Emergency Warning and Intercommunication Systems

The Building Code of Australia requires high rise buildings to have sound and intercom systems (SSIS) for emergency purposes. The installation is required by the Building Code of Australia when the building height exceeds 25m in effective height and a number of other criteria for class 3, 9a and 9b buildings. Previous to the sound and intercom systems they were known as emergency warning and intercommunication systems (EWIS). Either a sound and intercom systems or emergency warning and intercommunication systems would be nominated by abuilding surveyor/ building certifier in an essential safety measures determination/ schedule.

Building Code of Australia

The Building Code of Australia requires, emergency warning and intercommunication systems (EWIS) to comply with AS 1851.10-1989 Maintenance of fire protection equipment – Emergency warning and intercommunication systems under a building approval. An emergency warning and intercommunication systems (EWIS) installation comprises a master control panel usually interfaced to the buildings fire panel, warden intercom points at each exit for egress, manual call points, a master warden control point and warning speakers distributed throughout the building to achieve a defined level of audibility above background noise.

The following photograph depicts an EWIS panel installed in the building.

The following is a part extract of clause I1.1 for an Essential Safety Measure (as appeared in BCA 2013) known as Sound and Intercom Systems (emergency warning and intercommunication systems):

Table I1.8 SAFETY MEASURES – OCCUPANT WARNING SYSTEMS

Safety Measures BCA Provision for Determining Standard of Performance
Sound and intercom systems for emergency purposes E4.9
Clause 5 of Specification G3.8

Essential Safety Measures Audit – Emergency Warning and Intercommunication Systems

The maintenance requirements for a emergency warning and intercommunication systems (EWIS) for emergency purposes are in Sections 9 and 10 respectively of AS 1851-2005 Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment. An essential safety measures auditor for fire safety compliance should check the building surveyors/ certifiers essential safety measures determination/ schedule as to whether a emergency warning and intercommunication systems (EWIS) is installed. If so the auditor should check the emergency warning and intercommunication systems (EWIS) maintenance logbooks required under AS 1851.10-1989 Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment. If any inspections or testing of an emergency warning and intercommunication systems (EWIS) has not occurred or failed, then they should be recorded in the building’s essential safety measures logbook to allow for signing the Annual Statement, Annual Certificate of Compliance, Annual Fire Safety Statement, Annual Maintenance Statement and Annual Occupiers Statement.