Numerous industries use steel poles, from electrical to engineering, construction, and more, as part of their routine operations. However, one factor affecting the purchase of steel poles is wind regions in Australia.
Australia wind regions are a crucial factor in building any structure using steel poles and assessing the average wind in your region is necessary before investing in this product. But what are Australian wind classifications, and what are the dynamics shaping wind-resistant structures? Read more to find out!
What are Wind Regions?
A wind region is the classification of wind in different Australian regions, organised based on different wind speeds and the likelihood of extreme weather conditions within an area. Wind regions are determined by the Australian Standards AS1170.2:2021 Structural Design Actions.
This building standard accounts for wind regions, terrain categories, and importance levels, which relate to the severity of the consequences of a building failure or accident.
There are four wind zones Australia has, known as regions A, B, C, and D. Below is a breakdown of each region on the wind classification map.
Wind Region A
The first wind region in Australia is wind region A. Region A is considered “normal” wind speeds, reaching up to 162 km/h. These speeds are average and not typically a cause for concern.
Wind Region B
The second wind region on the wind classification map is wind region B. Region B contains winds considered “intermediate” in speed, reaching up to 205 km/h. Though this speed presents more concerns than wind region A, it is still considered relatively safe if equipped with the right materials and equipment to protect your workplace.
Wind Region C
The third wind region on the wind classification map is wind region C. This region is considered “cyclonic” and includes wind speeds up to 238 km/h. Cyclonic winds are more dangerous than winds in regions A or Bx. They can cause structural damage or injury if proper protection is not implemented to protect yourself and your workers.
Wind Region D
The final wind region in Australia is wind region D, which contains any winds classified as “severe cyclonic.” Winds in this region reach up to 288 km/h and can be extremely dangerous if proper protections are not implemented to protect workers and building structures.
A building’s terrain contributes to how exposed it is to wind in severe weather conditions, such as winds in regions C or D. Three primary terrain categories, broken down below, contribute to how prepared a building is to sustain high wind levels.
Terrain Category 1
The first terrain category found on a wind classification map is terrain category 1, which encompasses structures built on highly exposed, flat, and isolated terrain. This category also includes buildings surrounded by a treeless or low-grass area.
Buildings in terrain category 1 are surrounded by few obstructions and have a 10 km radius or more.
Terrain Category 2
The second terrain category covers open terrains like grasslands surrounded by various obstructions, such as trees and other buildings. These obstructions generally have a height between 1.5 and 5 metres, but there are no more than two obstructions per hectare.
Terrain Category 3
The final terrain category is terrain category 3, which includes buildings with various surrounding obstructions between 3 to 10 metres high. Typically, this terrain category includes suburban buildings and densely populated or wooded areas.
Wind Classes and Importance Level
Australia wind regions are organised into different importance levels or wind classes, ranging from one to four. The importance level in a wind region refers to the potential consequences of severe weather to people or building structures in the event of a building failure caused by extreme winds.
Below is a breakdown of the four importance levels under the Building Codes of Australia.
Importance Level 1
Level 1 buildings are those considered to have a low degree of hazardous potential. They are unlikely to cause damage to property or human life if the building fails due to weather conditions. This level is typically designated for isolated buildings, as they don’t present a risk to human life during severe weather.
Importance Level 2
The second importance level on the wind classification map is the default level. This level is reserved for structures with little to medium consequences to human life and economic stability in severe weather and building failures.
Importance Level 3
Importance level 3 presents a much greater risk to human life and building structures in the event of a failure caused by harsh wind and weather conditions. This importance level has high consequences for the environment, economics, and human life if a failure occurs.
Importance Level 4
The final importance level only occurs in select circumstances and is reserved for buildings essential to post-disaster recovery or buildings with hazardous facilities. An example of a building that would be considered Importance Level 4 is a hospital.
Why It’s Important to Understand Different Australia Wind Regions and Classifications
Understanding different Australian wind classifications is essential for numerous reasons and can help you plan accordingly for future projects. Some of the core reasons why understanding these classifications is important include the following:
- Understanding your wind region allows you to select the proper steel poles for building different structures, ensuring safe construction.
- Your wind region provides essential information for an environmental impact assessment for future projects.
- Knowing your wind region allows you to follow applicable policies and regulations for upcoming projects.
- Knowing the dynamics of wind regions is crucial to adapt to climate change and ensure your wind infrastructure is sustainable.
How G&S Industries Can Help
Finding the right steel poles to complete projects according to your wind region and classification is crucial to ensuring your employees and your building’s safety and security. G&S Industries provides robust poles and columns to complete your projects and ensure the safety of your structures regardless of your wind region.
G&S Industries has everything you need to complete your project safely and efficiently. Browse our product range today!