This article about compliant fire systems has been written by Greg McCulloch, Westside Fire Services.
Jump directly to the QUESTION you are after:
- QUESTION: I’m on the COO of an older building in Perth and we don’t have onsite extinguishers. What is the WA regulation pertaining to older building complexes?
- QUESTION: If you have a leaky fire hose in a strata complex, is it sufficient if advised by the Council to leave it until the next fire service? Or should this be rectified immediately?
- ARTICLE: Are Your Fire Systems Really Compliant?
Question: I’m on the COO of an older building in Perth and we don’t have onsite extinguishers. What is the WA regulation pertaining to older building complexes?
I’m on the COO of an older building in Perth and we don’t have onsite extinguishers. I have always been told that we were established prior to there fire safety requirements. What is the WA regulation pertaining to older building complexes?
Answer: Fire safety measures are not retrospective.
Fire safety measures are not retrospective. However, the COO have a duty of care to provide a safe environment for occupants and contractors. I recommend that you read the WA government fact sheet for fire safety in apartment buildings.
Question: If you have a leaky fire hose in a strata complex, is it sufficient if advised by the Council to leave it until the next fire service? Or should this be rectified immediately?
Answer: It’s a judgment call, determined by the size and cause of the leak.
Hose reels have to be inspected every six months, so I’m assuming that you have a fire contractor on site that is doing maintenance in accordance with Australian standard 1851. If so, there will be a six month gap between service work.
It depends on how much water is actually leaking out of the hose reel. If it’s a slow drip (a bit like your bathroom tap dripping), then it’ll either be an o-ring failing in the nozzle of the hose reel or the inlet valve. If that’s the case then you’re only going to get a small amount of water coming out of the hose reel for six months until it gets repaired.
We have had occasions where the actual hose on the hose reel has a split and that will leave a small amount of water but over time because it’s under pressure the split will get bigger and bigger, and then you’re going to end up with a big water problem.
It’s a bit of a judgment call to try and determine where the leak is coming from, and if it looks like it’s just dripping out of the end of the hose rule then yea you can leave it for six months until the service technician arrives.
This post appears in Strata News #400.
WA: Are Your Fire Systems Really Compliant?
Most fire service companies only allow to carry out routine maintenance that is required by Australian Standard 1851 to be done in yearly cycles. For example, fire detection systems are required to undergo a series of tests every month, every six months more tests are done and then once a year a more complex test is required. Fire sprinkler systems have a similar requirement.
Australian Standard 1851 also requires some fire systems to have long term tests to be completed – 5, 10, 25 and 30 years. Your existing service company should notify you when the additional tests are required, however, this can be difficult if they don’t know the full service history of the building.
Lot owners have a duty of care to ensure building services are always operating effectively and are compliant. The strata manager or a responsible person on the council of owners should understand what tests are required and when they fall due. This is also very important should a fire incident occur as the insurance company will review the service records, if all the required inspections and maintenance has not been completed then it is likely your claim will be denied.
Contact your fire services company to request a quotation for the additional tests. This could be thousands of dollars. In most cases you can engage an alternative company to carry out the additional work without breaching your contract with the existing provider, so obtain additional quotations to ensure you minimise cost.
This post appears in the August 2020 edition of the WA Strata Magazine.
This post appears in Strata News #354.
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