As a busy building manager or owner, you’re in charge of ensuring every part of your property is fire-safe. The trouble is, there are a plethora of requirements for building fire safety. Getting it right is essential since the latest government figures show that fire damage can cost an average of $32,000 per building.
So where should you start? How can you quickly and accurately determine the critical building fire safety requirements for your property? We’ve got you covered. Here’s an outline of fire safety requirements for every part of your property.
Building class based on NCC
Sometimes, the requirements that apply to your property depend on the ‘class’ of building it falls under according to the National Construction Code (NCC). As each building class carries different fire safety requirements (and some buildings even fall under multiple classes!), it’s best to refer to the breakdown provided by the NCC.
There’s also a detailed guide to fire-resisting construction from the NCC.
At the very least, in NSW, residential buildings must have smoke alarms installed. These need to be installed on every level, ideally in hallways near the bedrooms. Building managers should also note the landlord requirements for ensuring that smoke alarms are installed and in working order for rented properties.
With regards to fire sprinklers, residential buildings having a rise in storeys of 4 or more are required to have these installed.
Larger commercial properties are often subject to other building fire safety requirements. For example, you may need to abide by guidelines around providing access for the fire brigade.
You’ll also need to prepare a tactical fire plan (in addition to emergency evacuation plan for occupants) to assist the fire brigade if your building:
- has a fire control centre (FCC) or fire control room (FCR)
- has a facility emergency control centre (FECC)
- is a major hazard facility (MHF). This usually includes chemical plants, oil refineries or any facility that stores large quantities of hazardous materials.
- is an explosives site
- has been required by a regulatory authority to do so.
Your building might also need to connect to an automatic fire alarm monitoring provider. This will mean your smoke or heat detection system and/or sprinkler systems must connect to a fire alarm monitoring system. This regulation also applies to Class 3 buildings, health-care buildings and residential care buildings.
Underground car parks
AS 2118.1 (Part 1: General Systems) requires underground car parks with 40 or more car spaces to have automated fire sprinkler systems installed.
You should also note the exit and emergency lighting requirements per AS 2293.1 that outlines the need for exit, emergency, and non-emergency lighting in your car park.
Aside from that, there are other fire hydrant, access, occupant warning, and ventilation requirements that apply to underground car parks.
There are undoubtedly other requirements that aren’t covered here, so make sure you work with a fire safety provider who knows the ins and outs of designing a safe car park.
Kitchens and food preparation areas
In both residential and commercial settings, it is recommended that you install fire extinguishers and fire blankets at least 1 metre away from the stove, between the stove and the closest exit.
In commercial kitchens, training staff in evacuation and fire safety procedures (such as proper use of fire extinguishers) is tremendously helpful. You can also check out some excellent guidance from Fire and Rescue NSW for keeping kitchens and restaurants fire safe.
Remember, every property is different. While this is a helpful starting point for the essential requirements, it’s always best to speak to an expert. Have a chat with your fire safety provider (or give Global Fire a call) about your specific needs.
Are you looking for a reliable and friendly fire safety provider? Talk to Global Fire. We’ll help you with any fire safety concerns you have for your property. Plus, our clients enjoy 24/7 emergency service should an incident occur after hours. For a wide range of fire protection solutions, call us now on 1300 88 70 18 or email email@example.com.