top of page

Deemed to Satisfy vs. Performance Solution

Fire engineers, in a nutshell, are most well known for obtaining approval for Performance Solutions from the relevant fire authority and the appointed Building Certifier. What is a Performance Solution though?

Deemed to Satisfy Compliance

Rules of fire engineering

Complying with the National Construction Code (NCC) in its most basic form means the design complies with the Performance Requirements of the NCC's respective sections. An example of NCC Performance Requirements are highlighted below.

Fire engineering performance requirements
NCC Section E Performance Requirements Sample (Courtesy of The Australian Building Codes Board)

Performance Requirements seem quite broad in nature but that's exactly what they're supposed to be: overarching principles which govern how provisions are to be interpreted. To take some of the guess work out of designing purely based on Performance Requirements, the NCC includes "Deemed to Satisfy" provisions which are prescriptive clauses that tell you, the reader, exactly what to do to comply with the Performance Requirements.

The problem with Deemed to Satisfy (or DtS as it's better known) lies in the rigidity of requirements within each clause. An example is shown below.

Fire engineers egress clause
NCC DtS Clause D1.4 Extract (Courtesy of The Australian Building Codes Board)

This example states that particular types of buildings must have exits within a certain travel distance from any point on the floor space. Whilst the DtS provisions seek to provide a minimum benchmark for designs complying with the Performance Requirements, it may in some cases come as a tradeoff for building function and use.

The end result?

The slow and eventual death of architectural creative license

Performance Solutions

fire engineers ideas

Say you wanted to deviate from the DtS provisions but still comply with the Performance Requirements? Fire engineers are the people you'd likely want to talk to since they would assist in preparing what is called a "Performance Solution". The fundamental principle of a Performance Solution in layman terms:

Proving that the deviation from the DtS clause still satisfies the Performance Requirements.

This often takes the form of detailed analyses (qualitative or quantitative) by the fire engineer which compares the performance of the deviation against set criteria (known as an Acceptance Criteria).

Performance Solutions are documented by fire engineers in the Performance Based Design Brief (PBDB) and Fire Engineering Report (FER) with a methodology covered under the Australian Fire Engineering Guidelines (AFEG). The reports are reviewed by the relevant fire authority and the appointed building certifier as key stakeholders.

If approved, then you've successfully demonstrated that a deviation from the DtS provisions results in an equal or greater level of fire and life safety to the building and its occupants.

This is all part of a tailored service Adelaide Fire Engineers can provide to you and your project. Please get in touch if you'd like to learn more.


bottom of page