Fire Isolated Stairs

The Building Code of Australia defines the essential safety measure known as fire isolated stairs to be a stairway within a fire-resisting shaft and includes the floor and roof or top enclosing structure. Fire isolated stairs are an integral part in the safe evacuation process of a building. All building surveyors/ building certifiers will nominate fire isolated stairs in the essential safety measures determination/ schedule in the building permit.

Building Code of Australia

Part D2 Construction of exits in clause D2.2 Fire isolated stairs, sets out the criteria for the type of construction and fire ratings required for fire isolated stairs.

The following illustration depicts the construction requirements for fire isolated stairs.

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

Table I1.2 SAFETY MEASURES – MEANS OF EGRESS

Safety Measures BCA Provision for Determining Standard of Performance
Exits (including fire isolated stairs and ramps non-fire isolated stairs and ramps, stair treads, balustrades and handrails associated with exits, and fire-isolated passageways) D2.2, D2.3, D2.8 to D2.11, D2.13, D2.16, D2.17

Essential Safety Measures Audit – Fire Isolated Stairs

When performing an essential safety measures inspection on fire isolated stairs anessential safety measures auditor must be aware of the significance of a number of major safety issues the BCA brought to bear in the design and construction of fire isolated stairs to ensure fire safety compliance. Some of these issues are fire doors, emergency lighting, artificial lighting, exit signs, warning signs, fire-resistance levels,path of travel unobstructed, construction joints, doors, exit discharge, fire indices and service penetrations in fire isolated stairs.

All of these elements combine to ensure a safe evacuation (egress) from the building when using fire isolated stairs, which is a safe haven providing all the essential safety measures nominated are maintained to a level that they actually operate to the necessary standard in an emergency. Any non-compliant fire isolated stairsissues should be recorded 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.