Fire Hydrants

Fire hydrants must be installed in buildings where the floor area (floor area includes the total sum of all the floor areas, including basements, plant rooms and mezzanine floors) of the building exceeds 500 sq. metres. Fire hydrants are not first attack appliances to be used by the occupiers of the building, but are specifically located under the Building Code of Australia (BCA) for use by trained officers of the local fire brigade. Fire hydrants are nominated as an essential safety measure under all jurisdictions throughout Australia by a building surveyor in the relevant essential safety measures schedule/ determination document.

Building Code of Australia

Clause E1.3 Fire hydrants sets out the building requirements for fire hydrants and fire hydrant location for building approvals.

The performance clause EP1.3 for fire hydrants states:

EP1.3

A fire hydrant system must be provided to the degree necessary to facilitate the needs of the fire brigade appropriate to-

(a) fire-fighting operations; and
(b) the floor area of the building; and
(c) the fire hazard.

The following illustration depicts the location of an internal fire hydrants system in a building.

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

Table I1.6 SAFETY MEASURES – FIRE FIGHTING SERVICES AND EQUIPMENT

Safety Measures BCA Provision for Determining Standard of Performance
fire hydrants system (including on-site pump set and fire-service booster connection) E1.3

Clause E1.3 requires a fire hydrants (system) to be installed in accordance with AS 2419.1-2005 Fire Hydrant installations – System design, installation and commissioning.

A check of the referenced standards in Table 1 Schedule of Reference Documents in ‘Specification Documents Adopted by Reference’ reveals that no maintenance standard for fire hydrants is nominated (or in Clause 1.3), only in AS 2419.1-2005.

 

What Maintenance is Applicable for Fire Hydrants?

We have eight States and Territories in Australia, each with their own “building regulations” requiring building surveyors to issue statutory documents (determinations/ occupancy permits/ schedules/ lists of essential safety measures) nominating the performance conditions for the regular testing, inspection and standard of maintenance for essential safety measures e.g. fire hydrants.

Most jurisdictions (states), nominate the maintenance of fire hydrants in AS 1851-2005 ‘Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment’ in their documents for either the building owner, agent of the building owner or the occupier to ensure that all fire hydrants are maintained to the requirements of this standard.

 

Australian Standards – Fire Hydrants

The following Australian Standards have an impact on the design, installation and maintenance of fire hydrants (not all are referenced in the BCA).

  1. AS 2484.2-1991 Fire – Glossary of terms – Fire Protection and firefighting equipment
  2. AS 2419.1-2005 Fire hydrant installations – System design, installation and commissioning
  3. AS 2792-1992 Fire house – Delivery lay flat
  4. AS 1851-2005 Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment

 

Essential Safety Measures Audit – Fire Hydrants

AS1851-2005 Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment is very specific for the type of inspections and frequency to occur for fire hydrants. The standard requires a logbook for all fire hydrants to record all information specified. A number of state regulations also require an essential safety measure logbook to be provided for all essential safety measures. The AS1851 fire hydrants logbook would then form part of the “state” required logbook for the nominated essential safety measures.

It should be noted that a number of state Fire Brigades issue guidelines for the testing of fire hydrants. Building owners and managers should ensure that their fire maintenance contractor is aware of such fact sheets, guidelines or policies and incorporate the Brigades requirements into their testing and maintenance programs to ensure fire safety compliance in relation to fire hydrants to allow signing of the Annual Statement, Annual Certificate of Compliance, Annual Fire Safety Statement, Annual Maintenance Statement and Annual Occupiers Statement.