Smoke Doors

The Building Code of Australia (and building surveyor/ building certifier) determines the location of smoke doors in a building. A significant number of smoke doors are installed as part of an alternative solution under the BCA and may be located in a building where not expected. Smoke doors should be nominated in the essential safety measures determination/ schedule.

Building Code of Australia

BCA Specification C3.4 clause 3 ‘Smoke Doors’ provides the construction and installation requirements for smoke doors.

Under various state regulations around Australia, smoke doors have been nominated for use in older type buildings for decades. It is only just recently that the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and AS 1851-2005 Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment, have significantly upgraded the provisions relative to installation and the maintenance requirements for smoke doors.

The following illustration depicts the requirement of smoke doors release controls.

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

Table I1.1 SAFETY MEASURES – BUILDING FIRE INTEGRITY

Safety Measures BCA Provision for Determining Standard of Performance
Smoke doors and associated self-closing, automatic closing and latching mechanisms Spec C2.5
D2.6

Essential Safety Measures Audit – Smoke Doors

If your building is constructed in a state that requires maintenance of essential safety measures (smoke doors) to comply with Australian Standards, then a statutory document (essential safety measures determination/ schedules) will probably exist on your building nominating the performance standard for maintenance. Those states which have a Schedule nominating the maintenance requirements for essential safety measures (smoke doors) will most certainly call up AS 1851-2005 for the maintenance criteria for smoke doors.

Table 17.4.4 in AS 1851-2005 headed “Inspection, Test, Preventative Maintenance, Survey and Records Schedule – For Hinged and Pivoted Smoke Doors”, provides 4 full pages of items to be inspected and tested on smoke doors. All items nominated such as smoke doors require 3, 6 and 12 monthly inspection frequency.

For those managers whose state regulations do not nominate AS 1851-2005 as the maintenance standard for smoke doors, they should seriously consider adopting the Standard to safe guard the building owner’s interests in case they are called to account by an authority requesting to view the essential safety measures logbook relative to smoke doors.

An essential safety measures auditor must have a working knowledge of AS 1851-2005 and be able to perform adequately a smoke doors inspection to allow the signing of the Annual Statement, Annual Certificate Compliance, Annual Fire Safety Statement, Annual Maintenance Statement and Annual Occupiers Statement.