QLD – HENDRY advises building owners and managers that recent changes to Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 (BFSR) prohibits locking of doors on evacuation routes (known as designated fire safety installations) without reasonable cause and adopts the Building Code of Australia (BCA) as the benchmark for exit door hardware.

There is now prohibition on locking of doors on path of travel to an exit with special exemptions for child care centre and places of lawful custody in Queensland. The new provisions apply to doors on path of travel to an exit i.e. doors on the path of travel from a common area of a building through a final exit door to a place of safety outside a building.

The BFSR now specifically deems a door compliant if it complies with the provisions of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) Volume 1 Part D. Doors that have locking mechanisms that do not pass this test must be replaced or modified otherwise are deemed illegal. This new regulation now recognises that the BCA sets the building standard. Occupiers have 1 month to modify or replace door hardware after being advised it is non complaint by an inspector when the mandatory 6 monthly inspections are undertaken.

The typical requirement of the BCA is that an exit door or a door in the path of travel to an exit operate in the following manner:

  • Openable from the internal side using 1 device that can be operated by 1 downward or pushing action using 1 hand;
  • Automatically allows the door to be opened if the door fails to open electronically.

Examples of devices—

  • a handle, lever or panic bar
  • a device consisting of a button or switch that can be operated to allow a door to open electronically and
  • exit door hardware is a prescribed fire safety installation under the Building Act 1975 and BFSR.