Air Handling Systems

The Building Code of Australia in Part E2 Smoke Hazard Management, sets out the criteria for mechanical air handling systems (otherwise known as air conditioning systems) to be installed in a building. Air handling systems must safeguard the occupiers of a building from sickness or loss of amenity due to the lack of fresh air. Air handling systems must be nominated as an essential safety measure by a building surveyor/ building certifier.

Building Code of Australia

Air handling systems installed in a building which do not form part of a smoke hazard management system must comply with clause E2.2 General requirements, this clause contains smoke control provisions. Air handling systems must be installed in accordance with:

  • AS/NZS 1668.1:1998 The use of ventilation and air conditioning in buildings – Fire and smoke control in multi compartment buildings
  • AS 1668.2-2002 The use of ventilation and air conditioning in buildings – Ventilation design for indoor air containment control
  • AS/NZS 3666.1:2002 Air-handling and water systems of buildings – Microbial control – Design, installation and commissioning

The following photograph depicts part of air-handling systems for a multi storey building.

The following is a part extract from clause I1.1 for an Essential Safety Measure (as appeared in BCA 2013) known as Air Handling Systems:

Table I1.6 Safety Measures – Air Handling Systems

Safety Measures BCA Provision for Determining Standard of Performance
Smoke hazard management systems – Air-handling systems that do not form part of a smoke hazard management system and which may unduly contribute to the spread of smoke. E2.2

Essential Safety Measures Audit – Air Handling Systems

An air handling systems maintenance must be sufficient for the air handling systems equipment to deliver adequate amounts of outdoor air with sufficient circulation and to remove containments. A check by the essential safety measures auditor of the building surveyors/ certifiers essential safety measures determination/ schedule will reveal the air handling systems are nominated as an essential safety measure, and will have to be maintained by AS/NZS 3666.2:2002 Air-handling and water systems of buildings – Microbial control – Operation and maintenance.

The essential safety measures auditor must check the mechanical contractor’s air handling systems logbook to ascertain whether inspections, testing and maintenance are being carried out as required to ensure fire safety compliance. Any deficiencies in the air handling systems should be registered in the building’s essential safety measures logbook to allow signing of the Annual Statement, Annual Certificate of Compliance, Annual Fire Safety Statement, Annual Maintenance Statement and Annual Occupiers Statement.