Mechanical Ventilation Systems

The Building Code of Australia in Part E2 Smoke Hazard Management, sets out the criteria for a mechanical air handling system (otherwise known as a mechanical ventilation systems) to be installed in a building. A mechanical ventilation system must safeguard the occupiers of a building from sickness or loss of amenity due to the lack of fresh air. Mechanical ventilation systems must be nominated as an essential safety measure by a building surveyor/building certifier.

Building Code of Australia

Mechanical ventilation systems installed in a building which do not form part of a smoke hazard management system must comply with clause E2.2 General Requirements, this clause contains smoke control provisions. The mechanical ventilation systems must be installed under the building regulations in accordance with:

  • AS/NZS 1668.1:1998 The use of ventilation and air conditioning in buildings – Fire and smoke control in multi compartment buildings
  • AS 1668.2-2002 The use of ventilation and air conditioning in buildings – Ventilation design for indoor air containment control
  • AS/NZS 3666.1:2002 Air-handling and water systems of buildings – Microbial control – Design, installation and commissioning

The following photographs depict mechanical ventilation systems installed in a building.

The following is a part extract from clause I1.1 for an Essential Safety Measure (as appeared in BCA 2013) known as mechanical ventilation systems:

Table I1.6 SAFETY MEASURES – AIR HANDLING SYSTEMS

Safety Measures BCA Provision for Determining Standard of Performance
Smoke hazard management systems

  • Air-handling systems that do not form part of a smoke hazard management system and which may unduly contribute to the spread of smoke.
E2.2

Essential Safety Measures Audit – Mechanical Ventilation Systems

Mechanical ventilation systems maintenance must be sufficient for the air handling equipment to deliver adequate amounts of outdoor air with sufficient circulation and to remove containments. A check by the essential safety measures auditor of the building surveyors/ certifiers essential safety measures determination/ schedule will reveal the mechanical ventilation systems is nominated as an essential safety measure, and will have to be maintained by AS/NZS 3666.2:2002 Air-handling and water systems of buildings – Microbial control – Operation and maintenance.

The essential safety measures auditor to ensure fire safety compliance must check the mechanical contractor’s mechanical ventilation systems logbook to ascertain whether inspections, testing and maintenance are being carried out as required. Any deficiencies in the mechanical ventilation systems should be registered in the building’s essential safety measures logbook to allow the signing of the Annual Statement, Annual Certificate Compliance, Annual Fire Safety Statement and Annual Maintenance Statement.