We recently received the following question from a lot owner about apartment fire regulations. Peter Berney, Solutions in Engineering has provided the following response.
Question: What are the rules on fitting a security door to the front entrance door of a unit? Does this breach apartment fire regulations?
What are the rules on fitting a security door to the entrance door of a unit? Does this breach apartment fire regulations?
A while ago in our NSW strata building, another owner and I got permission to fit security mesh doors to our balconies. However, the other lot owner also had one fitted to their entrance door which was not part of the permission.
The fire safety inspector objected but somehow this owner (who happens to be on the committee) and the Strata Manager, buried the issue. That Strata Manager has now left. My query is whether that’s legitimate in NSW?
In case of a fire, doesn’t that hamper firefighters entering the unit? Will that affect the insurance of the building in any way?
Answer: The NSW Fire Brigade recommend against security doors being fitted and for good reason as they would hamper the fire and rescue services.
The NSW Fire Brigade recommend against security doors being fitted and for good reason as they would hamper the fire and rescue services. Also the ‘ideal’ of compartmentalisation would be lost as the fire could either start in the unit and then easily spread as it’s not being contained within the unit it started and/or enter the unit because the fire door may not be shut resulting in what could have been a preventable disaster. I can’t think of any legitimate reason to fit a security door in front of a fire door, other than to allow ventilation meaning the fire door is open meaning it is now rendered ineffective.
However in saying that and with the EP&A Regs 2000 Division 7 in mind, I do not know of any specific regulation that states unit security doors are not to be installed and I do not know if this would affect the building insurance but if this was my scheme that is the first question I’d be asking the insurers before fitting any door in front of a fire door.
Please see this FactSheet from NSW Fire and Rescue: Safe living in high rise buildings:
“The front door of your apartment should be a certified fire resistant door. Making alterations to the front door can make it unsafe in the event of a fire. Check with your building management before making alterations.”
This post appears in Strata News # 173.
This article is not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.