AUST – Essential Property Services advises that a fire hydrant must be installed in a building where the floor area (floor area includes the total sum of all the floor areas, including basements, plant rooms and mezzanine floors) of the building exceeds 500 sq. metres. Fire hydrants are not first attack appliances to be used by the occupiers of the building, but are specifically located under the Building Code of Australia (BCA) for use by trained officers of the local fire brigade. Fire hydrants are nominated as essential safety measures under all jurisdictions throughout Australia by a building surveyor in the relevant essential safety measures document.

Building Code of Australia

Clause E1.3 ‘Fire hydrants’ sets out the building requirements for fire hydrants and the fire hydrant location.

The performance clause EP1.3 for fire hydrants states:

EP1.3

A fire hydrant system must be provided to the degree necessary to facilitate the needs of the fire brigade appropriate to—

(a)  fire-fighting operations; and
(b)  the floor area of the building; and
(c)  the fire hazard.

Table I1.5 Safety Measures – Fire Fighting Services and Equipment contained in Part 1 ‘Equipment and Safety Installations’ determines the standard of performance for a fire hydrant system to be in accordance with clause E1.3 of the BCA. Clause E1.3 require a fire hydrant system to be installed in accordance with AS2419.1-2005 ‘Fire Hydrant installations – System design, installation and commissioning’.

A check of the referenced standards in Table 1 Schedule of Reference Documents in ‘Specification Documents Adopted by Reference’ reveals that no maintenance standard for a fire hydrant system is nominated (or in Clause 1.3), only in AS2419.1-2005.

What Maintenance is Applicable for Fire Hydrants?

We have eight States and Territories in Australia, each with their own “building regulations” requiring building surveyors to issue statutory documents (determinations/ occupancy permits/ schedules/ lists of essential safety measures) nominating the performance conditions for the regular testing, inspection and standard of maintenance for essential safety measures e.g. fire hydrants.

Most jurisdictions (states), nominate AS 1851-2005 ‘Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment’ in their documents for either the building owner, agent of the building owner or the occupier to ensure that all fire hydrants are maintained to the requirements of this standard.

Australian Standards

The following Australian Standards have an impact on the design, installation and maintenance of a fire hydrant system (not all are referenced in the BCA).

1. AS 2484.2-1991 Fire – Glossary of terms – Fire Protection and fire fighting equipment
2. AS 2419.1-2005 Fire hydrant installations – System design, installation and commissioning
3. AS 2792-1992 Fire house – Delivery layflat
4. AS 1851-2005 Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment

Maintenance Obligations

AS 1851-2005 ‘Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment’ is very specific for the type of inspections and frequency to occur. The standard requires a logbook to record all information specified. A number of state regulations also require logbooks to be provided for all essential safety measures. The AS 1851 fire logbook would then form part of the “state” required logbook for the nominated essential safety measures.

It should be noted that a number of state Fire Brigades issue guidelines for the testing of fire hydrant systems. Building owners and managers should ensure that their fire maintenance contractor is aware of such fact sheets, guidelines or policies and incorporate the Brigades requirements into their testing and maintenance programs.

Building Legislation Table

Refer to our Building Legislation table for further information on the building control process.