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Performance-based Building Regulations

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the criteria and procedures for assessing alternative solutions proposed by Qualified Person? Will the assessment process delay the approval of Building Plan?
2. Will the safety of building be compromised with the new system?
3. What is the purpose of a second Qualified Person? If a design Qualified Person engages a second Qualified Person, will they have to jointly certify for the design? How will the responsibility be split between the two Qualified Persons should there be lapses in the design? Will the design Qualified Person be responsible for any design lapses which are certified by the second Qualified Person?
4. If the submission Qualified Person engages a second Qualified Person, will it increase the cost of construction?
5. In the performance-based regulations, the design is required to meet the objectives and performance criteria. If the Qualified Person adopts the acceptable solution (deemed to have met the performance requirements) but an incident occurs, would the Qualified Person be penalised?
6. The performance-based code, because of its stated objectives, would open up additional avenues for third party liability suits. Building owners and developers may also impose unreasonable demand on the QPs to adopt untested technologies in their designs. How can we prevent this from happening? How can we mitigate Qualified Person's expanded scope of liability?
7. Will BCA continue to process and approve waivers or modifications of the acceptable solutions, instead of requiring the Qualified Person to certify them as an alternative solution?
8. Will BCA extend the existing ‘pre-submission consultation’ service to cover alternative solutions proposed by Qualified Person?

1. What are the criteria and procedures for assessing alternative solutions proposed by Qualified Person? Will the assessment process delay the approval of Building Plan?
 

If the alternative solution is based on certain material specifications or construction technology, a certificate issued by an independent laboratory or certifying authority is generally considered as acceptable evidence of compliance.

In the case of an alternative solution for a quantifiable requirement, an acceptable basis for evaluation is the use of computer simulation to confirm compliance with performance criteria.

As for a design requirement that do not have quantifiable outcome, one basis of assessment is to benchmark the alternative solutions against the acceptable solutions in terms of desired outcome.

For submission purpose, documentation on the design and analysis of an alternative solution would have to be submitted for record to serve as evidence that the minimum expected level of performance had been met.

The alternative solution can be certified by the submission Qualified Person or another Qualified Person who is a specialist in the alternative solution proposed.

If the required documents are in order, there should not be any delay in the approval process involving alternative solutions.

   
2. Will the safety of building be compromised with the new system?
 

The new system should not compromise building safety. Any Qualified Person proposing alternative solutions is required under the Act to exercise due diligence to ensure that the solutions proposed are not inferior to the acceptable solutions in meeting the desired performance requirements.

The acceptable solutions, which are basically the previous prescriptive requirements, will serve as reference points to Qualified Person in their designs. These acceptable solutions are standard designs, which have been proven for building safety.

   
3. What is the purpose of a second Qualified Person? If a design Qualified Person engages a second Qualified Person, will they have to jointly certify for the design? How will the responsibility be split between the two Qualified Persons should there be lapses in the design? Will the design Qualified Person be responsible for any design lapses which are certified by the second Qualified Person?
 

When adopting an alternative design, the submission Qualified Person can certify the design himself. It is not compulsory to engage a second Qualified Person to certify the design.

The option for second Qualified Person’s certification allows the submission Qualified Person to collaborate with a Qualified Person who is specialised in the alternative design solution.

This provision is meant to encourage the adoption of innovative design by the submission Qualified Person to better meet his client's requirements even if he is not an expert in this area.

Without this option, submission Qualified Person may be reluctant to incorporate new ideas or technologies in his design that may be more cost-effective than the acceptable solutions.

In principle, a Qualified Person will only need to certify for his part of the design and be responsible for it.

When a second Qualified Person is engaged to certify an alternative solution, he is required under the Act to take all reasonable care and exercise due diligence to ensure that the solution satisfies the objective and performance requirements of the regulations.

If the submission Qualified Person is not involved in certifying the alternative solution, he would not be responsible for it.

   
4. If the submission Qualified Person engages a second Qualified Person, will it increase the cost of construction?
 

In adopting an alternative solution, the Qualified Person and owner would have to evaluate the cost benefits of doing so.

In the event that the cost benefit analysis turns out to be negative, the developer and Qualified Person can always drop this option, as it is not compulsory to go for the alternative solution.

   
5. In the performance-based regulations, the design is required to meet the objectives and performance criteria. If the Qualified Person adopts the acceptable solution (deemed to have met the performance requirements) but an incident occurs, would the Qualified Person be penalised?
 

If the Qualified Persons has taken reasonable step and exercise due diligence in complying with the Act and the building regulations, he will not be penalised.

   
6. The performance-based code, because of its stated objectives, would open up additional avenues for third party liability suits. Building owners and developers may also impose unreasonable demand on the QPs to adopt untested technologies in their designs. How can we prevent this from happening? How can we mitigate Qualified Person's expanded scope of liability?
 

Qualified Persons are given greater flexibility in their design solutions and are allowed to adopt alternative solutions.

To exercise this flexibility, Qualified Persons must be prepared to take responsibility for their designs.They must ensure that their designs can meet the stated performance objectives.

If Qualified Persons are not prepared to take up this responsibility that comes with the flexibility, they can choose to adopt the acceptable solutions and be deemed to have met the stated performance objectives.

   
7. Will BCA continue to process and approve waivers or modifications of the acceptable solutions, instead of requiring the Qualified Person to certify them as an alternative solution?
 

BCA will continue to process and approve applications for waiver of specific regulations, as well as applications for modifications of acceptable solutions. However, where the proposed solution deviates substantially from the acceptable solution, it will be treated as an alternative solution.

   
8. Will BCA extend the existing ‘pre-submission consultation’ service to cover alternative solutions proposed by Qualified Person?
 

Yes. The existing procedure for pre-submission consultation can be used for consultation involving alternative solutions.