1 year part time
Online Real Time
Delivery mode: 
Online Real Time
Start date:
19 February 2024
Application due dates:
Direct applications are due on 11 February 2024 for our next intake which starts on 19 February 2024.


Our fully online Graduate Certificate in Performance-Based Building & Fire Codes will see you progress your career and improve your knowledge of building surveying and design and approval of performance-based building, in light of national and international fire codes.

Gain an in-depth understanding of key concepts and alternative frameworks for performance-based building in fire codes. Further your knowledge through the assessment of performance-based building design and application of fire codes that this course provides.

Develop your professional skills and approach to performance-based codes including an appreciation of legal, statutory and design integrity requirements, as well as the need for design compliance.

Commonwealth Supported Places in 2023

Fees are heavily subsidised and HECS-HELP loans available for eligible students in 2023. Apply now or register your interest - there's never been a better time to study!

VU’s Learning Hubs are welcoming spaces where you can improve your study and employability skills.

Our students can attend Learning Hubs at one of five VU campuses.

We offer maths, writing, careers and English-language advice and can show you effective ways to study and manage your time.

Our programs include:

  • workshops
  • drop-in sessions
  • peer mentoring
  • maths and writing resources
  • resume and career guidance.

We also have accessibility support services and counselling services available to all students.

Our campus libraries have photocopying, computing and printing facilities as well as electronic and print resources.

You'll also have access to a rich collection of online resources at any time of the day or night, including:

  • databases
  • e-learning content for courses
  • student email
  • student software packages
  • social networking tools.

On campus, we make sure that all of our students have access to digital resources. We offer:

Following the overwhelming success of the revolutionary VU Block Model with undergraduate students, we rolled out the Block Model to our postgraduate courses.

This course is delivered in eight-week mode, which means you study two units (subjects) at a time over eight weeks (or one unit at a time over eight weeks for part-time study), rather than juggling several units at once. And with its focused timetables and smaller, collaborative classes, VU’s Block Model gives you more time to connect with your peers, lecturers and industry partners, helping you to build strong professional networks.

The VU Block Model has improved our student results and engagement, and has won multiple international awards for innovation and excellence.


As a graduate of this course, you'll be in high demand in the building industry. Become an expert in the approval process for performance-based building design and become familiar with the design concepts for fire safety systems, occupant safety and environmental sustainability.

You'll be job-ready thanks to our practical approach to learning by industry-based lecturers.

Job titles

  • Unlimited Building Surveyor (additional requirement may be needed)

This course is specifically listed in the Building Regulations 2006 (S.R. No. 68/ 2006) - Regulation 113 as one of the prerequisites for a Relevant Building Surveyor (RBS) to determine that an alternative solution complies with a fire performance requirement of the Building Code of Australia (BCA). 

As a fire safety professional, you could gain employment in private business or the public sector, or work in the building industry. Many assessors and fire safety experts enjoy the benefits of self-employment and contracting.

Employment rates & salaries

Find salary and job prospect information for building surveyors on Labour Market Insights, the government job-data site.

Learn from the best

Our staff and associates include industry-expert professors from partners CSIRO, Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Victorian Building Authority and consulting engineering firm Umow Lai, Noel Arnolds and Associates, SKIP consulting, Scientific Fire Services and many more.

Course structure

To attain the Graduate Certificate in Performance-Based Building and Fire Codes, students will be required to complete 48 credit points, consisting of:

  • 48 credit points of Core studies.

Year 1, Semester 1

Year 1, Semester 2

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Implement professional performance-based building codes;  
  2. Evaluate the concepts and alternative acceptable frameworks for performance-based codes, with particular, but not exclusive, emphasis given to fire safety engineering design;  
  3. Deliberate appropriate knowledge and skills necessary for the assessment and application of performance-based building and fire codes;  
  4. Conceptualise the basic physics and chemistry governing ignition, fire growth and spread, smoke movement and fire extinguishment and structural behaviour during fire;  
  5. Implement relevant concepts concerning occupant communication and response in relation to fire cues;  
  6. Discuss basic fire safety engineering analysis through the use of assessment tools;  
  7. Create a professional approach to performance-based codes and a recognition of when to assess designs which are within a person's field of expertise and when to refer designs to a more appropriately qualified assessor;  
  8. Reflect upon an appreciation of the legal, statutory and design integrity requirements and the need for compliance of the design assumptions throughout the operational life of the building.  

What's a unit?

A unit or 'subject' is the actual class you'll attend in the process of completing a course.

Most courses have a mixture of compulsory 'core' units that you need to take and optional elective units that you can choose to take based on your area of interest, expertise or experience.


Each unit is worth a set amount of study credits based on the amount of time you study. Generally, 1 credit is equal to 1 hour of study per week.

Fees & scholarships

Fee type for this course: Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP), Full-fee

Fee type definitions

The amount you pay for your course depends on whether you’re offered a Commonwealth supported place (CSP) or a full fee-paying place.

Students who enrol in a:

In addition to your tuition fees, you may also be charged a Student Services & Amenities Fee (SSAF).

Scholarships & assistance

Apply for a scholarship to help with your study costs.

We can help with fee assistance and advice.

Admission & pathways

Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee you entry into this course. Some courses receive more applications than the number of places available. In this situation we will also assess your education, work and other relevant experience.

If you do not meet the minimum requirements you may be eligible for one of our special admission programs. We also encourage you to explore our study pathways to help you reach your goal.

Find out more about how to apply for our courses, and our commitment to admissions transparency.

Entry requirements

Completion of an Australian Bachelor degree (or equivalent) in a similar discipline
Completion of an Australian Bachelor degree (or equivalent) in any discipline
A minimum five (5) years approved work experience.

There are many ways you can start your education journey at VU. Pathways offer an easy transition between courses at different levels, so that you can start with a certificate and progress right through to postgraduate study.

Find out more about pathways and credits.

Use our credit calculator to find out how much credit you could get towards your course, based on your previous study.

If you have completed study with another university or institution and believe you are eligible to receive credit for skills and past study, you can apply for advanced standing.

Applications for advanced standing can be made after a discussion with your course chair or academic adviser.

Additional information

A letter of recommendation and an interview may be required.

How to apply

Available start dates:

  • 19 February 2024

Before you apply

Before applying, you should consider whether you also want to apply for:

  • Special admission programs: Depending on your life circumstances you may be eligible for special consideration of your application.
  • Advanced standing: If you have significant experience or studies elsewhere you may be eligible for credit for some units of your course and not have to undertake them.

Find out more about applying for our courses.

Apply direct to VU

Direct applications are due on 11 February 2024 for our next intake which starts on 19 February 2024.

Apply direct to VU

Already a VU student?

If you are already a VU student, apply direct to VU using our Admissions centre to transfer into this course. Remember it’s best to be accepted into your new course before withdrawing from your current one.

After you apply

  • It’s important to check for emails from us (which may go to your spam/junk folder).
  • Complete any requests for information by the given dates, otherwise your application may not be considered

Enquire now

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