AUST – HENDRY building surveyors advise that the Building Code of Australia (BCA) in Clause E1.3 sets out the criteria for buildings which require the installation of fire hydrants based on the total floor area of the building and the availability of an operational fire service. Fire hydrants are not first attack appliances and are not intended to be used by the building occupants. Properly trained persons and special equipment are needed for effective fire fighting using a fire hydrant system e.g. local fire brigades.
Building Code of Australia – Clause E1.3 Fire Hydrants
A fire hydrant under clause E1.3 must be installed in a building where the floor area (floor area includes the total sum of all the floor areas, including basements, plant rooms and mezzanine floors) of the building exceeds 500 sq. metres.
The type of fire hydrant system is not prescribed under (a) but is required to be suitable for the purpose.
(b) details a fire hydrant system that is deemed to be suitable and satisfy (a).
The fire hydrant system is based on compliance with AS 2419.1-2005 Fire hydrant installations – System design, installation and commissioning (b)(i). This Standard provides the details for determining the number of fire hydrants, whether they must be located internally or whether external fire hydrants can be used, and where they are to be located.
The provisions covering the use of external fire hydrants in AS 2419.1 are performance based to allow for effective fire-fighting. In many instances two and three storey buildings will be able to utilise external fire hydrants.
(b)(ii) indicates that where internal fire hydrants are required, they must be located on every storey except where they service a sole-occupancy unit. It is expected that coverage will be able to be achieved from the entrance door as storeys and areas are usually within the reach of one length of hose.
From Class 5 to 9 buildings the concession is limited to sole-occupancy units with only 2 storeys and where the fire hydrant at the entrance level can provide total coverage. AS 2419.1 provides details of coverage.
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