The unit introduces the student to the principles, methodology and scope of performance based building codes in light of Building Code of Australia, Australian Standards and State legislation (technical and administrative framework) and provides the student with an understanding of the structure of performance design and approval. The unit will also cover estimation of acceptance criteria based on performance requirements, introduction to quantitative risk assessment and expected risk to life (ERL) and fire cost expectation (FCE).

The unit introduces to legal issues, documentation, joint and several kinds of tortfeasor liability. An introduction to Bushfire Regulations will also be covered in addition to thorough life performance and maintenance of fire safety equipment; quality assurance and the building permit/inspection process. In this unit students will have the opportunity to critically analyse a fire engineering report in reference to the above codes.  

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:


VQB5641 - Fire Safety Systems Design

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Analyse and interpret performance-based building codes;  
  2. Report on the design, structure and performance of buildings  
  3. Interpret the legal, statutory and design integrity requirements;  
  4. Critically assess a performance-based fire safety solution document  
  5. Review compliance of design requirements throughout the operational life of a building.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Assignment Assignment: Legislation and regulations (800 words) 15%
Report Fire safety engineering approval and practice (1600 words) 35%
Examination Exam (3 hours, hurdle requirement) 50%
The examination requires students to critically evaluate and assess building reports, and is required by the Victorian Building Authority and the Australian Institute of Building as necessary for professional accreditation.

Required reading

In addition to the texts below, a very comprehensive set of course notes will be available for most topics. These course notes will contain further references and reading material.

Building code of Australia
Australian Building Codes Board (2017)
Australian Building Codes Board.

International fire engineering guidelines
Australian Building Codes Board (2005)
Australian Building Codes Board.

An introduction to fire dynamics 3rd ed.
Drysdale, D., (2011)
John Wiley and Sons, London.

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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