AUST – Essential Property Services advises commercial building owners and managers that various state regulations specify differing requirements for mandatory testing, inspection and maintenance of essential safety measures. The following article is generic information on building fire integrity, which includes fire resisting elements. The objective of Part I of the Building Code of Australia is to provide a nationally recognised framework that ensures that people are protected from illness, injury and loss of amenity throughout the life of the building by nominating essential safety measures in the case of fire.

PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENT

All essential safety measures installed in or intrinsic to a building must be capable of performing to a standard no less than that which they were originally required to achieve. Each state and territory has various statutory instruments that require different reporting, maintenance regimes and use differing terminology but one requirement is constant and universal:

Using the terminology of the Building Code of Australia for consistency the following tables are a break down of the fundamental essential safety measures installed in a commercial building i.e. other then a class 1 or 10 (houses or uninhabitable structures) and a brief description of their purpose.

Summary of Fire Safety Measures: Building Code of Australia

Essential Safety Measures – Building Fire Integrity

• Building elements required to satisfy fire resistance levels
• Materials and assemblies required to satisfy prescribed fire hazard properties
• Elements required to be non combustible, provide fire protection, compartmentation or separation
Wall wetting sprinklers (including doors and windows required in conjunction with wall wetting sprinklers)
• Fire doors (including sliding fire doors and their associated warning systems) and associated self closing, automatic closing and latching mechanisms
Fire windows (including windows that are automatic or permanently fixed in the closed position)
• Fire shutters
• Solid core doors and associated self closing, automatic closing and latching closers, handles and electronic mechanisms strikes
• Fire protection at service penetrations through elements required to be fire resisting with respect to integrity or insulation, or to have a resistance to the incipient spread of fire
• Fire protection associated with construction joints, spaces and the like in and between building elements required to be fire resisting with respect to integrity and insulation
Smoke doors and associated self closing, automatic closing and latching mechanisms
• Proscenium walls (including fire curtains)
Passive and active systems within a building that facilitate safe egress by providing smoke, fire containment and viable passage through the building during a fire requiring an evacuation. Passive measures such as fire rated construction and structural fire protection that protects building structural integrity during a fire to facilitate sufficient time for building occupants to evacuate the building.