Ian Hindmarsh, “Cumberoona”, Cowra, has called for greater variety in farm building classifications.

Farm building gap in construction code

A dairy industry leader has called for an increase in classification options for farm buildings, because structures for farm use of a certain size are being classified as industrial factories.

A dairy industry leader has called for an increase in classification options for farm buildings, because structures for farm use of a certain size are being classified as industrial factories. 

President of the Central and Western branch of the NSW Holstein society, Ian Hindmarsh, “Cumberoona”, Cowra, plans to build a 4700 metre squared structure for his 350 cows and their feed. 

The proposal has been categorised as Class 8 industrial. The National Construction Code states a farm building means a Class 7 or 8 building on land primarily used for farming with a total floor area of not more than 3500m2.

To comply, Mr Hindmarsh must build designated fire fighting water tanks, hydrants, reels, pumps and sprinklers, at an estimated minimum cost of $100,000. 

“There are 10 classifications for construction in the Australian building code and we do not fit in any of them,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Australian Building Codes Board said building classification was determined by more than just size.

Before receiving a construction certificate, Mr Hindmarsh had to comply to the fire safety regulations of a Class 8 factory or agree to an alternate solution report, which described options to comply with local council building codes and standards.

The cost of hiring fire and hydraulic engineers to complete the report was estimated at a $15,000 minimum.

On Tuesday, Imran Shaikh, the principal fire safety engineer at Austech Consulting Engineers, Sydney, provided Mr Hindmarsh with an alternate solutions report, which recommended pumping dedicated fire water from the Lachlan River, 700m to the dairy. 

Mr Hindmarsh is seeking legal advice to challenge the classification. 

Would you like to comment on this article?
Thanks for providing feedback.