Design Guidelines
Macquarie University Property
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Health & Safety / Safety in Design


Macquarie University is committed to ensuring the Health and Safety of their staff, students and visitors to the University Campus. In line with this Macquarie University has implemented stringent Work Health & Safety (WHS) practices and systems to manage health and safety risks.

Refer to the Macquarie University Health and Safety website to additional information on their Health & Safety Policies, which should be taken into consideration in the design of facilities across the campus.

The Work Health and Safety Act and the principles of student safety and welfare mandate the avoidance of accidents through careful design of facilities. The Macquarie University Health & Safety Plan 2012–2015 outlines the strategic, outcome and enabling objectives that the University and its controlled entities are required to achieve, in order to deliver our Health & Safety Vision. The primary objective of this plan is to reshape the University's Health & Safety System and to realise performance improvements.


The design of buildings and external works generally is to be such as to enable compliance with the Workers Health and Safety Act 2011, and the associated Work Health & Safety Regulation 2011 both during construction and for maintenance etc. when the building is occupied.

This section lists some, but not all, of the design considerations that must be encompassed to avoid accidents in the built environment.

Two specific strategies that are appropriate to design are:

Safety by Design

Under the new Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation, there are a range of new legislative and regulatory requirements, supported by a suite of codes of practice clarifying how these obligations can be met. In particular, there are specific requirements and expectations of entities and persons defined as a "designer".

The definition of "designer" in the WHS legislation not only affects the actual designer, but also places duties on all those who are connected with the design, including during construction, end use, maintenance and demolition or de-commission. The designer must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the plant, substance or structure is designed to minimise risks to the health and safety of all parties who will work on a site connected with its design as well as the end users of the facility.

An important part of the Safety by Design principle is recording the risk assessments that are conducted during the design and providing to the client, owners, any users/occupiers of the facilities and those who will be building or maintaining the facilities, details of:

  • The hazards identified during the design process and the action taken by the designer to alleviate the risk.
  • Any identified risks associated with the construction or maintenance of the buildings and facilities, and
  • Any management procedures that are required to control the risks associated with construction, maintenance or operations of the design.

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED)

Crime Prevention through Environmental Designis a strategy that focuses on the planning, design and structure of cities and neighbourhoods so as to reduce crime. It reduces opportunities for crime by using design and place management principles that reduce the likelihood of essential crime ingredients (law, offender, victim or target, opportunity) from intersecting in time and space.

Predatory offenders often make cost-benefit assessment of potential victims and locations before committing crime. CPTED aims to create the reality (or perception) that the costs of committing crime are greater than the likely benefits. This is achieved by creating environmental and social conditions that are not conducive to crime activities including:

  • Increasing the likelihood of detection, challenge and apprehension
  • Increasing the time, energy and resources required to commit crime
  • Minimise the actual and perceived benefits of crime
  • Removing conditions that encourage/facilitate rationalisation of inappropriate behavior

CPTED utilises the following four key strategies:

  • Territorial re-enforcement
  • Surveillance
  • Access control
  • Space /activity management

All CPTED strategies aim to create the perception or reality of capable guardianship.

Workcover Regulations

NSW Workcover regulations are to be considered in the design of all new facilities and any alterations to existing facilities, as they provide guidance on the safe, use management and maintenance of facilities, including but not limited to:

  • Storage and handling of dangerous good.
  • Workers Health & Safety
  • Access for maintenance including roof access systems.

Walkway Safety

Floor Surfaces

All floor and paving surfaces internally and externally are to have a non slip finish which will not become slippery whether wet or dry. Surfaces are to exceed the non-slip requirements of the NCC/BCA. AS4586 1999 is also to be followed in the choice of flooring materials.

Steps & Stairs

All treads whether internal or external are to be specified to have a non-slip finish with a contrasting nosing to at least meet the requirements of the NCC/BCA.

All generally used doorways are to have flush thresholds (no step).

Doorways to plantrooms or service rooms may have a threshold setdown and a landing with a length of at least 1m.

Emergency Vehicle Access

The design of buildings and adjacent roads and driveways is to take into account the need for emergency vehicle access, particularly for fire brigade vehicles and Ambulance vehicles. 

Gas Cylinder Separation

All gas cylinders are to be stored in well ventilated external spaces.  Ensure that gas cylinders are separated in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Safety around Equipment & Plant

It is important to ensure that machinery and work areas are laid out in a safe and useable manner.

All plant and equipment that is required to be monitored, maintained or serviced is provided with means of safe access. Requirements to be considered include:

  • A minimum clearance of 600mm is to be provided around all maintainable plant and equipment
  • Maintenance access should be via a platform or low pitched roof surface.
  • Performing maintenance from a ladder is NOT acceptable.
  • Guardrails should be provided at platform edges in accordance with AS and Authority regulations
  • All equipment is to be appropriately identified and tagged

Cleaning Management


As part of the Whole of Life analysis used in the selection of materials, all building finished are surfaces are to be selected and designed to enable ease of maintenance and cleaning. The design is to be undertaken in conjunction with Buildings and Grounds Office to ensure the facilities are cleanable and maintainable.

Consider the following criterial in the design of surfaces for maintainability:

  • Lighting and other fixtures in lobbies, stairs, atriums/mezzanines are to be kept below 3 metres above the floor or landing level.
  • Glazing up to 5 metres above the ground is to be accessible for cleaning.
  • Glazing above 5 metres above ground level is to be accessible from within the building in accordance with the BCA and Workcover regulations.
  • Solar shading devices should not obstruct the cleaning of glass or promote web insect problems or provide perches for birds.
  • External finishes to be washable, pressure water cleanable.
  • Where directed, specify sacrificial anti-graffiti treatment to accessible wall surfaces.



External Finishes

Toilet Facilities

  • Apart from shelves and fittings, keep horizontal surfaces to a minimum.
  • Toilet cubicles to have a smooth durable anti-graffiti surface, with 150mm gap (minimum) at floor level.
  • Toilet pans are to have integral S or P traps to facilitate cleaning.
  • Each toilet cubicle in women's toilets is to be wide enough to accommodate a sanitary bin alongside pan and cistern.  (Approximate width of bin 300mm).
  • Hand washing facilities are to be fitted with liquid soap dispensers, which will receive liquid soap provided by the maintenance department/contractor and (where directed) hand towel dispensers.  Each toilet cubicle is to be fitted with a multi roll toilet roll dispenser.

Store Rooms For Cleaners

  • Provide on each alternate level of new buildings a cleaners' store 1800mm x 1800mm or equivalent.  In buildings with a gross floor area on each floor exceeding 1500m2 provide a cleaners' store on every floor.
  • Cleaners' stores are to have a cleaners' sink with hot and cold water and threaded hose cocks.
  • Specify in each cleaners' store a twin power outlet and general lighting.

Waste Bin Storage

The campus has several sites where waste from buildings is stored in bins ready for collection by trucks each day.

With each new building or major refurbishment, the need may arise to construct a new waste bin storage area adjacent to a road or car park.  It if is considered appropriate, the brief will include the provision of a waste bin storage area to be planned with the building and the cost included in the contract sum.

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous Building Materials may be found on the existing building site and new building areas of the campus that pose a significant risk to the health of the occupants. Hazardous materials include:

  • Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM)
  • Synthetic Mineral Fibres (SMF)
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyl's (PCB)
  • Lead Paint
  • Ozone Depleting Substances

The most common hazardous substances identified on school sites are:

  • Lead Based Paints
  • Asbestos


Where works are proposed within areas of existing buildings, a Hazardous Materials inspections have been undertaken and in most cases reports have been prepare and are available from Office of Facilities Management.

Where new buildings are to be constructed a Hazardous materials study is to be conducted.

Australian Standard 2601 Demolition of Structures requires that the structures and all parts of the site should be examined in order to determine the presence of hazardous materials before commencement of any renovation or demolition.

Inspection should be conducted by organisations with the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accreditation complying with the requirements of AS/NZS ISO.IEC 17020 for the inspection of hazardous materials (HazMat) including asbestos.

Hazardous Materials inspection reports are to be produced in accordance with the requirements of the various Safe Work Australia "Codes of Practice" for the management and control of hazardous substances.

Where hazardous materials are found a Hazardous Materials Management Plan should be prepared:

  • Identifying the hazardous materials
  • Assessing the risk of the hazardous materials
  • Including recommendations to control the risk of exposure to the hazardous materials.

Lead Hazards

Lead particles are released when old paint containing lead is damaged or peels and collects as dust flakes in ceiling, wall and floor voids. If dust is generated it must be contained and / or removed.

Those working in an areas containing lead-based paint should refer to Australian Standard AS 4361.1, Guide to Lead Paint Management-Industrial Applications, and AS 4361.2, Guide to Lead Paint Management-Residential and Commercial Buildings.

If runoff contains lead particles it must be contained. Lead is extremely hazardous being a cumulative poison and even small levels in the body can have severe effects. The stripping of lead-based paint and the disposal of contaminated waste must be carried out with all care and in accordance with Workcover guidelines.

Management of Asbestos

Due to the age of the existing buildings across the campus Asbestos may be present within the structures. Macquarie University has undertaken inspections of existing buildings to identify hazardous substances and maintains an Asbestos Register which provides details of the areas of the campus where asbestos has been identified.Where asbestos has been identified or discovered, the relevant authorities are to be informed and procedures implemented for the assessment and management of the Asbestos in line with the Macquarie University Asbestos management procedures.

Security in Design



In the design and documentation of new buildings, and of the extension or refurbishment of existing buildings, and the adjacent landscaped areas, consultants are to respond to the requirements of the University's functional brief regarding security and access control.

For the University's security requirements and the technical standards of the respective security based building trades, refer to MQU Security Standards.

The extent of the security measures to be documented as part of the building contract will be decided by the University and identified on room data sheets and in a separate building specific brief issued by the Macquarie University Property (MQP) office. The measures which may be included in a Security subcontract are (but are not limited to):

  • Access control systems
  • Closed Circuit Television
  • Alarm systems
  • Duress alarms
  • Secure storage areas
  • Cash handling system
  • Locking and keying systems

Bird Nuisance


Design and detail buildings to provide the minimum opportunity for birds to alight or roost.

Avoid horizontal ledges, external cable ducts, accessible sunscreen edges and similar perching places.

Where horizontal ledgers are unavoidable, slope the upper surfaces or specify spiked protection to discourage birds.

Specify bird proofing to prevent access by birds under metal roofing or into headers and downpipes.