Free Resource: Australian Structural Engineering Codes and Standards

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Your boss can probably recite the number for every structural engineering standard to you by heart whenever you ask, but if you're just starting your career, or have just moved to Australia - or just simply want to know whether your current standard revision includes the latest amendments - there are few consolidated sources to look at. At ClearCalcs, we're constantly keeping ourselves up-to-date on the most recent Australian Standards relevant to structural engineering design out there, so we'll provide you with that reference here.

The legally-binding document in structural engineering design is the National Construction Code (NCC), formerly known as the Building Code of Australia (BCA). While this document is routinely adopted nationwide, legally it's adopted individually by every state and territory government. As of 1 May 2019, the new NCC 2019 is legally current and binding for all design in every state and territory except for ACT, where NCC 2016 will still govern until 1 September 2019. There is a little bit of complication this year, however, in that there are new energy efficiency standards that are on a one-year delay until they're effective, so specifically for those provisions, you should still reference the NCC 2016 no matter what state or territory you're in.

The NCC is divided into three volumes, based upon building class. The Australian Building Code Board (ABCB) has published a quick cheat sheet, but in general, class 1 is isolated residential houses, class 10 is non-habitable structures, and class 2 through 9 are various commercial, industrial, and public structures. Usually, this means that you'll use Volume Two for suburban and rural residential construction, and Volume One for everything else. The NCC is available for free (after free registration), and may be either downloaded as a PDF file, or viewed online:

NCC Component Description Link to Standard
NCC 2019 Volume One Class 2 through 9 Structures View, Save PDF
NCC 2019 Volume Two Class 1 and 10 Structures View, Save PDF
NCC 2019 Volume Three Drainage and Plumbing View, Save PDF
NCC 2019 Guide to Volume One Commentary on Volume One Save PDF
NCC 2016 Volume One (+A1) Class 2 through 9 Structures View, Save PDF
NCC 2016 Volume Two Class 1 and 10 Structures View, Save PDF
NCC 2016 Volume Three Drainage and Plumbing View, Save PDF
NCC 2016 Guide to Volume One Commentary on Volume One Save PDF

It is the NCC which outlines the acceptable design methodologies, particularly for performance-based versus deemed-to-satisfy designs. Most structural design is done via deemed-to-satisfy provisions, and all those Australian Standards sitting in your office library should be listed as deemed-to-satisfy in the NCC. Note that the NCC will specify a minimum revision year for each Australian Standard that you must use, though you are generally allowed (and encouraged) to use newer revisions if available.

Below you'll find a table of the most important Australian Standards for structural design, as well as links to the standard itself and any commentaries. We've noted that a number of standards are shared between Australia and New Zealand, so while SAI Global still holds a monopoly on sales of Australian Standards, if the exact same document is also a New Zealand Standard, then there's no reason that you can't alternatively purchase that standard from the New Zealand government's website.

Standard Latest Revision Description Links to Standard Links to Commentary
1170.0-2002(+A5) (AS/NZS) 2011 (A5) Load Cases SAI Global, NZ Gov SAI Global, NZ Gov
1170.1-2002(+A2) (AS/NZS) 2009 (A2) Permanent & Imposed Loads SAI Global, NZ Gov SAI Global, NZ Gov
1170.2-2011(+A5) (AS/NZS) 2017 (A5) Wind Loads SAI Global, NZ Gov (included)
1170.3-2003(+A2) (AS/NZS) 2017 (A2) Snow & Ice Loads SAI Global, NZ Gov SAI Global, NZ Gov
1170.4-2007(+A2) (AS) 2018 (A2) Earthquake Loads SAI Global SAI Global
1684.1 (AS) - superseded by AS 1720.3 Timber Residential Design
1720.1-2011(+A3) (AS) 2015 (A3) Timber Design (general) SAI Global (none)
1720.3-2016 (AS) 2016 Timber Residential Design SAI Global (none)
3600-2018(+A1) (AS) 2018 (A1) Concrete Design SAI Global (none)
3700-2018(+A1) (AS) 2018 Masonry Design SAI Global SAI Global
4100-1998(+A1) (AS) 2012 (A1) Steel Design SAI Global SAI Global
4600-2018 (AS/NZS) 2018 Cold-Formed Steel Design SAI Global, NZ Gov (last updated in 1998)

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