Design Guidelines
Macquarie University Property

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 for additional information on Health & Safety Policies, which should be taken into consideration in the design of facilities across the campus.

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) 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 the University's health and 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 are to enable compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW), and the associated Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (NSW) both during construction and ongoing maintenance of University facilities.

This section identifies some of the design considerations that must be encompassed to avoid accidents in the built environment.

Safety in Design

Appropriate consideration of work practices required to construct and subsequently maintain and operate University facilities is essential to incorporate in the design process. Regular workshops throughout the design phase should be conducted with all design team members to identify, and where practicable eliminate safety concerns associated with the facility.

The most effective and durable means of creating a healthy and safe working environment is to eliminate hazards and risks during the design of new plant, structures, substances and technology and of jobs, processes and systems. This design process needs to take into account hazards and risks that may be present at all stages of the life cycle of structures, plant, products and substances.

Source: Safe Work Australia

An important part of the safety in design principle is recording the risk assessments that are conducted during the design and providing to the client, owners, any users or 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
  • Any management procedures that are required to control the risks associated with construction, maintenance or operations of the design.

Crime Prevention through Environmental Design

Crime Prevention through environmental design is a strategy that focuses on the planning, design and structure of cities and neighborhoods 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 at the same time and in the same space.

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.

Crime prevention through environmental design utilises the following four key strategies:

  1. Territorial re-enforcement
  2. Surveillance
  3. Access control
  4. Space /activity management.

All crime prevention through environmental design strategies aim to create the perception or reality of capable guardianship.

SafeWork NSW Regulations

SafeWork NSW 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 goods
  • Workers health and safety
  • Access for maintenance including roof access systems.

Walkway Safety

Steps & Stairs

All treads whether internal or external are to have a non-slip finish with a contrasting nosing to at least meet the requirements of the National Construction Code and the Building Council of Australia.

All entries into facilities are to have flush thresholds (no step) while doorways to plant-rooms or service rooms may have a threshold set-down and a landing with a length of at least 1 metre.


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 usable 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 600 millimetres 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 the Australian Standards and SafeWork NSW 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 surfaces are to be selected and designed to enable ease of maintenance and cleaning. The design is to be undertaken in conjunction with Macquarie University Property to ensure the facilities are economically cleanable and maintainable.

The following criteria are to be considered in the design of surfaces for maintainability:

  • Lighting and other fixtures in lobbies, stairs, atrium's and 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 easily accessible for cleaning
  • Glazing above 5 metres above ground level is to be accessible from within the building in accordance with the requirements of the National Construction Code and Building Council of Australia as well as SafeWork NSW regulations
  • Solar shading devices should not obstruct the cleaning of glass or promote web insect problems or provide perches for birds
  • External finishes must be able to be cleaned by a  pressure washer
  • Where directed, specify anti-graffiti treatment to accessible wall surfaces.

Toilet Facilities

  • Apart from shelves and fittings, keep horizontal surfaces to a minimum
  • Toilet cubicles to have a smooth durable anti-graffiti surface, with 150 millimetre minimum gap at the 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 with an approximate width of 300 millimetres)
  • 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.

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous building materials may be found in existing University facilities and to areas identified for new buildings. Hazardous materials include:

  • Asbestos containing materials (ACM)
  • Synthetic mineral fibres (SMF)
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB)
  • Lead paint
  • Ozone depleting substances.

The most common hazardous substances identified in education facilities are:

  • Lead based paints
  • Asbestos.


Where works are proposed within areas of existing buildings, Hazardous Materials inspections have been undertaken and in most cases reports have been prepare and are available from Macquarie University Property. Where new buildings are to be constructed a hazardous materials study is to be conducted.

Regardless of the identification of existing hazardous substances, all parts of the site should be examined in order to determine the presence of unidentified hazardous materials before commencement of any renovation or demolition. Inspections should be conducted by organisations with the National Association of Testing Authorities accreditation and complying with the requirements of AS/NZS ISO.IEC 17020 for the inspection of hazardous materials, 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. The stripping of lead-based paint and the disposal of associated contaminated waste must be carried out with all care and in accordance with SafeWork NSW guidelines.


Management of Asbestos

Due to the age of the existing buildings across the campus Asbestos may be present within existing University facilities.  Macquarie University has undertaken inspections of existing buildings to assist with the identification of hazardous substances and maintains an asbestos register.  The University provides no warranty as to the accuracy or completeness of the asbestos register and the Contractor relies on any information provided solely at its own risk.

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 consider the requirements of the University regarding security and access control. For the University's security requirements and the technical standards of the respective security based building trades, the University's Security Standards.

The extent of the security measures to be documented will be decided by the University and identified on room data sheets in consultation with Macquarie University Property. The security measures required include:

  • Access control systems
  • Closed circuit television
  • Alarm systems
  • Duress alarms
  • Secure storage areas
  • Cash handling system
  • Locking and keying systems.

Bird Nuisance


To avoid maintenance in areas that are difficult to access, design buildings to provide the minimum opportunity for birds to alight or roost and:

  • 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 down-pipes.