Fire Curtains

The Building Code of Australia in Part H1 Theatres, Stages and Public Halls requires the installation of fire curtains (proscenium walls) in every theatre and public hall (without a sprinkler system) between the stage, backstage area, accessible under-stage area and the audience. The building surveyor/ building certifier will always nominate fire curtains as an essential safety measure.

Building Code of Australia

BCA Part H1 nominates when fire curtains are to be installed, Specification H1.3 Construction of Theatres with Proscenium Walls, provides the details for construction of the theatre including the construction/ installation of fire curtains in all building approvals.

The main criteria for fire curtains must be either non-combustible or fitted so as to inhibit smoke penetration around its perimeter when fully lowered or fire curtains have specified early fire hazard indices protected by a deluge sprinkler system.

The following illustration depicts stages and back stages construction of fire curtains.

The following is a part extract of clause I1.1 for an Essential Safety Measure (as appeared in BCA 2013) known as proscenium walls (fire curtains):

Table I1.1 SAFETY MEASURES – BUILDING FIRE INTEGRITY

Safety Measures BCA Provision for Determining Standard of Performance
Proscenium walls (including proscenium curtains) H1.3

Essential Safety Measures Audit – Fire Curtains

An essential safety measures auditor must have a fundamental knowledge of Specification H1.3 of the BCA, and appreciate the differences between the alternative types of construction nominated for fire curtains to ensure fire safety compliance. With an understanding of the type of construction involved, the essential safety measures auditor can inspect fire curtains relative to the combination of essential safety measures present.

The auditor must source the building surveyors/ building certifier’s essential safety measures schedule/ determination and check on the required frequency if inspections for fire curtains are nominated. All inspections, testing and maintenance on fire curtains should be recorded in an essential safety measure logbook and checked by the auditor to allow for signing the Annual Statement, Annual Certificate of Compliance, Annual Fire Safety Statement, Annual Maintenance Statement and Annual Occupiers Statement.