AUST – Essential Property Services advises that the intent of Clause C3.5 ‘Doorways in fire walls’ in the Building Code of Australia (BCA)  is to nominate the use of fire doors in such situations. (AS 1851-2005 stipulates fire door inspections) This clause permits doorway openings to be constructed in a fire wall for access and versatility in everyday use of the building yet maintain the performance of the fire protection required by the fire wall structure in the event of fire.

 Building Code of Australia

Clause C3.5 applies to swing-type fire doors and/or fire shutters. Automatic closing fire doors or fire shutters are normally held open with electro-magnetic devices which are linked to smoke detectors installed in accordance with AS1905.1-2005 components for the protection of openings in fire-resistant walls fire-resistant doorsets, on both sides of the fire door opening. On sensing of smoke, the electro-magnetic device would release the fire doors, allowing the fire doors/shutters to self-close. These electro-magnetic devices need to be inspected during an essential safety measures inspection – fire door inspection, under all State essential service regulations for adequate maintenance to ensure performance.

The fire resistance level (FRL) required for the fire door under this clause is required to be identical to the FRL required for the fire wall which it forms a part of (or ½ the FRL where 2 fire doors or fire shutters are used). Limiting the aggregate width of doorways in the fire wall is intended to reduce the risk of spread of fire through these openings by limiting the fire door size.

Note under Clause A1.1 Definitions the meaning of a fire wall is “a wall with an appropriate resistance to the spread of fire that divides a storey or building into fire compartments”.

Building Legislation Table

Refer to our Building Legislation table for further information on the building control process.