Building classes

The Building Code of Australia (BCA) is a national code, produced and maintained by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB). The BCA is Volume One and Volume Two of the National Construction Code (NCC).

The NCC provides a uniform set of technical provisions for the design and construction of buildings and other structures throughout Australia.  Buildings classifications are determined in accordance with the Governing Requirements of the NCC.

Each part of a building must be classified and comply with all appropriate requirements for its classification.

The NCC groups buildings and structures by the purpose for which they are designed, constructed or adapted to be used,  rather than by the function or use they are put to, assigning each type of building or structure with a classification.  A building may have parts that have been designed, constructed or adapted for difference purposes.  In most cases, each of these parts is a separate classification.  A building (or part of a building) may also have more than one such purpose and may be assigned more than one classification.

Below is a list of the different building classifications, from Class 1 to Class 10, and an explanation of each class.

Further information including limitations and exemptions and updates on building classification is available under Part A6 of the Governing Requirements in the NCC. The NCC and other useful resources regarding building classification is available to view for free on the ABCB website.

Class Definition

Class 1

A Class 1 building includes one or more of the following sub-classifications:

  1. Class 1a is one or more buildings, which together form a single dwelling including the following:

a) A detached house.
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.

  1. Class 1b is one or more buildings which together constituteꟷ

a) a boarding house, guest house, hostel or the like thatꟷ

i. would ordinarily accommodate not more than 12 people; and
ii. have a total area of all floors not more than 300 m2 (measured over the enclosing walls of the building or buildings); or

b) four or more single dwellings located on one allotment and used for short-term holiday accommodation.

Class 2

A Class 2 building is a building containing two or more sole-occupancy units.  Each sole-occupancy unit in a Class 2 building is a separate dwelling.

Class 3

A Class 3 building is a residential building providing long-term or transient accommodation for a number of unrelated persons, including the following:

  1. A boarding-house, guest house, hostel, lodging house or backpacker accommodation.
  2. A residential part of a hotel or motel.
  3. A residential part of a school.
  4. Accommodation for the aged, children, or people with a disability.
  5. A residential part of a health-care building which accommodates members of staff.
  6. A residential part of a detention centre.
  7. A residential care building
Class 4 A Class 4 is a dwelling in a Class 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 building.  This only applies if it is the only dwelling in the building.

Class 5

A Class 5 building is an office building used for professional or commercial purposes.

Class 6

A Class 6 building is a shop or other building used for the sale of goods by retail or the supply of services direct to the public, including—

  1. an eating room, cafe, restaurant, milk or soft-drink bar; or
  2. a dining room, bar area that is not an assembly building, shop or kiosk part of a hotel or motel; or
  3. a hairdresser’s or barber’s shop, public laundry, or undertaker’s establishment; or
  4. a market or sale room, showroom, or service station.

Class 7

A Class 7 building is a storage-type building that includes one or more of the following sub-classifications:

  1. Class 7a ꟷ a carpark.
  2. Class 7b ꟷ a building that is used for storage, or display of goods or produce for sale by wholesale.

Class 8

A Class 8 building is a process-type building that includes the following:

  1. A laboratory.
  2. A building in which the production, assembling, altering, repairing, packing, finishing or cleaning of goods or produce for sale takes place.

Class 9

A Class 9 building is a building of a public nature that includes one or more of the following sub-classifications:

  1. Class 9a ꟷ a health-care building, including any parts of the building set aside as laboratories, and includes a health-care building used as a residential care building.
  2. Class 9b ꟷ an assembly building, including a trade workshop or laboratory in a primary or secondary school, but excluding any parts of the building that are of another Class.
  3. Class 9c ꟷ a residential care building.

Class 10

A Class 10 building includes one or more of the following sub-classifications:

  1. Class 10a is a non-habitable building including a private garage, carport, shed or the like.
  2. Class 10b is a structure that is a fence, mast, antenna, retaining wall or free-standing wall or swimming pool or the like.
  3. Class 10c is a private bushfire shelter.

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