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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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