Smoke Dampers

The Building Code of Australia Part E2 Smoke Hazard Management, clause E2.2 General Requirements, nominates the use of smoke dampers where air-handling ducts penetrate any elements separating fire compartments. Smoke dampers are also required in walls and floors requiring to be smoke proofed. Smoke dampers are always nominated as an essential safety measure by the building surveyor/ building certifier.

Building Code of Australia

Part E Smoke Hazard Management dictates the criteria for when smoke dampers must be installed and along with Specification E2.2a Smoke Detection and Alarm Systems which requires smoke dampers to close upon smoke being detected by a smoke detection system.

Smoke dampers are installed in buildings in accordance with AS/NZS 1668.1-19998 “The use of ventilation and air-conditioning in buildings – Fire and smoke control in multi-compartment buildings”.

The following photographs depict smoke dampers installed in mechanical ventilation equipment.

The following is a part extract of clause I1.1 for an Essential Safety Measure (as appeared in BCA 2013) which covers smoke dampers:

Table I1.6 SAFETY MEASURES – AIR HANDLING SYSTEMS

Safety Measures BCA Provision for Determining Standard of Performance
Smoke hazard management systems E2.2

Essential Safety Measures Audit – Smoke Dampers

The most common problem for an essential safety measures auditor is locating smoke dampers. Not enough access panels are placed in position for inspection purposes. The auditor should have a good knowledge of the BCA requirements relative to walls requiring to have a fire resistance level and walls requiring to be smoke proofed. This will then allow a proper inspection of the necessary walls within a building that would contain smoke dampers.

Maintenance routines for smoke dampers are carried out under AS1851-2005Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment. The auditor should check the building surveyors/ certifier’s essential safety measures determination/ schedule to see if smoke dampers are nominated to allow the signing of the Annual Statement, Annual Certificate Compliance, Annual Fire Safety Statement, Annual Maintenance Statement and Annual Occupiers Statement.