Fire dampers are an integral part of building fire safety, particularly in high-rise structures where they are designed to prevent the spread of fire and smoke between different sections of a building. As per Australian Standards and Building Codes, they are an essential fire safety measure that must be regularly tested and maintained, and their condition recorded in Annual Fire Safety Statements (AFSS).
In Australia, fire dampers are governed under the Australian Standard AS 1668.1-2015 (The use of ventilation and air conditioning in buildings - Fire and smoke control in buildings) and AS 1851-2012 (Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment).
Fire dampers work by automatically closing off the section of a building's HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system when the heat from a fire triggers them. The trigger is usually a fusible link which melts at temperatures above 72 degrees Celsius, causing the damper to close and thereby restrict the spread of fire and smoke.
Compliance with the Australian Standards is required under the National Construction Code (NCC). According to the NCC, fire dampers must be installed where air ducts pass through fire-resisting barriers, such as walls and floors. They must also be installed in some types of exhaust systems.
Fire damper maintenance in Australia is regulated and outlined in AS 1851-2012. This standard requires routine servicing of fire dampers every twelve months. This involves checking their overall condition, ensuring they are free from obstruction, and manually testing them to make sure they are operating correctly. The results of these tests need to be recorded in an AFSS.
The Annual Fire Safety Statement is a legal document required by Australian law. It ensures that the building owner or managing entity maintains all the fire safety measures within a building to the standard of performance. Fire dampers, if present in the building, must be included in the AFSS and it must be confirmed that they have been adequately maintained and checked as per AS 1851-2012.
The Australian Building Codes Board and local fire safety authorities continue to provide regulatory oversight and enforce compliance to ensure the functionality of fire dampers and other essential fire safety measures. Non-compliance with these codes and regulations can lead to penalties and pose a risk to the safety of occupants.
In conclusion, fire dampers are critical components in maintaining the safety of buildings in Australia. They prevent the spread of fire and smoke through ducts and are governed by specific Australian Standards. As such, they must be included in the Annual Fire Safety Statement, reflecting their crucial role in fire safety.