We’ve recently received the following questions from NSW lot owners about apartment fire regulations. Peter Berney, Solutions in Engineering and Vincent Graham, Project Guides have provided the following response.
Question: I want to install a security door to replace a screen door facing into an open courtyard. Our strata manager says Fire Regulations may deny us having security doors on our units.
Answer: If you are replacing an existing screen door, it would indicate there are no issues with this location.
It sounds like the screen door opens directly outside, which could mean there is no requirement for Fire Doors or the screen door would fall in the path of egress.
Additionally, if you are replacing an existing screen door, that would also indicate there are no issues with this location.
Without going to the building, I can’t be certain, however, it doesn’t appear to be any issues on the installation of a screen door to a door leading directly outside.
This post appears in Strata News #299.
Question: We wish to install a doggie door in a small floor level window. Is there any mention of doggie doors in the Australian Fire Standards relating to apartment fire regulations?
My daughter owns a ground floor unit in a pet friendly apartment block and wishes to install a doggie door in a small floor level window.
She has been given starts approval on the basis that it doesn’t breach any Australian Fire Standards.
I think they are worried that they may not comply with the standards if a number of upper level apartments were to be given the same approval.
Is there any mention of doggie doors in the Australian Fire Standards relating to apartment fire regulations?
Answer: We would need to outline the location of the doggie door.
In order to answer this, they will need to outline the location of the doggie door.
If the doggie door was leading directly outside, this may be ok, however, some issues may arise.
However, if the location was internal and the doggie door was to be installed in a wall that separates the unit from the common areas, these walls are required to be fire-rated and therefore the location of the doggie door is not permitted.
I would recommend discussing the location with a Building Consultant so the Owners can be confident that any installation complies.
This post appears in Strata News #282.
These articles are not intended to be personal advice and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.
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.
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