Understanding the BCA Building Classifications

If you work in the building industry or are involved with buildings in some way it is important that you have a basic understanding of some general terms that are used within the Building Code of Australia (BCA Volumes 1 and 2). Of all the different parts that make up the BCA one of the most basic is the identification of building classifications. These relate to the use of a building and range from Class 1 through to Class 10. The following table explains how to identify the different Classes of buildings:


CLASS 1: House, residential natures, includes two sub classifications: Class 1a and class 1b.

CLASS 1a: Single dwelling being a detached house or one group of attached dwellings being a town house or row house.

CLASS 1b: Boarding house, guest house, hostel or the like with a total area of all floors not exceeding 300 m2, and where not more than 12 people reside, and it is not located above or below another dwelling or another Class of building other than a private garage.


CLASS 2: Multi-unit residential building, or apartments where people live above or below each other or may also be single storey attached residential with a common space below (residential above common carpark).





CLASS 3: Residential building other than a Class 1 or 2 building, which is for the accommodation of unrelated people, includes, boarding house, guest house, hostel, backpackers or hotel.






CLASS 4: A dwelling or residence within a building of a non-residential nature, such as a caretaker’s residence in a storage facility. A Class 4 part can only be located in a Class 5 to 9 building.






CLASS 5: Office buildings that are used for professional or commercial purpose, excluding 6, 7, 8 or 9 buildings.










CLASS 6: A place for the sale of retail goods or supply of services direct to the public, as for example shops, bars, restaurants, cafes, public laundry, hairdresser and showroom.







CLASS 7: Storage and warehouse type of buildings. Includes two sub classifications: Class 7a and class 7b.

CLASS 7a: Carparks - Buildings that is used for the parking of motor vehicles but is neither a private garage nor used for the servicing of vehicles, other than washing, cleaning or polishing.




CLASS 7b: Buildings are typically warehouse, storage building or buildings for display of goods that is for wholesale.







CLASS 8: A building in which a process is carried out for trade sale or gain, such as Factory and Laboratory. These buildings can be uses for production, assembling, altering, repairing, finishing, packing or cleaning goods or produce.




CLASS 9: Public buildings. Includes three sub classifications of buildings.

CLASS 9a: A health care building, generally Hospitals.







CLASS 9b: An assembly building in which people may gather for social, theatrical, political, religious or civil purposes, including schools, universities, childcare centres, pre-schools, sports facilities, night clubs or public transport buildings.





CLASS 9c: An aged care building.








CLASS 10 Non habitable buildings or structures, including three sub classifications.

CLASS 10a: A private garage, carport or Shed.







CLASS 10b: A structure being a fence, mast, antenna, standing wall, swimming pool or the like.










CLASS 10c: A private bushfire shelter.







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Reference: ABCB. Understanding the BCA. Retrieved from http://www.abcb.gov.au/Resources/Publications/Education-Training/Building-classifications. Accessed in 13/09/2017

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