Performance-Based Design Briefs

A Performance-Based Design Brief (PBDB) is a collaborative document involving key stakeholders in the performance-based design and approval process. It serves as the foundation for the proposed design.

The Performance-Based Design Brief captures essential activities and outcomes agreed upon in stakeholder negotiations. Once finalised, it ensures that all crucial aspects are identified, instilling confidence that the proposed design is poised for approval if Performance-Based Design Brief requirements are met.

Performance-Based Design Briefs have been primarily developed for Performance Solutions for Fire. A Building Surveyor or Certifiers often do not require that a Performance-Based Design Brief is undertaken for Section J compliance.

Does my project need a Performance-Based Design Brief?

Strictly speaking, any project not a Deemed-to-Satisfy provision of the National Construction Code is a Performance Solution and requires a Performance-Based Design Brief per the formal process described within provision A2.2(4).

As both simple and complex Performance Solutions are becoming the go-to pathway for NCC compliance because they allow both flexibility and innovation, it can be expected that Performance-Based Design Briefs will need to be produced for outcomes ranging from the entire building (e.g. JV3 verification using a reference building) down to an individual wall (e.g. Part J1 Building fabric)!

How to prepare a Performance-Based Design Brief

The first step is to scope out the Performance Solution in consultation with the relevant project participants, such as the owner, builder, architect, project manager, ESD consultant, fire engineer or compliance professional. This is something that is already undertaken, of course, so this step formalises stakeholder agreement. It summarises the project team's understanding and how they intend to meet the NCC Performance Requirements of the relevant parts of the Performance Solution.

Analysis, Modelling or Testing

Next is the analysis, where the specific Performance Solution analysis relevant to the Performance Requirement is undertaken. This may be qualitative or quantitative, involve more complex modelling or require actual physical testing [for example, where mass timber is being used and NCC provisions require specific fire safety standards be met].

In the case below, JV3 verification using a reference building has been set as the agreed Method to meet the Performance Requirement - JP1. Of course


Step 3 ties closely into the Step 2 analysis, where evaluation is the focus. We will generally analyse as we conduct an analysis, so this is just formalising a process to collate results, review against the relevant Performance Requirements and prepare for reporting!


An arguably self-explanatory step but an essential one nonetheless, with a twist. Step 4 is where the Performance-Based Design Brief ties everything together and provides the documentation to hand over to the consent authority. And the twist? All stakeholders involved are to sign off on the Performance-Based Design Brief. This has not typically been undertaken, and its impact as a requirement is likely directly related to the complexity of the Performance Solution being undertaken.

Speckel provides the structure to create Performance-Based Design Brief reports for your NCC 2019/22 Section J requirements. Simple add in additional project information and use Themes to issue a report based on the formal process described within provision A2.2(4).

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