March 2017

Changes to Baseline Data AS1851-2012


AUST   Hendry advises building owners and property professionals to make themselves aware of the changes to AS1851-2012 Routine Service of Fire Protection Systems and Equipment, especially relative to baseline data which was published on the 16 November 2016. The changes, if adopted could save a considerable amount of money. The initial purpose of the amendment to this standard was for editorial reasons, however the industry was in desperate need for clarification of baseline data and how it should be applied.

Managers should be aware of the changes to this standard in particular, Clause 1.8 Baseline Data, which applies to all routine servicing/testing of active and passive equipment/systems within buildings. Baseline data is the set of data required at the time of installation of a system or equipment to establish the performance benchmark of the approved design.

Baseline data is necessary to establish the performance benchmark of fire protection system or equipment. The non-availability of baseline data shall be reported as an non-conformance. Notes:

  1. Examples of base line data are detailed in Appendix C.
  2. The complication of base line data is outside the scope of this standard.
  3. Where baseline data is not known, it should be established.
  4. At the commencement of the new maintenance arrangements, the fire protection system or equipment should be compared with the approved design and baseline data.
  5. Where the baseline data is not known, it should be re-established at the commencement of routine service or alternatively during the first year of application of this standard (see paragraph C1 Appendix C).

Baseline data may be required to verify the result of routine service activity required by applicable service schedule. Baseline data required by this standard is limited to that –

(a) Necessary to verify a routine service activity result; and
(b) Prescribed by the regulations codes or standards that applied to the approved design.

Irrespective of the availability of baseline data, the routine service activity shall be carried out and the result recorded and reported. Where required baseline data is available the routine service result shall be verified against it. Where required baseline data is unavailable, its unavailability shall be recorded and reported as a non-conformance, this non-conformance does not fail the overall test activity.

Prior to the amendment of this standard the implementation and interpretation of baseline data was unclear. Some service contractors whilst undertaking maintenance activities required the creation/submission of baseline data in order to pass the test/inspection. This is turn raised a non-conformance or worse still no test was conducted due to the fact that no baseline data was provided. This therefore had an impact with the buildings compliance status and the signing of the Annual Fire Safety Statement or state equivalent.

The new amendment to the standard has clarified the application of baseline data, therefore eliminating the failing of routine servicing/testing on the basis that baseline data does not exist or it has not been provided to the contractor. Clause 1.8 Baseline data of the amended standard, now clearly indicates that routine servicing/testing of fire protection systems can be carried out and results can be recorded and passed without the baseline data.

However the absence of baseline data itself must be recorded as a non-conformance within the test/inspection. Note: If baseline data does exist for the fire protection systems and is required by an approved design it must be used as a benchmark for the testing of the fire protection systems/equipment.

Appendix C of the previous standard has been repealed and has removed the requirements for establishing a minimum benchmark for baseline data. This is due to the fact that the parameters and requirements of the approved design should determine what is required. This has effected multiple clauses throughout the standard with reference to Appendix C.

In conclusion there are four key amendments to AS1851-2012 in relation to baseline data;

  • Editorial modifications
  • Every section now refers to the new clause 1.8
  • A Full reword of clause 1.8
  • Removal of Appendix C

It is prudent for managers to be aware of these changes to baseline data, and that it does not have to be established/prepared to enable contractors to undertake maintenance activities, if you adopt this amended standard under your state building control system.

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