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

Building Code of Australia

The Building Code of Australia requires an SSIS 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’. An SSIS installation comprises a master control panel usually interfaced to the building’s 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 is a part extract of clause I1.1 Safety Measures covering Sound and Intercom Systems (SSIS):

Part extract of Clause I1.1, Table I1.1L:

Safety measureBCA provisions for determining standard of performance
Sound system and intercom system for emergency purposesE4.9
Clause 5 of Specification G3.8

Essential Safety Measures Audit

The maintenance requirements for a sound system 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 measure determination/ schedule as to whether an SSIS or EWIS is installed. If so the auditor should check the maintenance logbooks required under AS 1851-2005 ‘Maintenance of fire protection systems and equipment’, if any inspections or testing have not occurred or failed, then they should be recorded in the building’s essential safety measures logbook.

Building Legislation Table

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