AUST Hendry advises that essential safety measures known as ‘fire and smoke resistant structures (walls and ceilings)’ play a critical part in building occupant fire safety. Essential safety measures regulations have recognised this fact by the recent strengthening of the Regulations relative to fire stopping. Hendry Group advises that substantial essential safety measures statutory penalties under most state regulations, apply to building owners and occupiers that knowingly allow any inadequately sealed penetration in fire rated structures or breaches in fire and smoke resisting structures to exist by not providing adequate fire stopping.
Equally severe penalties exist for simply chocking open fire and smoke resisting doors in a fire isolated stairwell or passageway. To comply with the provisions of the Regulations and AS 1851-2012 ‘Routine Servicing of Fire Protection Systems and Equipment’, Section 12, all building service penetrations through fire and smoke resisting structures should be inspected regularly for fire stopping, depending on the state.
Where inadequately sealed service penetrations or breaches are found they must be rectified in a prescribed time frame. Over the years many people have had to be evacuated from buildings, in particular one in Melbourne and two in Queensland. A large hotel, a department store and an apartment building as a result of minor fires that caused undue smoke penetration through the buildings because of inadequate fire stopping.