AUST – Essential Property Services advises that most building owners and tenants recognise a fire hose reel (essential safety measure) when it is attached to a wall in a corridor. Those tenants residing in a building where the fire hose reel is enclosed behind a cupboard door in most cases would not know that an essential safety measure was behind the door. Fire hose reels are installed in a building under the Building Code of Australia (BCA) for the protection of contents within a fire compartment for the initial fire attack by the occupiers and fire brigade. Fire hydrants on the other hand are installed in a building for use by trained officers in the fire brigade.

Building Code of Australia

Clause E1.4(a) (b) and (c) prescribes in which buildings a fire hose reel system is required with the type of system being suitable for its purpose.

The performance clause EP1.1 for fire hose reels states:


A fire hose reel system must be installed to the degree necessary to allow occupants to safely undertake initial attack on a fire appropriate to—

(a)  the size of the fire compartment; and
(b)  the function or use of the building; and
(c)  any other fire safety systems installed in the building; and
(d)  the fire hazard.

Table I1.5 Safety Measures – Fire Fighting Services and Equipment contained in Part I1 Equipment and Safety Installations determines the standard of performance for a fire hose reel system to be in accordance with Clause E1.4 of the BCA. Clause E1.4 requires a fire house reel to be installed in accordance with AS 2441-2005 Installation of fire hose reels.

A check of the referenced standards in Table 1 Schedule of Reference Documents in Specification A1.3 “Documents Adopted by Reference” reveals that no maintenance standard for fire hose reel systems is nominated (or in Clause E1.4), only AS 2441-2005.

What Maintenance is Applicable for Fire Hose Reels?

We have eight States and Territories around Australia, each with their own “building regulations” requiring building surveyors to issue statutory documents (determinations/ occupancy permits/ schedules/ lists of essential safety measures) nominating the performance conditions for the regular testing, inspection and standard of maintenance for essential safety measures e.g. fire hose reels.

Most jurisdictions (States), nominate AS 1851-2005 Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment in their documents for either the building owner, agent of the building owner or the occupier to ensure that all fire hose reels are maintained to the requirements of this standard.

Australian Standards

The following Australian Standards have an impact on the design, installation and maintenance of a fire hose reel system (Not all are referenced in the BCA).

1. AS 1221-1997 Fire hose reels (the making of the fire hose reel)
2. AS 2484.2-1991 Fire – Glossary of terms – Fire Protection and fire fighting equipment
3. AS 2441-2005 Installation of fire hose reels
4. AS1 851-2005 Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment

Maintenance Obligations

AS 1851-2005 ‘Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment’ is very specific for the type of inspections and frequency to occur. The standard requires a logbook to record all information specified. A number of State regulations also require logbooks to be provided for all essential safety measures. The AS 1851 fire hose reel logbook would then form part of the “state” required logbook for the nominated essential safety measures.

Building Legislation Table

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