Proscenium Walls (Fire Curtains)

The Building Code of Australia in Part H1 Theatres, Stages and Public Halls requires the installation of a proscenium walls (fire curtain) in every theatre and public hall (without a sprinkler system) between the stage, backstage area, accessible under-stage area and the audience. The building surveyor/ building certifier will always nominate proscenium walls (fire curtains) as an essential safety measure.

Building Code of Australia

BCA Part H1 nominates when proscenium walls are to be installed, Specification H1.3 Construction of Theatres with Proscenium Walls, provides the details for construction of the theatre including the construction/ installation of proscenium walls.

The main criteria for proscenium walls must be either non-combustible or fitted so as to inhibit smoke penetration around its perimeter when fully lowered or the proscenium walls have specified early fire hazard indices protected by a deluge sprinkler system.

The following illustration depicts stages and back stages construction of proscenium walls.

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

Table I1.1 SAFETY MEASURES – BUILDING FIRE INTEGRITY

Safety Measures BCA Provision for Determining Standard of Performance
Proscenium walls (including proscenium curtains) H1.3

Essential Safety Measures Audit – Proscenium Walls

An essential safety measures auditor to ensure fire safety compliance must have a fundamental knowledge of Specification H1.3 of the BCA, and appreciate the differences between the alternative types of construction nominated for proscenium walls. With an understanding of the type of construction involved, the essential safety measures auditor can inspect the proscenium walls relative to the combination of essential safety measures present.

The auditor must source the building surveyors/ building certifier’s essential safety measures schedule/ determination and check on the required frequency if inspections for proscenium walls are nominated. All inspections, testing and maintenance on proscenium walls should be recorded in an essential safety measure logbook and checked by the auditor to allow the signing of the Annual Statement, Annual Certificate Compliance, Annual Fire Safety Statement, Annual Maintenance Statement and Annual Occupiers Statement.