Sound and Intercom Systems

The Building Code of Australia requires high rise buildings to have a sound and intercom systems (SSIS) for emergency purposes. The installation is required by the Building Code of Australia when the building height exceeds 25m in effective height and a number of other criteria for class 3, 9a and 9b buildings. Previous to the sound and intercom systems they were known as emergency warning and intercommunication systems (EWIS). Either sound and intercom systems or EWIS would be nominated by a building surveyor/ building certifier in an essential safety measures determination/ schedule.

Building Code of Australia

The Building Code of Australia requires a sound and intercom systems to comply with AS 1670.4-2004 Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems – System design, installation and commissioning – Sound systems and intercom systems for emergency purposes. A sound and intercom systems installation comprises a master control panel usually interfaced to the buildings fire panel, warden intercom points at each exit, manual call points, a master warden control point and warning speakers distributed throughout the building to achieve a defined level of audibility above background noise.

The following illustration depicts buildings required to be installed with a sound and intercom systems.

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

Table I1.8 SAFETY MEASURES – OCCUPANT WARNING SYSTEMS

Safety Measures BCA Provision for Determining Standard of Performance
Sound and intercom systems for emergency purposes E4.9
Clause 5 of Specification G3.8

Essential Safety Measures Audit – Sound and Intercom Systems

The maintenance requirements for a sound and intercom system for emergency purposes are in Sections 9 and 10 respectively of AS 1851-2005 Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment. An essential safety measures auditor should check the building surveyors/ certifiers’ essential safety measures determination/ schedule as to whether a sound and intercom systems is installed. If so the auditor should check the sound and intercom systems maintenance logbooks required under AS 1851-2005 Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment. If any inspections or testing of sound and intercom systems has not occurred or failed, then they should be recorded in the building’s essential safety measures logbook to allow the signing of the Annual Statement, Annual Certificate Compliance, Annual Fire Safety Statement, Annual Maintenance Statement and Annual Occupiers Statement.