A Guide On Fire Safety Measures In Australia

Posted on: 7 June 2021

In Australia, all commercial buildings should meet specific fire standards, commonly referred to as essential safety measures. The primary purpose of these standards is to compel building owners to mind the safety of their primary stakeholders; the tenants. Below is an extensive excerpt discussing these safety standards and fire equipment.  

What Are The Fire Safety Measures? 

Fire safety measures are building improvements or appliances used to prevent fire, alert occupants of a fire, minimise fire damage or aid firefighters when responding to the fire. They include, but not limited to: 

  • Fire alarms to warn occupants and the fire department of a fire. High-tech fire alarms will indicate the exact location of the fire.
  • Fire response devices such as fire extinguishers, fire hydrants, overhead sprinklers, and water hoses.
  • Emergency elevators, staircases, and ladders to be used by people who get trapped in the fire. These exits also prevent stampedes during a fire outbreak.
  • Emergency lighting systems to show occupants to the emergency exits.
  • Mechanical ventilation systems to push out smoke during the fire.
  • Emergency power supply systems to be used during search and rescue missions. 

Are Fire Safety Measures Compulsory?

Fire safety measures are compulsory for all commercial buildings built after 1994. It is not to say that buildings constructed before 1994 do not have these fire safety measures. Since the law was passed in 1994, structures built before 1994 were required to ensure that their buildings met the standards. In contrast, any building built after the law's passage must incorporate fire safety measures during construction. Therefore, you cannot get an occupation certificate if your facility does not have fire safety measures. 

It is essential to consult with a qualified building surveyor or your local council to know if the class of building you intend to construct should have fire safety measures.

What Are Annual Fire Inspections?  

Under the law, it is the responsibility of the building owner to maintain fire safety standards. For example, they should clean the ventilation system to get rid of mould and dust. The owner should also test the functionality of the fire alarm and smoke detectors. Additionally, they should inspect the fire extinguishers for defects that could affect their functionality. 

The owner should commission an annual fire inspection to ascertain the condition of the various fire response features. Ideally, this inspection should be carried out by a qualified inspector hired by the building owner. After the assessment, the inspector issues a certificate showing the building meets the required fire safety standards.