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Be aware of fire protection system regulation

All buildings – whether existing or new, will have a set of regulations that must be followed so that the building can be deemed fire safe. Passive fire protection is one of the more important regulations in any building.

As a property owner, you are responsible for ensuring that your building meets all the required fire protection standards. The environment you live or work in must comply with all building regulations, to ensure the safety of residents, employees and the protection of your building.

Fire safety should always be a primary concern, no matter what type of property you own – residential, industrial or commercial.

In 2016, the Victorian government announced that the AS1851-2012 Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment would be applied to all new and existing buildings in Victoria, despite what is indicated on any occupancy permits (Another term for AS1851-2012 is AS1851).

This Australian standard provides advised routine servicing actions for fire safety systems and equipment. The amendment to this standard was made in 2016; it provides a mechanism for the property owners to use AS1851-2012 for not just installation but also maintenance of the equipment.

AS 1851 covers equipment such as extinguishers, hose reels, sprinklers, fire hydrants, fire monitoring systems, smoke alarms, water mist and many other areas fire protection and safety.

It lays out a systematic four-stage approach to maintain and inspect fire equipment to confirm it is compliant with the law and is in good condition till the next year’s inspection.

The first stage of the inspection protection covers the requirements as set forth by the equipment sections in the AS 1851. All areas of the checklist should be carefully inspected to ensure they meet the standards.

The second stage is about how to keep your records for each inspection. The Australian Standard 1851 is pretty clear on what information is needed and how it has to be documented.

If any failures in the fire equipment testing occur, stage three directs how these errors need to be reported and rectified.

After the conduction of all three stages, in the fourth stage, the annual report is drawn up with all the findings of the inspection and any rectification that has been made. You can read more about Building Amendment Regulations 2016 here.

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There are two main types of fire protection – Active Fire Protection (AFP) and Passive Fire Protection (PFP). AFP takes action to stop a fire, while PFP will help prevent a fire from spreading or resist the initial ignition.

These systems work independently, but both systems need to be functioning properly to either stop a fire before it starts or stop it in its tracks.

Hoses, deluge, water spray, sprinklers, and firewater monitors are examples of Active Fire Protection systems. Fire Retardant Coating and Intumescent coating are commonly used methods of passive fire protection to building structures, especially steel.

The Building Code of Australia affirms fire protection is required to preserve the stability of the building structure in case of a fire. Steel loses its load-bearing capacity at a temperature of over 550°C.

Australian Steel Coating is one of the few businesses in Victoria that can provide quality passive fire protection for your buildings. They use certified structural steel protection technologies, to minimise structural damage and prevent the spread of smoke and flames.

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