Update on key fire standards
Standards Australia is the independent and not-for-profit developer of internationally-aligned Australian Standards. In this column, Tim Wheeler, National Sector Manager of Standards Australia, talks about updates to key standards and the next generation of Standards experts.
Fire hazard properties of wall and ceiling linings
When it comes to matters of fire safety, debates on the suitability of building components are always front and centre. With the expertise and dedication of the FP-018 Technical Committee, we have developed a brand new standard, AS5637.1:2015 that contains all the testing requirements for determining the flammability of internal walls and ceilings. This standard will be referenced in the National Construction Code (NCC) 2016 edition which comes into force on 1 May this year.
Prior to the development of this standard, the NCC allowed two alternative and equal procedures for determining the flammability of products. For some products there appeared to be some discrepancies in results depending on the method used. To avoid any potential safety issues that may result from this, AS5637.1 lays out clear requirements of which test should be used in which circumstances. AS5637.1 will bring some clarity to industry and test laboratories and make meeting the requirements of the NCC simpler.
Fire detection, warning and intercom systems
2015 has been a significant year for Standards on fire detection systems. An updated version of AS1670.1 on design, installation and commissioning of fire detection and alarm systems was published. The new and improved version of the Standard introduces a number of major changes to simplify the use of the standard and helps to align Australia more closely with international best-practise. To this end, a number of ISO equipment standards that were published as Australian Standards since the last iteration of AS1670.1 have been incorporated into the document. This has significantly increased the flexibility of design and installation of fire detectionand systems, improved product compliance and simplified the requirements to meet the NCC. Other notable inclusions are a new section on smoke control systems, the establishment of baseline data retention for ongoing system maintenance and servicing, and provisions for an Alarm Delay Facility as a measure to reduce nuisance alarms in households.
Young blood at Standards Australia
Launched in 2012, Standards Australia’s Young Leaders Program is designed to bring together Australia’s next generation of standards experts. Up-and-coming engineers, technicians and managers are given the opportunity to become involved in national and international standards development, supporting Australian industry, government and consumers.
Ten young professionals are selected in a competitive process and trained in standards development. Paired with an experienced mentor, the Young Leaders have the opportunity to develop the skills required to be successful in the technical committee environment. The Young Leaders Program provides formal training in drafting standards, writing for a non-technical audience, and international standards development. The program also offers courses in facilitation, negotiation and leadership skills. The program also provides the opportunity to attend technical committee meetings at Standards Australia, and possibly other ISO/IEC meetings hosted in Australia.
For more information, go to www.standards.org.au