Passive fire protection features and compliance schedule requirements

Last updated: 15 March 2016

Fire separations and smoke separations are prescribed as specified systems in the Building Regulations 2005.

 

This information was confirmed as current in February 2016. It originally appeared in Codewords newsletters prior to January 2014.

A fire separation is defined in the Building Code as any building element which separates firecells, or firecells and safe paths, and provides a specific fire resistance rating.

This means that walls, ceilings, floors, hinged doors, roller shutters, glazing elements and dampers in ductwork are all examples of building elements that could be part of a fire separation (SS 15 Other fire safety systems or features in the Compliance Schedule Handbook).

When fire separations exist on the building's means of escape and that 'means' also contains one of the primary fire safety systems (eg sprinklers, warning systems and emergency lighting) these need to become part of the compliance schedule. The compliance schedule must state:

  • the specified system
  • a description of the specified system
  • performance standard
  • inspection, maintenance and reporting procedures.

The following are examples of the information that may be provided.

Fire separations

Examples: fire door, safe path or fire rated floor.

Inspection procedures might involve checking the condition of fire doors, ensuring there are no holes or gaps, and checking closers are intact and working and that smoke seals are not damaged.

If passive fire protection systems are not checked on a regular basis the following common problems could occur:

  • doors secured in the open position
  • self closers do not close the door onto the latch
  • damaged or missing smoke seals
  • damage to light timber framed walls
  • incomplete fire separation above false ceilings or below false floors
  • penetrations that are not appropriately sealed.

All of these faults can be avoided if a proper maintenance and inspection routine is implemented and retro fitting of building or business systems is carefully managed.

This is why passive fire protection systems are just as important as active ones when it comes to inspection and maintenance procedures, as they assist in the functioning of active systems.

ContentPerformance StandardInspection, maintenance and reporting   proceduresSystems that relate to means of escape   (yes/no)
Fire resisting walls Maintain a FRR of 30/30/30 Monthly check that the performance standard   is being maintained and no damage or installation of systems has occurred   that would jeopardise the fire resisting properties. Yes
Fire resisting floor/ceilings Maintain a FRR of 30/30/30 Monthly check that the performance standard   is being maintained and no damage or installation of systems has occurred   that would jeopardise the fire resisting properties. Yes
Exposed columns and beams Maintain a FRR of -/60/- Ensure means of fire protecting the element   is undamaged (for example, board product or intumescent coating) No
Doorsets Is self-closing and maintains a FRR of   -/30/30, complies with AS/NZS 1905 Daily check by the occupier that doors are   not secured in the open position and close onto a latch. Monthly check that   door is undamaged and self-closing function operates as designed. Check frame   mounted or leaf mounted seals for damage. Yes
Roller Shutters Closes on activation of smoke detection   and/or heat detection. Maintains a FRR of -/60/- Monthly inspection. Quarterly routine   maintenance of operating mechanism and running gear. Runners clear of debris. Fusible link in good order. Shutter closes when link is released. No damage   that will affect fire resisting properties. Yes
Fire resisting glazing Maintains a FRR of -/30/- Quarterly inspection. Intact and undamaged. Yes

 

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: