The following building requirements only cover Class 1b shared accommodation buildings (not including short-term holiday accommodation).
Shared accommodation buildings that do not comply with the Class 1b requirements would most likely be classified as a Class 3 building.
Class 3 buildings have their own specific regulatory requirements; for example, fire separation, exits and fire fighting equipment.
It is recommended that you liaise with a building surveyor in the early design stages of your project.
The National Construction Code (NCC) defines Class 1 buildings as:
Class 1a is one or more buildings, which together form a single dwelling including the following:
(a) a detached house; or
(b) one of a group of two or more attached dwellings, each being a building, separated by a fire resisting wall, including a row house, terrace house, town house or villa unit.
Class 1b is one of more buildings which together constitute:
(a) a boarding house, guest house, hostel or the like that;
(I) would ordinarily accommodate not more than 12 people; or
(ii) have a total area of all floors not more than 300m2 (Measured over the enclosed walls of the building or buildings); or
(b) for or more single dwellings located on one allotment and used for short term holiday accommodation.
Council considers that a Class 1a building is occupied by one family, without regard to the number of occupiers.
In addition to the NCC definition above, Council considers a Class 1b building to be:
- A building that accommodates or is intended to accommodate, on payment of rent, between 2 and 12 people and any of the people being or intended to be accommodated are non-family related and they do not share other verifiable close relationship among them; or
- Where individual or joint residents occupy a room or rooms on payment of rent to the exclusion of any other occupier(s); or
- Council determines that between 2 and 12 unrelated people are being accommodated or are intended to be accommodated, on payment of rent, based on inspection of the building and any other reliable evidence.
A building permit is required:
- for the construction of a new Class 1b building/s or
- for changing the Class of an existing building to a Class 1b building use.
Building permits are issued by Registered Building Surveyors once the building permit is issued and the final inspection is approved, an Occupancy Permit is issued. The Occupancy Permit and Schedule of Essential Safety Measures must always be displayed in front foyer in the building. The Essential Safety Measures are to be maintained as per the frequency nominated in the schedule.
Change of Class
Typically Class 1a dwellings are converted (change of class and use) into Class 1b buildings to provide shared accommodation. The building regulations require that any building changing its class and use must comply with current Building Regulations, the Disability (Access to Premises - Building) Standards 2010 and the National Construction Code (NCC).
These regulations allow a Building Surveyor to check the level of compliance with current building legislation. In determining the level of compliance the Building Surveyor must have regard to the health, safety and amenity of the occupants of the building.
When issuing a building permit for a change of class to a Class 1b the Building Surveyor will have considered the following elements:
- Glazing (glazing for human impact);
- Fire Safety (smoke alarms and emergency lighting, fire separation of the building from the boundaries and other buildings, fire blankets and fire extinguishers);
- Natural Lighting and Ventilation (natural lighting and ventilation to bed rooms and living spaces to comply with NCC requirements);
- Construction of 1 Accessible bedroom and an Accessible toilet and shower as per Australian Standard 1428.1 - 2009;
- Accessible access to the building as per Australian Standard 1428.1 - 2009;
- Energy Efficiency (generally the provision of wall and ceiling insulation and draught sealing)
Disability (Access to Premises - Buildings) Standards 2010
The Premises Standards require access and associated facilities are provided to share accommodation buildings for people with a disability in accordance with the following:
Class of Building
New Class 1b shared accommodation building
* An existing shared accommodation building with 4 or more bedrooms.
To & within –
1 bedroom & associated sanitary facilities; and
not less than 1 of each type of room or space for use in common by the residents or guests, including a cooking facility, sauna, gymnasium, swimming pool, laundry, games room, eating area, or the like; and
rooms or spaces for use in common by all residents on a floor to which access by way of a ramp complying with AS 1428.1 or a passenger lift is provided.
*This is not a retrospective requirement; the need to provide access and facilities into an existing building is triggered by the issue of a building permit. For example, the premises standards will apply when a building permit is issued to convert an existing house into a shared accommodation building or an existing accommodation building with 4 or more bedrooms.
It is recommended that you liaise with your building surveyor in the early design stages of your project.
Note - A building surveyor does not have any discretion over the premises standards.
Occupation of outbuildings
Outbuildings are Class 10 buildings. A building permit for a change of use is required if it is proposed to convert a Class 10 building (private garage, carport, shed or the like) into habitable accommodation. Refer to paragraph regarding change of class.
Requirements – smoke alarms & evacuation lighting
Smoke alarms must be installed in Class 1b buildings and be connected to the consumer mains power where consumer power is supplied to the building using the Australian Standard 3786 -2014.
Smoke alarms must be installed in every bedroom; and in every corridor or hallway associated with a bedroom, or if there is no corridor or hallway, in an area between the bedrooms and the remainder of the building; and on each other storey.
Emergency lighting must be installed to assist evacuation of occupants in the event of a fire and be activated by the smoke alarm. The Emergency light can be incorporated within the smoke alarm or an Emergency light fitting connected to the smoke alarm.
The owner must maintain both the smoke alarms and the emergency lighting as per the frequency of the Occupancy Permit schedule.
Maintenance of exits by occupiers of building
The owner of a Class 1b must ensure that:
(a) All exits; and
(b) Any paths of travel to exits; and
(c) Any paths of travel on the allotment from exits to a road – required to be provided in relation to that building or place are maintained in an efficient condition and kept readily accessible, functional and clear of obstruction so that egress from the building or place is maintained.
Note - Deadlocks are prohibited on bedroom doors and required exit doors that lead out of the building.
Public Health Regulatory requirements
Any premises where four (4) or more persons are accommodated for a fee or reward other than the family of the proprietor is deemed to be Prescribed Accommodation (rooming house) and is required to be registered under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.
Other classes of Prescribed Accommodation include residential accommodation, hotels, motels, hostels, student dormitories and holiday camps. These premises are also required to be registered.
Application for registration
An online application can be made by visiting Council’s website.
Pre-application form for new Prescribed Accommodation Premises
The application includes the submission of a pre-application form and a floor plan of the premises drawn to scale of not less than 1:100 and showing the proposed use of each room, number of bedrooms, the size of each room and number of bathrooms. A fee is also applicable.
Once your premises is registered it will:
- be inspected annually to ensure the accommodation complies with the Public Health and Wellbeing (Prescribed Accommodation) Regulations 2020.
- renewed annually on 1 January each year.
Failure to register a rooming house
Under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, failure to register a prescribed accommodation with their municipal Council may result in a penalty of 4 penalty units for an individual and 10 penalty units for a body corporate.