AUST – Essential Property Services advises that commercial building owners, managers and contractors need to be aware that an annual System Interface Test (better known as Full Function Fire Systems Test) is mandatory where the requirements of Australian Standard AS 1851-2005 are applicable as essential safety measures stemming from a building permit issued under the Building Code of Australia.

To better facilitate operational reliability of fire protection systems, amendments were made to AS 1851-2005 ‘Maintenance of Fire Protection Equipment and Systems’ to include a requirement for building owners, managers and contractors to complete a System Interface Test/ Full Function Fire Systems Test annually. This means where fire systems are interfaced with other building systems, these interfaces must be tested annually through a System Interface Test/ Full Function Fire Systems Test, before signing the annual maintenance statement.

Essential Property Services provides a System Interface Test/ Full Function Fire Systems Test service that results in a report that addresses the multitude of compliancy requirements of the various applicable Standards involved, and meets the requirements of AS 1851-2005.

Timing of Test

Since a System Interface Test/ Full Function Fire Systems Test may be disruptive to building operations, it is recommended that the building owner or facility manager’s representative engages an independent and suitably experienced consultant such as EPS to minimise the time taken to complete the System Interface Test/ Full Function Fire Systems Test, and to communicate with building owners, facility managers and contractors to coordinate and manage the testing of the interfaced fire protection systems.

Specialist Existing Contractors

Depending on the size and type of occupancy, the System Interface Test/ Full Function Fire Systems Test may require the services of a mechanical and hydraulic engineer, technicians specialising in fire alarms, sprinklers, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning), electrical power and control and building management systems (some would be the maintenance contractors for the building). Accurate fire protection system interface documentation is critical to facilitating a successful System Interface Test/ Full Function Fire Systems Test and must be provided, obtained or created prior to the System Interface Test/ Full Function Fire Systems Test commencing.

Functional Interfaced Systems

Refer to Table 1 below for a basic example of a System Interface Test/ Full Function Fire Systems Test diagram/ matrix that identifies systems in a commercial building that may be functionally interfaced. Following on from this type of basic diagram will be a more complex matrix that provides for a strategy and cause and effect chart that benchmarks the System Interface Test/ Full Function Fire Systems Test.

Types of System Interface Test/ Full Function Fire Systems Test Documentation Required:

  • Drawings – Mechanical Services, Electrical, Fire Services and Building Transportation.
  • Equipment Schedules – Mechanical Services, Electrical and Fire Services, Building Transportation.
  • Current Fire Matrix
  • Current System Cause and Effect Charts Specifying the Design Criteria
  • Specifications for zone and floor pressurisation

Basic System Interface Test/ Full Function Fire Systems Test Procedure (typical)

Automatic sprinkler and smoke alarm systems when activated in specific ways automatically cause operation of interfaced systems such as:

  • Stair pressurisation systems
  • Release fire doors
  • Operate roof vents to permit smoke to escape
  • Shutdown non-fire essential plant
  • Operate elevator override controls
  • Automatically cause fire pump sets to operate

Building Legislation Table

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

Fire Safety Compliance: Essential Safety Measures

Refer to our Essential Safety Measures Identification table for further information on individual Essential Safety Measures including the Annual Statement.

Further Advice

For further advice, please contact the Essential Property Services office by clicking here.