Fire Service Maintenance

 

Youngs Plumbing supplies a range of fire service maintenance services including:

  • damage repair
  • burst and leak rectification 
  • alterations and extensions
  • new for old equipment replacement

What is the aim of this information page?  

  • an informative checklist tool for people who are responsible for commercial industrial or institutional sites 
  • to raise awareness of the possible requirements 
  • to identify the relevant authorities 
  • to provide information about consultants, testers, installers and authorities 
  • to make those responsible aware of their obligations 

Introduction 

Fire-fighting requirements and equipment is a specialised industry, with a separate set of requirements to plumbing. 
The main players are: 
  • DFES (Department of Fire & Emergency Services)
  • Private Building Surveyor (BCA consultant)
  • Local authorities
  • Insurers 
The Building Code and referenced Australian Standards are enshrined in law by reference in the WA Building Regulations which in turn are referenced in the WA Building Act.
Failure to comply, can restrict how you can develop and use property and buildings, and puts the owner at risk with insurers and common law claims 

Who can Assess

Assessment should be carried out by an independent expert consultant, deemed by the BCA (Building Code of Australia) to be a "competent person". You do not want your site specified by an incompetent person, but some consultants are. There is a lot of misinformation about what compliance is required and obtaining an active and dedicated fire consultant's report can produce saving in cost of a solution, compared to those suggested by large fire manufacturers and general consultants, who tend to use a "one size fits all" approach, based on vested interests, or to sell an over engineered solution because they cannot accurately predict the "live" requirement. 

Youngs Plumbing uses only one specialist consulting company for assessments, DTAP, who use live dynamic testing recording data and are a key Water Corporation advisor. They possess the only testing apparatus of its type in Western Australia. 
You can contact Greg Lock at DTAP,  phone 0411 115 060 

Testing may include: 
  • pressure and flow dynamic readings at single and multiple locations simultaneously, simulating 'live' fire fighting scenario's
  • certified documentation of assessment and testing 
  • testing and compliance issues 
  • documentation of assessment methodology, readings and testing 

A Basic Checklist for Owners and Managers

To talk to any authority or expert, information about the site will be required:
  • How big is the site? 
  • How much of it is under cover (including awnings) - offices, warehouse, factory, classrooms? 
  • What is the 'use' of the building and what does it house within (e.g. chemcials, tyres , paper) and in what configuration (e.g.rack storage higher that 4 metres may require sprinklers)?
  • What is the current available ex- mains pressure at the first hydrant and the last hydrant/hose reel?
  • What is the pressure available under live load? 
  • Function and compliance


What fire service is currently in place at your site?

  • Do you have a dedicated fire service?
  • Is it metered?
  • Where is the isolation?
  • How many hose reels are there? 
  • Where are they located on your BCA (emergency) plan?
  • How many hydrants are there?
  • Where are they located on your fire plan?
  • Does your site have a fire booster system?
  • Is it from the mains?
  • Is it from a tank back up source?
  • Do you have a sprinkler/ alarm system?
  • Do you have a foaming plant?
  • Who maintains your assets?
  • Is there a record of annual compliance testing?
  • Do you have a fire panel/detection system/direct brigade alarm (DBA – monitored by DFES)?

Things to know


 

Water Testing - Each site can use up to 10,000L for water testing and losses from their fire system, without additional charge from the water corporation, but thereafter the cost of fire water will be 3 times the cost of domestic water. It could be very expensive if your tenants are using it for wash down.

 

Hose reels - A hose reel is a hose on a circular wheel for fire fighting. It has a nozzle and isolation valve and is red in colour. They are:

  • required for commercial, retail, car parks and industrial sites over 500m2
  • 30 and 36m in length 
  • 19mm or 25mm diameter
  • located near escape doorways 
  • They must have a flow rate of 0.33L/s @ 220kpa (0.41 L/s @ 220kpa for 25mm diameter)
 

Hydrants - A hydrant is a large valve for attachment of fire fighting hoses and is required for sites over 500m2. They should be located within 20m of a a fire brigade pumping appliance hardstand and at least 10m away from the building unless protected by a firewall:

  • having a FRL of not less than 90/90/90;
  • extending 2 m each side of the fire hydrant outlet; and
  • extending not less than 3 m above the ground adjacent to the fire hydrant or the
  • height of the building, whichever is the lesser.
  • They shall be supported and protected 
  • Flow rate: 10 L/s @ 200 kPa per required outlet (External feed hydrant) Flow rate: 5 L/s @ 700 kPa per required outlet (Internal or External Attack hydrant when supplied by onsite pumps)

Required outlets:

TABLE 2.1
NUMBER OF FIRE HYDRANT OUTLETS
REQUIRED TO DISCHARGE SIMULTANEOUSLY
ACCORDING TO BUILDING CLASSIFICATION AND FLOOR AREA

Building classification (see BCA) Fire compartment floor area m2 No. of fire hydrant outlets
required to flow simultaneously (Note 1)
2,3,5 and 9 (1 or 2 storeys contained) ≤1,000 1
2,3,5 and 9 (1 or 2 storeys contained) > 1,000 2
2,3,5 and 9 (3 or more storeys contained) ≤5,000 1
2,3,5 and 9 (3 or more storeys contained) ≤500 2
6,7 and 8 (Note 2) >500
≤5,000
1
6,7 and 8 ≤500 2
All classes sprinklered >5,000
≤10,000
2
All classes sprinklered >10,000 3
All classes unsprinklered >5,000
≤10,000
3
All classes unsprinklered >10,000 3 plus one additional fire hydrant
for each additional 5,000 m2 or part thereof

NOTES:

  1. Where more than one external fire hydrant, each with two valve-controlled outlets is installed and more than one outlet is required to flow, then one outlet on each of the most hydraulically disadvantaged fire hydrants has to achieve the required flow and pressure. If the number of outlets required to flow exceeds the number of fire hydrants installed, then simultaneous flow from each of the two outlets on the most hydraulically disadvantaged fire hydrant will be necessary. Where only one external fire hydrant with two valve-controlled outlets is installed and two outlets are required to flow, then simultaneous flow from each of the two outlets will be necessary. Where an in-ground fire hydrant is required to provide a discharge equal or greater than 20 L/sec, this is acceptable if this flow is achieved from a twin outlet standpipe.
  2. One outlet is required to flow for these classifications where the total floor area of the building is greater than 500 m2, and the building is subdivided into fire compartments of 500 m2, or less

4. Booster Sets


A booster set is an apparatus located at the boundary where the fire dept. can attach their truck, both sucking water from the
mains and pressurising the internal fire system during active fire fighting. 
When do I need a booster set?
A fire brigade booster assembly shall be fitted to each fire hydrant system where—
(a) internal fire hydrants are installed;
(b) external on-site fire hydrants are installed more than 20 m from a fire brigade
pumping appliance hardstand;
(c) more than 6 external on-site above ground fire hydrants are installed;
(d) a pumpset is installed;
(e) on-site storage tanks are installed; or
(f) more than one external on site fire hydrant is required to serve a building where the
floor area of any fire compartment is greater than 2000 m2 .

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