Prescribed temporary structures

The Building Regulations 2018 (the Regulations) defines a prescribed temporary structure as a prescribed class of building that does not form part of another building, but is a temporary structure or temporary building. They include:

  • tents, marquees or booths with a floor area greater than 100 m²
  • seating stands for more than 20 people
  • stages or platforms (including sky boarders and stage wings) exceeding 150 m² in floor area
  • prefabricated buildings exceeding 100 m² other than ones placed directly on the ground surface.

Note: prescribed temporary structures must not be attached to, erected on or within another permanent building that is classifiable under the Building Code of Australia.

Occupancy permit applications

Prescribed temporary structures require an occupancy permit from the VBA before they can be used. This is in accordance with Part 5 of the Building Act 1993 (the Act).

The VBA issues Victorian state-wide or event specific occupancy permits for prescribed temporary structures. Section 57 of the Act allows the issue of an occupancy permit for a period of no longer than five years. We are currently issuing three-year state-wide permits.

Timeframes

  • New applications for state-wide occupancy permits may take between nine to 12 weeks to be issued. This includes time given to applicants to provide further information if requested and the re-assessment of information.
  • Event-specific applications must to be lodged a minimum of nine weeks before the event commencement date, unless other timeframes have been arranged at pre-event planning meetings.
  • Renewing or amending applications must be lodged a minimum of six weeks before the permit expires or the structure is going to be used.

Applications lodged less than two weeks before an event will not be guaranteed an occupancy permit. If your application is not submitted within the specified timeframes, it will be refused.

Fees

For details on new application, amendment and renewal fees, see Building fees.

Lodge an application

  1. Fill in the VBA's Prescribed Temporary Structure Application Form (PDF, 805.85 KB).
  2. Fill in the Payment Authorisation Form (PDF, 366.65 KB), including the correct fee.
  3. Complete the Prescribed Temporary Structure Required Documents Checklist (PDF, 490.7 KB).
  4. Submit the application form, fees and supporting documentation via email to tempstructures@vba.vic.gov.au.

Your application must include the minimum supporting documentation as stated above, and you must pay the appropriate fee. Incomplete applications will not be considered and will be returned to you.

Occupancy permit conditions

An occupancy permit for a prescribed temporary structure may contain conditions relating to:

  • maximum number of occupants
  • location (Terrain Category and Region)
  • maximum wind speed for occupation
  • minimum hold down/weighting requirements
  • fire safety equipment
  • exits
  • public toilet facilities.

Compliance requirements

Prescribed temporary structures must be designed in accordance with Regulation 212 of the Building Regulations 2018 (the Regulations). They need to use engineering principles that provide for structural safety and the safety of the people occupying the structure.

The VBA currently adopts the Australian Building Codes Board's Temporary Structures 2015 Standard (ABCB Standard) to determine compliance.

Certificates of compliance

A certificate of compliance must in the form approved by the VBA. Certificates for proposed building work must be issued by a practitioner in the category of Engineer, class of engineer (civil).

Refer to the sample certificate for proposed building work (PDF, 129.62 KB) for guidance.

A certificate for building work relating to the erection of a structure must be issued by practitioners in one of the following categories:

  • building surveyor or building inspector
  • category of engineer, class of engineer (civil)
  • category of person who erects or supervises the erection of prescribed temporary structures.

Refer to the sample certificate for building work (PDF, 250.14 KB) for guidance.

Wall cladding

The provisions of the ABCB Standard were not written with the consideration of hard wall claddings and relate to fabric membrane structures only. In addition, the Standard does not address multi-storey structures and permits an alternative method to be formulated to the satisfaction of the appropriate authority (the VBA).

An application for occupancy permit for a prescribed temporary structure must include the following information in relation the fire hazard properties of the structure.

Fabric membrane material

  • Fire test reports in accordance with Part 4 of the ABCB Temporary Structures 2015 Standard, Table 4.1.2 Fire Hazard Properties, or
  • An alternative method (performance solution) in lieu of Table 4.1.2 formulated by a registered fire safety engineer.

Wall cladding (single storey only)

  • Volume One of the Building Code of Australia 2019 (BCA) as an alternative method. Fire test report required in accordance with Clause 4 of Specification C1.10 for Specific Areas in a Class 9b un-sprinklered building,  or
  • An alternative method (performance solution) in lieu of Clause 4 of Specification C1.10 by a registered fire safety engineer.

Aluminium composite panels (ACP) (single storey only)

  • ACP of A2 types only are to be used, or
  • An alternative method (performance solution) formulated by a registered fire safety engineer.

Note: the VBA may refer the matter to the Building Appeals Board where deemed appropriate.

Aluminium composite panels (ACP) and expanded polystyrene (EPS) (2 and 3 storey)

  • Ministerial Guideline 14 (MG-14) applies. Where a Prescribed Combustible Product is used (i.e. ACP with a certain amount of polyethylene within its core; or expanded polystyrene, EPS or EIFS), the applicant is required to have an alternative method (performance solution) formulated by a registered fire safety engineer, which must be submitted in support of an application for determination to the Building Appeals Board.

Other materials (2 and 3 storey)

  • Where a structure has fabric type roof material, the fabric must comply with Table 4.1.2 of the ABCB Standard, or
  • An alternative method (performance solution) in lieu of Table 4.1.2 formulated by a registered fire safety engineer.
  • Wall cladding must comply with clause C1.9 of Volume One of the Building Code of Australia 2019 (BCA) (deemed suitable where non-combustible required), or
  • An alternative method (performance solution) formulated by a registered fire safety engineer in lieu of clause C1.9 of the Building Code of Australia 2019 (BCA) and a regulation 126 certificate for proposed building work issued in support of the alternative method.

All structures

Where an alternative method (performance solution) is proposed for fire hazard properties (other than using Clause 4 of Specification C1.10 of the BCA in lieu of Table 4.1.2 of the ABCB Standard), the applicant should engage a registered fire safety engineer to prepare a report and may also require a regulation 126 certificate where the VBA deems appropriate. The applicant may also be required to prepare an emergency management and evacuation plan (EMEP) as part of this process.

Alternative methods

The ABCB Standard allows a choice of compliance with the Normative Provisions of the Standard or formulating an alternative method (performance solution), if it is to the satisfaction of the VBA.

We have produced the following guidance materials:

If you wish to propose an alternative method, you need to complete this application form (DOCX, 283.9 KB).

Barriers at the rear of a tiered seating stand

The rear barriers of seating stands must meet the requirements of Volume One of the Building Code of Australia (BCA). This applies when the height of the seating stand at the rear is more than 4 metres above the surface beneath. If the height of the seating stand is more than 4 metres, there can be no horizontal climbable elements between 150 mm and 760 mm from the rear seat base. This applies in addition to the minimum required height of 1 metre of the barrier from the seat base. This is because the seat back is a horizontal element that can be climbed upon, which means that they do not comply.

To address this, the rear barrier needs to be raised to a height that will satisfy this requirement under Table D2.16a 3(c) of the BCA and ABCB Standard clause 5.1.5(e). Alternatively, the rear of the stand needs to be enclosed. See example illustration below.

Illustration showing the compliant seat back climbable height