Cross Icon

Contact us

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Contact Us

Stay up-to-date with Alexon news

Alexon news

AS1851 Standards: Understanding This Fire Protection Standard

Nov 15, 2023

In one of our previous blogs, we touched on some of the different fire safety standards that business owners and building managers alike must adhere to in Australia. This outlined the different Australian fire safety standards as they all pertain to their own types of fire safety equipment.

There is one standard in particular pertaining to multiple types of essential safety measures (or ‘ESMs’). This is Australian Standard AS1851 2012, developed to standardise the maintenance requirements of fire protection systems.

Learn More About AS1851 Standards

AS1851 standard specifies the routine testing, maintenance, and inspection requirements for a wide range of different ESMs which we’ll be outlining below as well as looking more closely into the regulatory requirements outlined in AS1851.

Today we will answer some FAQs such as:

What is AS1851 and what does it cover?

AS1851 is an Australian fire safety standard developed to standardise the maintenance, testing, and inspection requirements for the many different types of fire suppression and fire detection systems. As this Australian standard refers to a wide range of different equipment, it’s common for building owners and operators to keep a copy of AS1851-2012 on-hand to refer to in tandem with their fire equipment maintenance schedule.

AS1851 outlines all the regulatory requirements that must be met in order for buildings and work premises to maintain compliance with state and federal fire safety standards. In Australia, each state has its own legislation developed to enact AS1851 under Australian Law. You can find a full copy of AS1851-2012 at Standards Australia, or you can find additional resources on the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) website, the Country Fire Authority (CFA), or even with your trusted fire safety technicians.

What fire equipment is covered by AS1851?

The following is covered:

  • Electrical wiring interconnection systems (EWIS)
  • Emergency planning in facilities
  • Fire and smoke alarm systems
  • Fire and smoke control features of mechanical services
  • Fire and smoke detection and monitoring systems
  • Fire blankets
  • Fire doors
  • Fire evacuation planning in facilities
  • Fire extinguishers (portable and wheeled)
  • Fire hose reels and delivery lay flat hose
  • Fire hydrants
  • Fire sprinkler systems 
  • Gaseous fire suppression systems 
  • Passive fire and smoke systems
  • Pumpsets for water-based fire suppression systems
  • Smoke and heat ventilation systems
  • Special hazard systems
  • Water mist suppression systems
  • Water storage tanks for fire sprinkler systems
Sprinkler testing in compliance with AS1851

What isn't covered by AS1851?

AS1851 has been developed to provide a generalist overview of maintenance requirements for all the fire equipment outlined above. This generalist overview is valuable as the fire equipment can be installed in a wide range of different commercial and residential settings. 

It is also important to note that AS1851 doesn’t include in-depth instructions for installing fire equipment in industry-specific settings ie. commercial kitchens. As a result, business owners working in specialised industries such as hospitality, must also refer to the Australian Standards pertaining to those industries (i.e. AS3772, detailing fire protection of cooking areas). 

Alongside this, AS1851 doesn’t explicitly include maintenance requirements for emergency and exit lighting. Requirements for these ESMs can be found in AS2293

How to meet AS1851 standards

The best way to meet AS1851 standards is by booking routine testing and maintenance appointments with your fire safety technicians and by fulfilling your equipment logbook and ESM reporting responsibilities.

It’s also valuable to read through the regulations outlined in AS1851-2012 yourself, and understand the terminology used across this Australian Standard. To support your efforts here, we’ve compiled a list of some of the more prominent terms you can expect to come across when reading over AS1851-2012.

AS1851-2012 glossary of terminology

  • Approved Design - the design of fire equipment and protection systems adhering to Australian Standards and has thus, been approved by local or state authorities who held jurisdiction at the time of system installation, testing, or modification.
  • Baseline Data - data derived from the approved original designs of fire equipment and protection systems. This data serves as a baseline or reference upon which fire safety technicians can make comparisons during future inspections, testing, or maintenance appointments.
  • Competent Person - a person who maintains all relevant licensing, qualifications, experience, and capabilities to perform all required maintenance, testing, inspection, and reporting tasks. 
  • Critical Defect – a physical or operational defect that inhibits an ESM from performing effectively in the event of a fire-related emergency. All critical defects must be reported and rectified immediately for your building or work premises to maintain AS1851 compliance.
  • Non-conformance – used to refer to any instance where an ESM is installed incorrectly or with missing components. Non-conformance typically won’t affect ESM operation, but may impact ESM effectiveness and will therefore need to be rectified in order to maintain AS1851 compliance. 
  • Non-critical Defect – a defect or fault that’s unlikely to critically affect system operation but should be rectified to reduce risks of non-conformance.
  • Inspection – the visual examination of all visible exterior components of fire equipment. This preliminary visual inspection is conducted to ensure that ESMs are correctly installed and are in good physical condition.
  • Preventative Maintenance – used to refer to any maintenance actions that may help to prevent non-conformance or critical defects.
  • Routine Service – servicing which occurs in accordance with AS1851’s outlined maintenance and testing requirements for all fire equipment. Routine Service typically refers to the testing and inspection of equipment every six months unless otherwise specified for that particular piece of fire safety equipment.
  • Shall – used to refer to a mandatory action that must be carried out by relevant Competent Persons.
  • Survey – a visual inspection to identify if any ESMs have been modified by any unauthorised or unlicensed parties or due to environmental or building alterations.
ESM Reporting in compliance with AS1851-2012 maintenance

What do you need to stay compliant with AS1851 standards?

In short, maintaining compliance with AS1851 standards requires building managers and business owners to stay up-to-date with maintenance, testing, inspection scheduling, and reporting in accordance with maintenance timelines for all the fire equipment and systems that can be found on-site. Practising a step-by-step approach can help simplify meeting AS1851 requirements during your fire equipment inspection appointments.

Here’s an overview of the four-stage approach outlined in Section 1 of AS1851-2012:

Stage 1 – Inspection

A physical inspection of all fire equipment and fire protection systems. This initial phase helps to detect any visible faults or signs of damage that may inhibit your ESMs from being effective in the event of a fire-related emergency.

Stage 2 – Testing

A technical inspection that involves controlled testing of all fire equipment and fire protection systems found on-site. These tests are vital to ensuring that all installed ESMs are operating correctly and can also be safely handled by personnel or building occupants in the event of a fire-related emergency.

Stage 3 – Maintenance

Carrying out routine maintenance and servicing requirements for all ESMs installed on the worksite or premises. This stage helps to ensure that all tested equipment can continue to perform at a standard that complies with AS1851.

Stage 4 – Record-keeping

Completing maintenance logbooks for all serviced fire equipment, as well as collating ESM reports. The record-keeping stage of ensuring AS1851 compliance will also typically include developing your AFSS report (or ‘annual fire safety statement’).

Inspecting fire safety system

What if your building isn't compliant with AS1851

As Australian state governments maintain their own legislation for AS1851, penalties for non-compliance can vary from fines and other legal liabilities to prison sentences in cases of gross negligence. Penalties can be severe on the basis that non-compliance with AS1851 can result in injuries, property damage, and in worst cases, the loss of life in the event of a fire-related emergency.

If you are found non-compliant, the best solution is to rectify any identified critical defects and non-conformance as promptly as possible and to secure an emergency testing and maintenance appointment with your local fire safety technicians.

Work with Alexon fire safety technicians to maintain AS1851 compliance

Maintaining AS1851 compliance is vital for ensuring the safety and wellbeing of your personnel or building residents and other occupants. Understanding all the requirements outlined in AS1851 and keeping track of maintenance schedules for all fire equipment and protection systems installed in your building or workplace is paramount to staying compliant.

If you’re looking to book fire equipment maintenance or testing services to help your building maintain its AS1851 compliance, then contact our team at Alexon to secure your next scheduled fire safety appointment. Call 1300 001 004 to book your appointment today.

Alexon team
Read More
Alexon news

Fire Suppression Systems: What's The Right Type For You?

May 30, 2023

Selecting a building’s essential safety measures requires a fair amount of strategic planning, both from building managers as well as fire safety specialists. It’s imperative to conduct a fire risk assessment and collate an assessment report that clearly outlines all the identified fire hazards within a worksite or building. The findings of this fire risk assessment can then provide more guidance alongside Australian Standards on the selection of effective ESMs for that particular environment.

The reason why a fire risk or safety assessment is required prior to finalising ESMs is simply that not all types of ESMs are designed to suppress all fire types. There are different ESMs for grease fires or cooking fires as opposed to paper or wood fires. On this same note, you wouldn’t put out an electrical fire with a fire hose, as adding water can not only ruin electrical equipment but also potentially result in an electric shock.

This raises the question of understanding which fire suppression systems are a good fit for your building? Our fire safety technicians at Alexon will be answering that question today by providing an overview of the most common types of fire suppression systems and giving examples as to where these systems would be most effective.

fire suppression systems

What is a fire suppression system?

As its name suggests, a fire suppression system is a system that’s designed to extinguish or suppress fires and uncontrolled flames within a building. Some fire suppression systems are even designed to prevent fires from occurring altogether.

The most common types of fire suppression systems that you’re likely to see include water-based fire sprinkler systems that are typically heat-activated and release water from its sprinkler heads. But there are a few more fire suppression systems that you may be less familiar with. 

Types of Fire Suppression Systems

The following are the fire suppression system types that we’ll be exploring today:

1. Water-based fire sprinkler systems

2. Water mist sprinkler systems

3. Foam deluge fire suppression systems

4. Dry chemical fire suppression systems

5. Gaseous fire suppression systems

1. Water-based fire sprinkler systems

As we mentioned, water-based sprinkler systems are amongst the most commonly utilised fire suppression systems today. These systems work by using pipes installed building-wide to direct a flow of water straight to an area that has triggered a sprinkler due to extreme heat.

The extreme heat activation mechanism usually involves the breaking of a glass bulb or ampule that covers a sprinkler head. This glass ampule is filled with a glycerin-based liquid that naturally expands when exposed to heat. The expansion then prompts the glass to break, which then opens the sprinkler head and allows for the flow of water.

Water sprinkler systems can be wet-pipe or dry-pipe (also known as pre-action valve) systems. The difference between these two system configurations is essentially that dry-pipe systems have a pre-action valve located between the water tank and system pipes. This valve must also be activated via a detector in order to open and allow water to flow from the tank and into the opened sprinkler heads.

Water sprinkler systems usually require buildings to have a dedicated water tank installed. The water pressure of your sprinkler system must also be tested annually as per Australian Fire Safety Standard AS2118.

2. Water mist sprinkler systems

This next one is fairly similar to your traditional water sprinkler systems, except for the fact that it utilises a water mist rather than a water spray, or a heavier stream of water. Water mist systems can be used as humidification systems in greenhouses, food stores, and other environments. They can also be effective alternatives to water spray sprinkler systems, catering particularly for work environments that house mechanical or electrical equipment that may become damaged when exposed to high levels of moisture.

Water mist systems come with a fair few advantages of their own, including reduced water consumption and the fact that they can work with smaller, lighter pipes, making installation of these systems fairly easy to complete. As water mist systems expel less water, they are usually also safe to use in fighting Class A & B fires, which are solid combustible materials and liquid chemical fires respectively. 

High-pressure water mist systems may also be used in kitchen environments and even environments with machinery, although there are still some risks with using water mist for electrical fires. Be sure to consult with your fire safety specialist to determine if a water mist system is the right fire suppression system for your building.

3. Foam deluge fire suppression systems

Instead of using water, foam deluge fire suppression systems utilise a chemical suppressant and water-based foam mixture to combat fires. The foam in question is designed to have a lower density than oil, gasoline, or water, allowing it to easily coat or blanket fires, with the foam’s moisture and air pockets effectively smothering open flames. It’s often referred to as ‘firefighting foam’. 

Foam deluge fire suppression systems can be used for Classes A, B, and F fires, these being fires originating from solid combustible materials, liquid materials, and cooking fats or oils. Foam deluge systems are, however, not effective for combating Class C, D, and E fires, these being fires originating from flammable gases, flammable metals, and electrical equipment respectively.

As foam deluge systems are reliant on retaining a balance between the chemical suppressant and water molecules in the foam mixture, servicing this fire equipment in accordance with AS1851 is absolutely critical for ensuring the effectiveness of these systems. 

4. Dry chemical fire suppression systems

Unlike foam deluge systems that utilise a moisture-rich chemical mixture, dry chemical fire suppression systems use a chemical powder to extinguish fires. Dry chemical fire suppression systems usually use the same chemical powders found in powder fire extinguishers. Monoammonium phosphate is the most commonly used chemical powder in dry chemical fire suppression systems in Australia.

Dry chemical fire suppression systems can be used to combat Class B and C fires, these being fires originating from flammable liquids like paint or petroleum, and fires originating from flammable gases like methane. So dry chemical suppression systems may also be useful for combating Class A solid combustible material fires, but this is dependent on the chemical powders that are used for your dry chemical system.

5. Gaseous fire suppression systems

If you’ve been thinking about the fact that none of the fire suppression systems outlined above actually work for electrical fires, then we thank you for staying with us this far. Pressurised gas fire suppression systems are the answer to the novel problem that is fighting electrical fires without causing further damage to plant and equipment, as well as to a building and its occupants. 

As you may have guessed, gaseous fire suppression systems work in a similar fashion to water-based systems, except instead of raining down water, they disperse gas as a means of reducing the oxygen supply in the affected areas. Carbon dioxide or CO2 gas is what’s most typically used in these fire suppression systems, however other inert gases like nitrogen and argon have also been used in recent years.

Rest assured that these composite gas suppressants are breathable, so reducing the oxygen availability in an affected area won’t cause any immediate adverse effects for occupants of that space. That being said, it’s best to proceed with the emergency evacuation protocol in your fire safety plan in the event that your gaseous fire suppression system is activated.

The Final Word

With a clearer understanding of these fire suppression systems, building managers should find it easier to engage with their building’s ESMs and develop an effective fire safety plan as well as tailored maintenance procedures for all your installed fire systems.

Want to inquire about securing an ideal fire suppression system for your building? Or are you looking for expert fire safety technicians to provide equipment testing, maintenance, or fire safety reporting services? Then simply contact the team at Alexon today. Our dedicated specialists are here to offer their assistance with all things fire safety.

Read More
Alexon news

AFSS/AESMR Meaning: What Is An 'Annual Fire Safety Statement'?

May 4, 2023

There are a lot of components that come into play when maintaining compliance with Australian building codes and fire safety compliance is no exception. In fact, ensuring that buildings are compliant with fire safety regulations is usually the top priority for body corporations.

As different essential safety measures (or ‘ESMs’) possess their own maintenance requirements, building managers are tasked with keeping maintenance schedules for their buildings that ensures all fire safety systems and equipment are kept in good working order. That’s where annual fire safety statements come into the picture. Also referred to as AFSS certification in New South Wales and an ‘Annual Essential Safety Measures Report’ or AESMR in Victoria, these annual statements are designed to prove your building’s fire safety compliance to your state building authority. But what is an annual fire safety statement exactly?

AFSS and AESMR statements are easy to organise, so long as building managers fulfil their responsibilities and are proactive with the process of securing their  annual fire safety certification.

So what do you need exactly to receive an AESMR for your building? And how do you know that all boxes have been ticked before your building can prove its compliance? We’ll be answering these questions as well as some of the other frequently asked questions surrounding AESMR and AFSS development today. Read on to learn a little more about how building managers and body corporations can uphold their responsibilities when it comes to annual fire safety certification.

The Meaning of AFSS/ AESMR

So what do you need exactly to receive an AESMR for your building? And how do you know that all boxes have been ticked before your building can prove its compliance? We’ll be answering these questions as well as some of the other frequently asked questions surrounding AESMR and AFSS development today. Read on to learn a little more about how building managers and body corporations can uphold their responsibilities when it comes to annual fire safety certification.

The follow are frequently asked queries when it comes to understanding AFSS/ AESMR:

  1. Who can provide an annual fire safety statement?
  2. How much does it cost to produce an annual fire safety statement?
  3. When will you need to present your annual fire safety statement?

1. Who can provide an annual fire safety statement?

As per Australian building regulations, only accredited fire safety technicians are authorised to provide building owners and managers with annual fire safety statements. This is because only fire safety technicians are qualified to assess whether or not your building’s essential safety measures are in good working order.

Your fire safety specialist can also provide you with your annual fire safety statement only after confirmation that all of the ESMs in your building have been deemed compliant with Australian fire safety standards. This means that you will need complete servicing and maintenance history for all the ESMs (including your emergency exit lighting and doorways) in your building in accordance with their individual maintenance requirements, as outlined by Australian Standards.

For example, if your building has been fitted with a fire sprinkler system, your AESMR can only be issued by your fire safety technician if records of its annual servicing appointment have been finalised, as AS1851 stipulates that these particular sprinkler systems be inspected at least once every 12 months. Testing and servicing can be confirmed by evaluating the maintenance log books or records kept for all the ESMs in your building.

AFSS/ AESMR meaning

2. How much does it cost to produce an annual fire safety statement?

The cost of procuring your annual fire safety statement is dependent on the number of ESMs requiring testing and fire safety certification. Naturally, larger buildings with more ESMs or fire suppression systems with a greater number of components, can expect their annual fire safety statement to be accompanied by a higher service fee.

Keep in mind that some fire safety specialists may provide offers or special service rates depending on the scope of your building’s fire safety service requirements. We recommend contacting your local fire safety specialists to place a formal inquiry regarding the costs of procuring an AESMR for your building, and any additional benefits that they may be able to offer (i.e. state-of-the-art tools or technology that streamlines the maintenance and testing of your fire safety equipment).

3. When will you need to present your annual fire safety statement?

Some states may require building managers to manually submit or lodge their AESMR every year through your state building authority as well as through local council offices. Manual lodgment of your AESMR is not required through the VBA in Victoria, but the VBA does stipulate that the annual essential safety measures report must be made available by building managers upon request from either their representatives or from members of your local fire safety authorities. Failure to produce your AESMR after 24 hours’ notice may result in you receiving a fine as well as an infringement notice.

Building owners are also required to ensure that a copy of the building’s current AESMR and the building’s fire safety schedule are prominently displayed in the building itself. Note that different penalties are given in different states for failure to comply with these regulations.

Summary of AFSS/ AESMR

Whether you’re looking to procure an annual fire safety statement in NSW, an AESMR in Victoria, a ‘Schedule 16, Form 3’ in South Australia, or an Occupier’s Statement in Queensland, there’s no denying that these state-regulated annual fire safety statements is a crucial component of fire safety compliance for body corporations and buildings located across the country. Building managers are responsible for ensuring that this fire safety statement is available at the request of both your state building regulatory body, as well as your local fire authority and council offices.

Working with dedicated fire safety technicians like our team at Alexon can help you stay on top of your ESM maintenance, allowing you to promptly finalise your AFSS or AESMR with every calendar year. If you’re looking to produce detailed essential safety measure reports to help fulfil all the AESMR certification requirements for your building, contact our team at Alexon today.

Read More
Alexon news

What Are Essential Safety Measures? A Guide For Owners Corporations

Apr 21, 2023

What are essential safety measures? With more large commercial buildings and multi-storey residences being developed across Melbourne’s inner city suburbs, there is a growing number of residents and business owners living and operating in buildings managed by body corporates or owners corporations. These building management bodies are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of all building features and facilities that are considered common property  including ESMs, or ‘Essential Safety Measures’.

For strata managers, being aware of your building’s unique ESM configurations and maintenance timelines is crucial for keeping your building compliant with industry regulations, as outlined by both the Victorian Building Authority and the National Construction Code. Australian fire safety standards have also been developed to provide owners corporations with outlined installation and maintenance requirements for different types of ESMs that may be found in modern commercial and multi-storey residential buildings.

Our fire safety technicians here at Alexon have had extensive experience with the installation, servicing, and testing of ESMs across a range of both residential and commercial buildings. We’ve utilised our experience to provide the following guide on ESMs to be used by both strata managers.

Read on for some expert answers to some of the most common questions we receive about ESMs.

What are Essential Safety Measures? Read on for more!

Our fire safety technicians here at Alexon have had extensive experience with the installation, servicing, and testing of ESMs across a range of both residential and commercial buildings. We’ve utilised our experience to provide the following guide on ESMs to be used by both strata managers.

Read on for some expert answers to some of the most common questions we receive about Essential Safety Measures:

1. What are essential safety measures?
2. Who is responsible for maintaining ESMs?
3. What goes into an annual ESM report?
4. What happens if your building is deemed to be non-compliant?

1. What are Essential Safety Measures?

Essential Safety Measures are effectively any safety equipment or feature required by law in a building to protect occupants in the event of a fire-related emergency. Virtually all fire protection equipment and systems – from fire sprinkler systems to fire blankets – falls under the umbrella of ESMs.

ESMs also include fire safety features or architectural fixtures that are found in the building. In other words, fire doors, stairways, and fire exits (as well as the signage and lighting for these features) are also considered to be ESMs, and come with their own regulatory requirements. For example, all fire stairways, doorways, and exits are required by law to be kept free from obstructions to ensure the safe and prompt evacuation of building occupants in the event of a fire-related emergency.

What are essential safety measures?

2. Who is responsible for maintaining ESMs?

As body corporates are responsible for maintaining common property (i.e. property that does not belong to any individual strata title owners), they are also responsible for the maintenance of ESMs that can be classified as ‘common property’. These are ESMs that can be found in common areas like car parks, foyers, elevators, staircases, on the building’s rooftop, and any shared facilities (i.e. gyms, kitchens, pools, etc.) within the building.

The costs associated with the installation of new ESMs in the building, as well as the repairs, maintenance, and testing of existing ESMs, must all be covered by annual strata fees and sinking fund levies. If emergency repairs are ever required, it’s the responsibility of body corporates to provide notice in writing to all strata title owners that a special levy will need to be paid by title owners to cover the costs of these repairs.

Although owners corporations are responsible for maintaining the ESMs in common areas, it is the responsibility of individual strata title owners to ensure that the ESMs located on their strata lot are kept in good working order. Owner occupiers and landlords are responsible for maintaining smoke alarms that are located on their strata titles, as well as any other fire protection equipment that may not be connected to a building-wide system. This does not include fire sprinklers or any other fire protection equipment or features that have been provided by the building, as these ESMs are also considered to be common property and are thus, the responsibility of your strata management team.

3. What goes into an annual ESM report?

One other question that our technicians are often asked when performing installation and maintenance jobs is how strata managers can provide evidence that their buildings are compliant with industry regulations. Upon the completion of maintenance or servicing appointments for your ESMs, your fire safety technicians should provide you with a certification for all of the ESMs that have been serviced and deemed to be compliant with Australian Standards.

For individual ESMs, your fire safety technicians will provide summaries of the maintenance and testing conducted in the form of fire protection equipment logbooks. These logbooks can either be a physical record from each routine servicing appointment, or electronic files sent from your fire safety technicians through to your body corporation via email. At Alexon, we use Uptick software to provide a highly streamlined reporting and logbook entry process.

The records in your fire protection equipment logbooks should include the following information: 

  • An ID number for that maintenance record
  • The date on which that maintenance was carried out
  • The name of the building or site
  • The name of the building owner or strata management company
  • The frequency of maintenance undertaken
  • Any defects that have been identified in the maintenance of that ESM
  • The type of system or equipment that had been serviced or installed
  • The location of that system or piece of equipment within the building
  • The name and signature of the fire safety specialist that completed the maintenance or repair work

There is more to fire safety reporting than just providing logbook entries. Building owners are also responsible for collating ESM annual safety reports, these being reports that outline all of the installation, maintenance, and testing that has been conducted within that given year. ESM annual reports are used by your local fire authorities or building surveyor’s offices to determine whether all the ESMs in your building are adhering to the maintenance requirements outlined in the Australian Standards, such as AS1851, that pertain to that particular equipment or fire safety system.

Working with fully licensed and qualified fire safety specialists will help ensure that your ESM logbooks and annual reports are consistent and presented in full detail. These records can then be shared with your local fire authorities and municipal building surveyors to prove that your building is adhering to the regulations outlined within the Building Codes of Australia. Both your local fire authorities and building surveyor’s offices have the right to request a copy of both your ESM logbooks as well as your most recent annual report with just 24 hours notice for building managers. For this reason, it is absolutely imperative that strata managers keep their ESM annual reports up-to-date and stay on top of the maintenance schedules for each of their building’s ESMs.

4. What happens if your building is deemed to be non-compliant?

Just as it is the role of the owners corporation to ensure all building ESMs are compliant with Australian Standards, it’s also the responsibility of strata managers to accept penalties if a building is ever deemed to be non-compliant. In these rare instances, local fire authorities and municipal industry offices may provide owners corporations with an infringement notice as well as a fine.

In some instances, non-compliance may also result in heftier fines if the risks to building occupants and occupants in adjoining buildings is considered to be high. Prolonged failure to comply may even result in prosecution, as non-compliance already opens your building up to litigation on the grounds of negligence.

The Final Word

Still stuck on understanding what are essential safety measures? We can help. Although owners corporations play a vital role in the maintenance of ESMs, all technical aspects of the servicing and testing of your building’s fire protection equipment and systems must be taken on by qualified fire safety specialists. This is where our team at Alexon comes into play.

With over twenty years of experience, our team at Alexon is equipped to provide tailored fire safety solutions across residential and commercial settings. We are one of Melbourne’s premier providers of fire safety services and are proud to do our part in keeping this city and all of its residents safe.

Melbourne-based strata managers are advised to contact our team of fire safety experts today to ensure that you can reap full advantage of our top-tier ESM reporting capabilities as well as all the other exceptional fire safety services that we provide here at Alexon. 

Read More
Alexon news

10 Australian Fire Safety Standards For Building Compliance‍

Feb 28, 2023

There are stringent requirements for ensuring that inner city residential and commercial buildings maintain compliance with Building Codes of Australia. Although there are hundreds of Australian standards to follow when constructing residential and commercial buildings, there are only a few you’ll need to keep in mind once a structure has been built. Australian fire safety standards are amongst these few.

Fire safety is an ongoing concern both in regional areas as well as the city centres. Although residents and citizens can do their part in keeping their homes safe from the risk of bushfires and other fire-related events, it is ultimately the responsibility of business owners and strata managers to ensure that commercial and multi-storey residential buildings are compliant within the Australian fire safety standards.

The 10 Australian Fire Safety Standards For Building Compliance

Whilst working with dedicated fire safety technicians can help strata managers identify the Australian standards pertaining to their building, it’s always a good idea to understand these fire safety standards for yourself . To help, our technicians at Alexon have outlined 10 of the most important Australian fire safety standards for ensuring building compliance in chronological order. Be sure to display information of all relevant fire safety standards in your building or on your workplace premises to help further support your regulatory compliance. 

The 10 important Australian Fire Safety Standards to know are:

  1. AS/NZS1221 - Fire hose reels
  2. AS1670 - Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems
  3. AS1850 - Portable fire extinguishers
  4. AS1851 - Maintenance of fire protection equipment
  5. AS1905 - Fire-resistant doorsets
  6. AS2118 - Automatic fire sprinkler systems
  7. AS2419 - Fire hydrants
  8. AS/NZS3504 - Fire blankets
  9. AS3772 - Fire protection of cooking areas
  10. AS4214 - Gaseous fire suppression systems 

1. AS/NZS1221 - Fire hose reels

AS/NZS1221 outlines the maintenance requirements for fire hose reels in commercial and multi-storey residential buildings. According to this particular Australian standard for fire safety, maintenance for fire hose reels must be carried out every six months in order to maintain compliance and make sure that your reels perform as required in the event of a fire-related emergency. Maintenance for reels includes a test flow to gauge water flow pressures, as well as a physical inspection of equipment to check that all couplings, joints, the spray nozzle, and other components are connected and free of damage.

2. AS1670 - Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems

AS1603 and AS1670 are two important Australian fire safety standards that strata managers should be familiar with. While AS1603 defines the design and manufacturing standards for fire detection and warning systems, AS1670 outlines the installation requirements for these systems. Therefore, it is essential for strata managers to comply with the installation and testing requirements for their fire alarm systems, as stipulated in AS1670.

Moreover, during system testing, fire safety specialists will ensure that all hardware installed in the building complies with both AS1670 and AS1603 standards. This is crucial for ensuring the effectiveness of the fire safety systems in case of an emergency. Therefore, strata managers should make sure that their building's fire safety systems are not only installed and tested in accordance with AS1670 but also comply with the manufacturing standards outlined in AS1603. This also applies to fire alarms in the workplace.

3. AS1850 - Portable fire extinguishers

AS1850 outlines the six different classifications for portable fire extinguishers, as well as the individual rating and performance testing requirements for each type. If you have a diagram of the six different types of extinguishers and their effectiveness across different classes of fires (from Class A carbonaceous fires to Class F fires ignited by cooking oils or fats) hanging in your workplace, then you can bet all the information provided in that diagram was taken directly from this particular Australian standards for fire safety. 

Any business owners who are utilising water, chemical, foam, carbon dioxide, or vaporising liquid extinguishers should consult AS1850 for further information on the testing and maintenance requirements of their extinguisher to ensure compliance. 

Australian fire safety standards

4. AS1851 - Maintenance of fire protection equipment

AS1851 refers to a wide range of different essential safety measures (ESMs) and the individual testing, maintenance, and record-keeping requirements for virtually all fire protection equipment included in your building. AS1851 makes mention of hose reel systems, extinguishers, blankets, gaseous and water mist systems, doors, alarms, and an assortment of other commonly used fire detection and suppression equipment. 

Because of the wide range of maintenance information provided in AS1851, it’s very common to see this particular Australian fire safety standard displayed in workplaces by your fire safety officer, and the office space of your strata manager. Even if your workplace or building does not include all the fire protection equipment outlined in AS1851, having this collection of information will certainly come in handy, especially for commercial buildings which may house a range of different businesses.

5. AS1905 - Fire-resistant doorsets

Fire-resistant doorsets as defined in AS1905, are used to protect openings in fire-resistant walls or partitions that are required in buildings to inhibit the spread of fire. Fire doors are also installed in alignment with standards outlined in AS1905 to facilitate the safe passage of building occupants in the event of a fire.

Fire-resistant doors can also be smoke-resistant, or effective barriers to the spread of smoke for a specified period of time. All fire-resistant door frames, door leafs, locks, grilles, exterior panelling, and other components must also adhere to the regulatory standards as outlined in AS1905.

6. AS2118 - Automatic fire sprinkler systems

AS2118 specifies the manufacturing, installation, and testing requirements for automatic fire sprinkler systems. AS2118 also provides further information on the types of sprinkler heads and other classifications that building managers should consider when identifying the most ideal sprinkler system for their building. 

Keep in mind that not all of the specifications outlined in AS2118 are mandatory to maintain regulatory compliance. For instance, revisions of AS2118 over the past few years have included a focus on water conservation, achieved by using a recirculation tank for reusing water during sprinkler control valve testing. This particular standard also does not cover compliance requirements for water mist fire protection systems, which are instead covered by AS4587. 

7. AS2419 - Fire hydrants

Accompanying AS/NZS1221, AS2419 outlines the wider design, installation, and commissioning and testing requirements for fire hydrant systems used to protect buildings, structures, storage yards, marinas, wharves, and fabrication plants. Alongside manufacturing and installation requirements for hydrants outlined by AS2419, AS1851 (mentioned above) states that hydrant systems should be inspected and tested at least once every six months to maintain building compliance. Hydrant flow tests are to be conducted once every five years, but can be conducted earlier if a building strata manager or fire safety officer deems it necessary. Testing should be conducted imminently if your hydrant system shows any signs of damage or faults. 

8. AS/NZS3504 - Fire blankets

Fire blankets are commonly used in commercial environments that contain food preparation areas and are thus likely to experience Class A, Class B (flammable liquid), and/or Class F fires. Fire blankets are an effective fire suppression measure that extinguishes these three classes of fires by smothering the flames underneath the fire blanket material. AS/NZS3504 stipulates the manufacturing and design standards for effective fire blankets, alongside outlining the ideal location and placement of fire blankets in commercial kitchen and factory settings. 

9. AS3772 - Fire protection of cooking areas

Drawing on from AS/NZS3504’s overview of the correct production, placement, and utilisation of fire blankets, AS3772 takes a wider view of all fire protection considerations to be made in cooking areas and for cooking equipment. This relates to commercial kitchen spaces that can be found in cafes, restaurants, and food production and packaging facilities, office kitchens and break rooms, as well as common space cooking areas that are located in multi-storey residential buildings such as apartment complexes.

10. AS4214 - Gaseous fire suppression systems

For commercial buildings that house delicate electrical components or other contents that cannot be exposed to water or foam-based fire suppression equipment, gaseous fire suppression systems are used to remove the risks of gross financial loss that may occur due to water damage in the event of a fire. As the development and installation of gaseous fire suppression systems are quite distinct from water-based sprinkler systems, AS4214 was designed to specifically outline the unique regulatory requirements for maintaining these specialised systems. Gaseous fire suppression systems are most commonly found in networking data centres, electrical or chemical plants, electronics manufacturing facilities, and other facilities that work with computers and other electrical equipment. 

The Final Word

Once again, there are hundreds of building and construction standards alongside fire safety standards, such as emergency lighting standards. While builders are responsible for complying with construction standards, such as the installation of fire-resistant cladding and insulation, it is the responsibility of strata managers and building owners to ensure that all fire equipment, infrastructure, and other essential safety measures (ESMs) on their premises are regularly tested and maintained in compliance with Australian fire safety standards and fire regulations.

Working with Alexon can help ensure that all of your fire safety equipment and other ESMs are kept in good working condition, and that any potential concerns are diagnosed and addressed promptly with Australian fire safety standards in mind. 

If you’d like to organise any equipment testing or electrical services with the fire safety technicians at Alexon, simply contact us today at 1300 001 004 to schedule your appointment. You can reach us via phone or by filling out our enquiry form to receive further information and a no-obligation quote on any of our fire safety services. 

See Also: Understanding Strata Fire Safety Compliance Plans

Read More
Alexon news

Understanding Emergency Lighting Standards: The Path To Safety

Jan 20, 2023

Understanding emergency lighting standards and providing clear signage to indicate the location of building exits is an essential safety requirement for all Australian commercial and residential buildings. The definition of building exits for Australian fire safety standards includes all external doors as well as fire stairways, fire escapes, ramps, enclosed passageways, and all other means of egress from the building that are safe and accessible to the public.

Just as all exits are required to boast exit signage, all emergency exits come with their own unique requirements for ensuring regulatory compliance. For instance, fire stairways must be kept clear of obstructions to boost efficiency and maintain the safety of evacuation procedures. Similarly, all emergency exit lighting in your building requires routine maintenance and testing performed in accordance with Australian & New Zealand Standards (AS/NZS 2293). 

In truth, regularly testing and replacing emergency lighting is just as crucial to ensuring building safety as scheduling routine fire equipment maintenance appointments. So what maintenance requirements should Australian building managers and business owners be aware of? 

Understanding Emergency Lighting Standards

Our fire safety technicians here at Alexon have used their industry know-how to provide an overview of Australian emergency lighting standards in order to illuminate the process of maintaining regulatory compliance. Read on to unearth answers to some of the most common questions surrounding emergency lighting standards.

View our frequently asked questions when it comes to understanding emergency lighting standards:

  1. How are emergency light fittings classified?
  2. How often should your fittings be inspected?
  3. How to maintain compliance with Australian emergency lighting standards

1.How are emergency light fittings classified?

Just as fire extinguishers and other fire equipment are accompanied by their own unique classifications, so too are emergency lights. Classifications for emergency light fittings include numeric and alphabetical elements, varying from anywhere between a Class A and Class E fitting, with this alphabetical classification then being followed up by a numeric value that generally ranges between 1-180 to represent degrees on an axis. 

The alphabetical value of a light fitting classification refers to the five different classes of photometric light distribution curves. Contrastingly, the numeric value refers to the lux requirements (or illumination intensity) for that particular light distribution curve. In other words, the higher the alphabetic and numeric value, the greater the lux intensity of that light fitting.

Some emergency exits may come with their own requirements surrounding light fitting classifications. For example, emergency exits like enclosed passageways with no natural light availability boast emergency lighting standards that require a minimum of 1 lux. On the other hand, open air evacuation points may possess more modest emergency light standards, opting instead for a combination of 0.5 lux lighting and reflective signage for directing evacuators in both daylight and evening low light conditions. 

The placement of emergency light fittings can also be determined by their lux intensity. If a single emergency light is bright enough that it’s visible from the end of a passageway, for instance, then it’s unlikely that you’ll need to install a secondary light to maintain compliance. If that emergency light isn’t visible, however, a secondary installation may be required. If in doubt, we recommend consulting with a commercial electrician that’s experienced with the installation of emergency light fittings.

emergency lighting standards

2.How often should your fittings be inspected?

By Australian Standards (AS/NZS 2293.2-1995), all emergency lighting and signage should be inspected at least once every 6 months. These inspections should include lamp flicker tests, swapping out any bulbs that are deemed defective or have surpassed their usable lifespan, and the conducting of a 90 minute electrical discharge test. This test involves an electrical technician powering off the battery charger for all emergency lighting in order to simulate a power outage for a period of 90 minutes.

Australian emergency lighting standards stipulate that lights should be able to retain illumination in the face of power outages, allowing building occupants to find their way out of buildings in the event of electrical grid failures, adverse weather, and other emergency situations that may result in your building’s power being cut. Therefore, emergency lighting systems are powered by an isolated battery off the main circuit. This places the  90 minute discharge test amongst the most essential safety measures for all Australian commercial and residential businesses. 

Alongside these 6-monthly inspections, emergency lighting standards also stipulate that light fittings and reflective surfaces are cleaned and generally maintained at least once every 12 months. This is to ensure that your emergency lighting systems and signage are clearly visible in all light conditions.

3.How to maintain compliance with Australian emergency lighting standards

As you can imagine, keeping a strict testing and maintenance schedule to ensure your emergency lighting stays in good working order, is integral to maintaining compliance with Australian emergency lighting standards. This is why enlisting the assistance of specialised lighting technicians and building safety professionals is a non-negotiable for all modern Australian building managers and business owners. 

Considering light classifications and lux intensity requirements for select settings is also crucial for maintaining regulatory compliance. Alongside this, building managers are required to develop at least two separate emergency evacuation routes for their building to be compliant. This is to ensure that traffic moves promptly and the building can be cleared with minimal disruption in the event of an emergency evacuation. 

The Final Word

As leading providers of fire protection services in Melbourne, Alexon is designed to be your first point of call for both the assurance of emergency lighting standard compliance as well as any and all other concerns you may have about your building’s fire and emergency systems. With impeccable, transparent processes, thorough inspection reporting, and only the most experienced and knowledgeable fire safety technicians on our team, you can be rest assured to receive the results you seek with each and every scheduled emergency lighting inspection, as well as all other services we offer here at Alexon.

Contact the Alexon team today via our website or call at 1300 001 004 to book your next emergency lighting inspection.

ensuring emergency lighting standards
Read More
Alexon news

Body Corp Basics: Understanding Strata Fire Safety Compliance Plans

Dec 8, 2022

Upholding strata fire safety compliance can be one of the most complicated components of managing a strata scheme situated in the inner city. This is even with Australian Standards set in place to ensure fire safety equipment is maintained consistently and is fit for use.

This is generally because the strata plans that make up the city of Melbourne are quite unique, to say the very least, and range from townhouses, ground floor units, and multi-level apartment complexes, amongst many others. Naturally, the fire safety requirements of one complex aren’t likely to be identical to another.

Understanding Strata Fire Safety Compliance Plans

So how can strata managers ensure that the Fire Safety Schedule as outlined in their body corporate’s documents, is perfectly suited to protect your strata scheme? Today, our fire safety specialists at Alexon will be sharing all their expert knowledge on maintaining strata fire safety compliance plans, to support both strata managers and owners corporation committees in keeping their complex and its community safe year-round. 

This is how to ensure you maintain your strata fire safety compliance plans:

1. Submit AFSS & Fire Safety Certificates

2. Develop your strata scheme’s Fire Safety Schedule

3. Consider essential fire safety measures

4. Understand the penalties that apply for non-compliance

strata fire safety compliance

1. Submit AFSS and Fire Safety Certificates to ensure strata fire safety compliance

According to Australian Standard AS3876, all buildings must be fitted with a working smoke alarm on every level and positioned in proximity to all bedrooms and living room spaces. Although strata title owners are responsible for replacing dead batteries in their smoke alarms, strata managers are responsible for ensuring that these smoke alarms are serviced annually, alongside all other fire systems installed within their strata plan at the time of its registration with council offices.

An Annual Fire Safety Statement (or ‘AFSS’) must be submitted by strata managers every year for the purpose of confirming that all fire safety systems and equipment installed upon registration of a strata plan are in good working condition. The AFSS should be submitted to your local council offices and to your local fire safety authorities to be reviewed by qualified personnel. It’s common for your local authorities to charge an administrative fee to body corporations upon receiving or following the review of their submitted AFSS.

Unlike the AFSS that must be submitted annually, Fire Safety Certificates are generally issued only upon completion of a building development, following preliminary fire safety inspections conducted by an accredited fire safety specialist. This practitioner then submits their inspection report to local council offices in order for that new development to receive its Fire Safety Certificate. Fire Safety Certificates must be reissued if any new fire safety systems or equipment are installed in that building. Fire Safety Certification can be revoked if strata managers fail to submit the AFSS or other supplementary documentation required to maintain certification for that calendar year.

2. Develop your strata scheme’s Fire Safety Schedule

Now that you have a solid understanding of the AFSS and how it relates to Fire Safety Certification for your strata plan, let’s take a closer look at developing Fire Safety Schedules (or ‘FSS’). The FSS for your strata plan is a sort of maintenance checklist designed to ensure that all fire safety systems and equipment that can be found throughout each lot and in common areas of your strata scheme, are tested annually and are included in your AFSS. 

As your FSS will largely be shaped by the fire safety equipment and systems installed in and around your strata scheme, you’ll find that these schedules can differ greatly from complex to complex. For instance, a complex of free-standing units or townhouses that are all fitted with their own smoke alarms will have a fairly simplistic FSS. Contrastingly, a multi-level apartment complex with smoke alarms in every strata lot, a fire hose reel in the carpark, and a sprinkler system that runs across all floors, will be accompanied by a lengthier safety schedule.

strata fire safety schedule

3. Consider essential fire safety measures

As you can see, the bulk of responsibilities surrounding maintaining fire safety compliance for strata managers revolves around making sure that all fire safety systems and equipment adhere to strict maintenance schedules. That being said, there are naturally additional safety measures that must be considered in order to ensure that your strata fire safety compliance plan and all of the lots that make it up, are as safe as possible for title holders.

For starters, strata managers are encouraged to consider whether additional fire safety systems or equipment is required to support fire safety for their strata plan. Would your strata plan benefit from the installation of a fire hose reel to be used on common property? Should there be access to a fire extinguisher in common areas? Do emergency exit lighting or signage need to be installed?

If your strata scheme doesn’t possess shared amenities like a building lobby, car parks, swimming pools, or fitness facilities, then chances are that you don’t require too much fire equipment installed on your strata scheme aside from smoke alarms and perhaps a sprinkler system. However, if these larger amenities, rooms, or buildings comprise your common property, then these fire safety systems and equipment must be installed in these areas, alongside clear informational signage outlining how the equipment must be used. Similarly, fire exits or staircases are required on all multi-storey residential buildings, alongside clear emergency exit signage. 

4. Understand the penalties that apply for non-compliance

There are many potential penalties for failing to remain compliant with Australian fire safety requirements for strata plans. If your strata manager fails to submit your AFSS to local council and fire safety authorities, they may receive fines of up to $110,000 by authorities for non-compliance. Strata managers may even be prosecuted if steps are not taken to maintain strata fire safety compliance following the issue of fines. 

Alongside this, non-compliance may result in strata managers being liable for potential lawsuits by strata title holders or even civilians who may accrue injuries during incidents where fire safety equipment had failed or had not been provided. 

body corporate fire safety compliance

The Final Word

In truth, maintaining compliance with fire safety standards for strata schemes isn’t too far removed from the essential fire safety measures that are practised by commercial building owners and managers, or even the safety measures you use every day in your own household. Regardless of whether your strata plan is a multi-level complex or a subdivided plot of land for two or three units alone, maintaining strata fire safety compliance is best achieved by sticking with the maintenance schedules for all your fire safety equipment and following maintenance expectations as outlined by Australian Standards. 

See Also: Fire Alarms In The Workplace

Fire Safety Plan For Inner City Buildings

Read More
Alexon news

Fire Alarms In The Workplace: What Business Owners Need To Know‍

Oct 27, 2022

Fire safety is an essential component of maintaining workplace health and safety regulations across all industries. Regardless of whether your company primarily works out of a warehouse, office space, or conducts business operations across multiple locations, business owners have an obligation to invest in fire alarms in the workplace, both in order to support the safety of their workforce, and to make sure that their company stays compliant with Australian workplace health and safety standards, and is not at risk of receiving penalisations, sanctions, or other legal repercussions. 

Fire Alarms in the Workplace: A Guide

In order to maintain compliance with WHS standards and any industry safety regulations, business owners are required to schedule both fire alarm installations alongside investing in additional fire systems and equipment for their workplaces. Today, our fire safety specialists here at Alexon will be providing in-depth information surrounding the installation and maintenance of fire alarms and other basic fire equipment in Australian workplaces. Read on to learn more about your obligations as a business owner when it comes to fire safety in the workplace. 

Today we will cover the following when it comes to fire alarms in the workplace:

  1. Installation checklist
  2. Maintaining your smoke alarms
  3. Other fire equipment required
fire alarms in the worklace

1. Installation checklist for fire alarms

Although setting up fire alarms in your workplace must be conducted by installation specialists, it’s still valuable for business owners to develop a good understanding of what they can expect from the installation process. With this in mind, our fire safety specialists have provided a basic sample installation checklist used to conduct the installation of hardwired fire alarms in the workplace:

  • Access building switchboard in order to turn off electricity
  • Access ceiling space in outlined installation locations
  • Use joints and beams for support when accessing ceiling space
  • Conduct isolation, lockout, and tag out procedures
  • Conduct risk assessment prior to alarm installation
  • Assess building insulation to be certain that no conductive materials are present, or that conductive materials are not energised
  • Assess building materials in ceiling space for signs of asbestos
  • Install bracket for fire alarm
  • Install fire alarm
  • Turn on electricity at the switchboard
  • Test fire alarm
  • Issue certificate for installation completion and testing

If your fire alarm will be connected up to additional fire safety equipment like a sprinkler  system, then ensure that your fire safety specialists test connections between these fixtures, alongside providing maintenance timelines for both systems. Workplace smoke and fire alarms should also never be covered or disconnected. If you suspect that any of your fire alarms are experiencing faults due to excessive or unprompted beeping, consult with your fire safety electricians and organise for the alarms to be assessed and serviced or replaced, if need be.

2. Maintaining your smoke alarms after workplace installation

Your smoke alarms should be tested annually in accordance with Australian standards for fire safety to ensure that they stay in good working order and are prepared in the event of fire in the workplace. Like your initial fire alarm installation, fire alarm testing should be carried out by fire safety specialists and experienced fire alarm and smoke detector inspectors. Your fire safety specialists should test your smoke alarms and other workplace fire equipment in accordance with the Australian Standards AS 1851-2012.

Heat or smoke-activated sprinkler systems should also be maintained and serviced alongside standalone smoke or fire alarms. Business owners should ensure that the fire safety specialists or electricians they enlist to conduct the maintenance of these dynamic approach systems have experience working with and servicing these particular system configurations. 

Failure to maintain your workplace fire alarms and other fire systems may result in penalties and other legal repercussions due to breaches of workplace health and safety regulations alongside potential building code violations for commercial building owners and managers. 

fire alarms in the workplace

3. Other fire equipment required for WHS

Fire alarms or smoke detectors are truly just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to investing in fire safety. As per WorkSafe Victoria’s Compliance Code for workplace amenities and the work environment, all Victorian workplaces are expected to be fitted with the following fire safety resources and equipment:

  • Fully functional and portable fire extinguishers and/or fire blankets
  • Smoke hazard management (i.e. ventilation or air filtration systems)
  • Emergency and exit lighting
  • Fire warning signs and signs highlighting the locations of fire equipment 
  • Signage outlining workplace emergency procedures

If you’re working in an industrial environment, you may also benefit from installing a fire hose reel and other fire safety infrastructure to be used by firefighters if needed. Emergency contact information for local fire authorities, your local hospital, and other relevant services should also be displayed throughout your workplace, including in employee break areas, and in all other areas where emergency procedures have been displayed. 

Our Fire Safety Summary

Our fire safety specialists at Alexon have been providing exceptional installation, maintenance, and system maintenance reporting services across a range of both commercial and industrial settings. With over 20 years of diverse experience, our fire safety specialists are well-versed in the installation, servicing, and maintenance of an array of fire safety systems and equipment. 

When you call on Alexon, you can be rest assured that our fire safety specialists are equipped with all the necessary tools, equipment, and industry information to ensure that your workplace fire alarms, extinguishers, fire blankets, and all other fire safety equipment and installed systems are kept in good working order and are ready for anything, whether it be your workplace’s next fire drill or a genuine fire emergency. 

Want to book a fire alarm installation or system maintenance appointment for your workplace? Contact the team at Alexon in order to book your installation and servicing request now. 

alexon for your workplace

See Also: Fire Safety Plans For Inner City Buildings

Read More
Alexon news

How To Develop A Fire Safety Plan For Inner City Buildings

Sep 8, 2022

With Australia’s urban centres being more densely populated than ever before, developing fire safety procedures has become a matter of utmost importance for all responsible building managers, developers, and residents alike. Having a succinct and effective fire safety plan in place alongside installing fire alarms as well as other fire safety measures, can help to not only mitigate risks of fires occurring in your building, but also ensure that your building occupants maintain the strongest chances possible for evacuating in the unlikely event that a fire does occur. 

How To Develop A Fire Safety Plan For Inner City Buildings

Today, we’ll be sharing some fire safety tips specifically for residential and commercial inner city buildings. Our own fire safety specialists here at Alexon will also be providing some information surrounding fire safety protocol and regulations so that both inner city building residents and building managers can be fully informed on fire safety standards and how their building can maintain compliance. 

The steps to develop a fire safety plan are:

  1. Ensure the building's ESMs are up-to-date on maintenance
  2. Establish a clear building evacuation plan
  3. Run fire drills with all building occupants
  4. Place fire safety information on all floors

1. Ensure the building’s ESMs are up-to-date on maintenance

First and foremost, any modern fire safety plan should naturally include fire equipment testing and routine equipment maintenance. Maintaining all of your active fire protection (or AFP) equipment is foundational to developing a good fire safety plan for your building, simply because virtually all instances where your building could experience a fire will call for the utilisation of fire equipment. 

Fire equipment, like fire extinguishers and smoke alarms, is also one of the most important ESMs (or ‘Essential Safety Measures’) that your building will require. Other ESMs will actually work in conjunction with your building’s fire equipment. For example, ESMs all stipulate that alongside all buildings being fitted with fire exits on every floor, all fire doors must also be kept closed, unlocked, and clear of obstructions at all times. 

If you’re a tenant in a residential building or even a business owner in a commercial building and have reason to believe that your building is fitted with faulty fire equipment or a failure to maintain other ESMs, then you’re encouraged to alert the issue to your building managers. If your building managers fail to rectify the situation in a timely manner, they may be in breach of urban fire safety laws and could be issued a fine from your local council or the Fire Authority. 

2. Establish a clear building evacuation plan

Although fire safety procedures are vital to healthy and secure living in all inner city spaces, these plans become increasingly essential in high-rise buildings or buildings with multiple storeys. The reason for this is simply because fire or emergency evacuation processes can naturally become more complicated when elevators, escalators, or staircases are involved. This is precisely why all inner city buildings are expected to develop and maintain an emergency evacuation plan that can be used in the event of fires or other emergencies like natural disasters. 

Your building’s evacuation plan should also be printed and posted in full detail on every floor of your building so that all occupants can familiarise themselves with the fire safety procedures they are expected to follow. Copies of your evacuation processes should also be clearly displayed with large graphics and in simple English by fire exits and in foyers for any guests who may be visiting the building as well as existing building occupants. 

3. Run fire drills with all building occupants

Having a building evacuation plan in place is one thing, but making sure that all your building’s occupants know just how to act in the event of a fire, is a whole other task on its own. That’s why it’s a requirement that all buildings or facilities conduct fire drills at least once annually. If your building houses a business that possesses a higher fire risk (such as a workshop, factory, or even a hospitality business), then your industry standards may require multiple fire drills to be conducted annually. 

On top of being a highly essential component in your building’s fire safety plan, running fire drills is also a superb way of staying on top of your ESMs and their maintenance requirements. If you experience faults with sirens or alarms during your fire drill, then you can take note of these during your drill with minimal fuss. These faults can then be easily rectified by fire safety electricians proactively rather than retroactively. 

4. Place fire safety information on all floors

Alongside knowing how to act in the event of a fire, your building’s occupants should also maintain strong personal fire safety themselves by following fire safety tips or best practices for lighting fires in domestic or commercial settings. For instance, if your building is fitted with air conditioning units or ducted heating, then providing occupants with written information on how to help mitigate fire risks when using these fixtures, can also help support your building’s fire safety strategies. 

Conscientious building managers could take measures to provide new residents or building occupants with fire safety tips and other documents that can help maintain their building’s impeccable fire safety measures. And this information doesn’t necessarily have to come in the form of printed pamphlets. Even digital safety resources for new residents or building occupants could help maintain responsible fire safety throughout your building. 

If you can ensure that both your building evacuation plan and recommended fire safety tips are provided to new residents or occupants, then you’ll know that you’ve done your due diligence as a building manager.

The Final Word

With all the fire safety tips and fire risk mitigation strategies we’ve shared and outlined above, chances are you’ll be leaving this little guide with a lot to think about. But let us leave you with just one final, ultimate fire safety tip: the best fire safety plans are ones that take a dynamic approach to fire preparedness. For building managers, it’s not enough to fit your building out with fire safety equipment. And for residents, it’s not enough to participate in fire safety drills or evacuation processes without actively practicing fire safety yourself in your own personal and professional lives. 

At the end of the day, fire safety is a collective responsibility. Treating it as such and holding one another accountable for upholding fire safety standards in your building, will help keep you all firmly at low risks of experiencing damaging fires in your inner city building. 

See Also: Fire Alarms in the Workplace

Read More
Alexon news

The fire equipment services keeping Melbourne buildings safe

Feb 27, 2019

At Melbourne Fire and Maintenance we’re strong believers that businesses shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not their emergency fire equipment will be operational in an emergency. Which is why we offer expert fire equipment services in Melbourne for body corporates, high-density residential buildings, shopping centres and a range of other businesses, giving them peace of mind knowing all of their equipment is functional and compliant with relevant safety standards.

Whether you have a single fire hose reel and a couple of fire sprinklers or dozens of fire alarms, fire pumps and smoke detectors, our team of highly qualified and knowledgeable fire technicians will ensure all of you fire equipment is up to scratch, and if it’s not, we can organise replacements, upgrades or ongoing maintenance.

Penalties are severe for businesses who fail to comply with fire safety regulations, not to mention the potential risk business’s put customers, employees and contractors at by not properly maintaining their fire equipment.

As fire protection specialists, our team have experience working with thousands of businesses across multiple industries, all of which have different safety standards and requirements. This means we have the knowledge and skills to make sure you’re compliant with all relevant standards and procedures.

When it comes to ensuring your businesses is compliant with Essential Safety Measures you need to take into account everything from emergency lighting and signage, to alarms, equipment and fire-related building materials. This is a lot to consider – which is why it substantially benefits businesses to enlist the help of the protection experts at Melbourne Fire and Maintenance to carry this out for them.

Proper fire equipment and fire equipment maintenance and servicing is essential to ensure buildings are safe in the event of an emergency. Contact the team at Melbourne Fire and Maintenance, we provide a range of fire equipment services for Melbourne businesses.

Read More
Alexon news

Melbourne Fire & Maintenance acquires DMR fire protection

Oct 1, 2018

Melbourne Fire & Maintenance is thrilled to announce the acquisition of DMR Fire Protection. Based in Mulgrave, DMR Fire Protection has been trading for more than 25 years, with nearly 3000 sites to maintain across Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. The acquisition of DMR Fire Protection provides the newly consolidated business more than 25 specialist fire technicians, covering more of Melbourne in a shorter time frame, whilst delivering more integrated one-stop Fire Protection Services to its expanded client base.

Melbourne Fire and Maintenance was purchased by the current owners in 2015 and the last three years has been specifically dedicated to re-building each part of the business with a clear goal to adhere to the following principles:

  • Purpose – “To guarantee the fire prevention systems under our control are always ready for emergency use”.
  • Cause – “To provide peace of mind to building managers, their owners and inhabitants”.
  • Core Competency – “Our ability to respond quickly to varying customer demands”.
  • Values – “Customer Focussed – Technically Competent – Commercially Driven”.
  • Brand Promise – “Remove the need for our clients to worry about fire prevention”.

With recent fire incidents at the Lacrosse building in Melbourne and the Grenfell Tower in London, the Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA) is pushing for tighter regulations and adherence to compliance standards AS 1851 and others.

Under these standards, fire testing, maintenance and service providers must provide detailed and compliant documentation to Body Corporates, Building Managers and Owners Corporations to ensure compliance with essential service requirements as set out under the building code.

In addition to Australian Standards, fire testing, maintenance and service providers must also comply with essential services regulations set by the Victoria Building Authority (VBA) Building Regulations, Energy Safe Victoria, WorkSafe Victoria, the FPAA, plumbing industry and more.

The recent changes in legislation have put added pressure on fire testing, maintenance and service providers, requiring a higher level of servicing that requires upskilling, certification and training of people and updating technologies that some providers may have difficulty adhering to.

The DMR Fire Protection acquisition is a perfect fit for our existing business, providing the right mix of technically competent staff, reducing the need for our clients to use multiple contractors. With a larger team of technicians and access to additional technologies, Melbourne Fire & Maintenance has the capabilities to service a wider range of residential and commercial sites around Melbourne, including:

  • factories, workshops and warehouses
  • high-density residential and commercial towers
  • shopping centres, hotels and retail hubs
  • aged care facilities, clinics and medical studios.

This acquisition helps us better service Body Corporates, Building Managers and Owners Corporations, ensuring they have maximum peace of mind in their essential services being safe and compliant.

Please contact Melbourne Fire & Maintenance for more information about the merge or to find out more about our services.

Read More
Alexon news

Evacuation plans & Melbourne fire protection maintenance services

Sep 20, 2017

As part of our Melbourne fire protection maintenance services, our team can ensure your evacuation plans comply with all relevant laws, standards and regulations – protecting your property and your people.

In light of recent disasters like the Greenfell Tower fire in London, it’s vitally important to have the right fire evacuation procedures in place. It is a responsibility of the building owner to ensure everyone from tenants to employers and visitors all have clear access to vital safety evacuation information in the event of an emergency.

Under Australian Standard AS 3745-2010, Planning for emergencies in facilities, there is an increased emphasis on providing emergency and evacuation information and detailed diagrams and signage as part of the evacuation plan and compliance for all buildings.

The Standard further highlights the importance of having evacuation plans displayed where all occupants and visitors can see them – as well as having the right people trained and aware of what the specific procedures are for each building.

Our fire protection maintenance services help identify and correctly detail the key aspects of your evacuation plan, including:

  • emergency paths and the shortest way to egress
  • exit and emergency lighting
  • exit doors and smoke doors
  • fire fighting equipment, including fire hydrants, hoses and fire pumps.

At Melbourne Fire and Maintenance, we can provide site specific evacuation diagrams, oriented and installed in compliance with AS 3745-2010, Planning for emergencies in facilities, as well as complying with the Building Code of Australia. Important aspects of an emergency plan that are often overlooked include, evacuation training for occupants and how to assist occupants with a disability.

No matter your industry, we can supply and install perspex, laminate and aluminium evacuation plans.

Please contact Melbourne Fire and Maintenance to conduct an audit and deliver evacuation plans in line with all legal requirements.

See Also: Fire Alarms in the Workplace

Read More
Alexon news

Melbourne Fire and Maintenance attends fundraiser for young diggers

Nov 1, 2017

The team at Melbourne Fire and Maintenance was proud to be involved in the ‘Bowties and Tiaras’ function held by the Body Corporate Strata Group to raise money for the Young Diggers.

Congratulations to the Body Corporate Strata Group for putting on a fantastic evening including door prizes, raffles, silent auctions and hearing from special guest speakers, as well as top-quality food and entertainment.

Two of our directors and six staff attended the event on Saturday 21st October, which we are thrilled to announce raised more than $26 000 – all of which will be donated directly to the Young Diggers.

The Young Diggers runs rehabilitation programs providing support for ex-serving military personnel and their families. The money raised through this fundraiser will help provide specialist training for a post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) companion and assistance dog, to help improve quality of life for returned soldiers living with PTSD and other mental illnesses.

Melbourne Fire and Maintenance is pleased to support important community initiatives. Please contact us for more information.

Read More

Contact Us

Complete the form to request a call
from a friendly Alexon team member.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Something went wrong while submitting the form.