The fire sector remains a key area of operation for Standards Australia, with the publications in this industry aimed at ensuring professionals are equipped to do their job with confidence. The work of Standards Australia and our contributors from the fire protection industry contributes to a safe and sustainable environment for all Australians. Recent publications from late last year, and the early months of 2019, are proof our commitment, but it is in the decision on our exclusive distribution with SAI Global that we see a continuing ability to deliver for the sector.
Big updates for fire detection
Many in the fire detection, and protection, sector will be aware of AS 1670 and its many parts. For those unfamiliar, AS 1670 Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems – System design, installation and commissioning has multiple sections which focus on a different aspect of fire detection and warning systems.
Recently, three parts were updated:
AS 1670.1:2018 Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems – Systems design, installation and commissioning, Part 1 Fire
The FP-002 technical committee had the following objectives for this revision:
- Incorporating the latest international and national product standards available
- Dealing with false alarm mitigation technologies
- Consolidating smoke detection and smoke control from AS 1668.1 requirements, removing duplication and misinterpretation by providing industry and regulators with a single point of reference
- Ensuring clarity of wording to facilitate consistency of interpretation.
AS 1670.3:2018 Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems – Systems design, installation and commissioning, Part 3 Fire alarm monitoring
This revision supersedes a 2004 version and aims to guide reliable monitoring of fire detection and alarm systems installed in buildings by a remotely located monitoring service and to transfer signals to a fire dispatch centre. Key changes in this edition include:
- Incorporating changes in technology and use of innovative telecommunication materials
- The removal of the requirement for primary and secondary links for monitored sites
- This standard now references AS 4428.6:2018 Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems – Control and indicating equipment, Part 6: Alarm signalling equipment
AS 1670.4:2018 Fire detection, warning, control and intercom systems – Systems design, installation and commissioning, Part 4 Emergency warning and intercom systems
Part 4 of the 1670 series outlines design, installation and commissioning requirements for emergency warning systems and emergency intercom systems used in buildings to evacuate people in the event of fire or another emergency.
With increasing density in urban centres presenting unique challenges, this standard is becoming more and more significant. Ultimately, systems installed to this standard are designed to evacuate people in an orderly manner, through fire, smoke, civil incident, bomb threats, explosions, chemical leaks, and structural damage among many other challenges.
All three parts above are primary references in the National Construction Code, which means they can be used as part of a deemed-to-satisfy solution. A transition period does apply, so refer to Schedule 4 of the NCC to find out more.
These standards are continued examples of the fire industry’s tireless work to ensure minimum building performance standards that contribute to safety and amenity for the Australian public.
Fire performance of external walls
There are a number of standards that aim to assist builders, certifiers, and the fire industry more broadly to manage fire in the most proactive way possible. Standards do this by providing critical guidance during the design and construction stage.
The amendment to one of these standards, AS 5113:2016 Classification of external walls of buildings based on reaction to fire performance was published in September last year, with a number of key industry representatives and technical experts being heavily involved throughout its development.
The most obvious change is to the title. The standard’s title is now “Classification of external walls of buildings based on reaction-to-fire performance” instead of “Fire propagation testing and classification of external walls of buildings”. The committee’s intent with this change was to clarify what the use of the word “test” meant in the context of the standard.
Probably the most important feature of this amendment is the inclusion of a new appendix (Appendix A), which outlines the relationship of this standard to the National Construction Code (NCC). The aim is to provide clarity on the scope of the standard, its intended use and application under the NCC Verification Method.
Change is in the air
There has been plenty of discussion within the walls of Standards Australia around the distribution of our content. Standards Australia has been considering the different avenues that can be taken to develop our distribution process in an innovative and effective way.
As a key part of the process we have spent the last few months travelling to Australian capital cities as part of the release of the discussion paper on Distribution and Licensing Policy Framework. We heard from various stakeholders, contributors and those who use standards, with each consultation bringing about interesting and insightful feedback.
“There was no point in us deciding what works for different industries; we wanted the industries to tell us what works for them. We needed to ask, ‘how else do Australians want to use our product’?” said Adam Stingemore, General Manager of Strategy and Engagement at Standards Australia.
The consultations are an important step in improving our distribution process. As we consolidate and consider all the feedback given, we will gain more insight into how our distribution processes could and should look.
In another exciting step forward, Standards Australia has recently engaged in new distribution agreement with Techstreet, a Clarivate Analytics company.
The Techstreet Webstore is designed to enrich the user experience for users of standards and other technical documents. Standards can now be purchased directly through the Standards Australia website, or there is the option to access them via the Techstreet subscription model. Hopefully customers will appreciate the multiple avenues available and the versatility of this new model.
These recent changes are just the beginning of developments Standards Australia is working on to increase accessibility to standards. Please stay tuned!
For more information, go to www.standards.org.au