EP-04

Penalties for Unauthorised Modification of Evacuation Routes

QLD  Hendry advises under the BFSR, it is an offence to make unauthorised modifications to evacuation routes, i.e. installation of unapproved mechanical ventilation systems, holding open of fire and smoke resisting doors or failing to seal holes and service penetrations in a wall of fire isolated passages or compartments.

Substantial penalties apply for non compliance and knowingly allowing deficiencies to exist under the BFSR.  It is now mandatory for building owners/ occupiers to repair deficiencies in fire resisting construction within a specific time frame (1 month from notification under the BFSR).

The BFSR requires fire isolated evacuation routes to be kept isolated.

The BFSR prohibits the installation or alteration of  a mechanical ventilation or air conditioning system in a building in a way that, in the event of a fire, may allow air to flow onto an evacuation route of the building from another space in the building, including fire-isolated compartments.

/ IT IS AN OFFENCE UNDER THE BSFR TO:

  • Allow penetrations or gaps around services penetrating a wall on the perimeter of a fire-isolated compartment or passageway to exist
  • Fail to seal a hole in a wall on the perimeter of a fire-isolated compartment or passageway
  • Chock open a door on the perimeter of a fire-isolated compartment or passageway.

These requirements are consistent with the Queensland Government’s approach to fire safety and the modelling of aspects of the BFSR on the national fire systems maintenance benchmark, that is AS 1851-2005 ‘Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment’.

If owners and occupiers comply with their passive fire safety installation maintenance requirements, these BFSR provisions will seem much simpler to manage.

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