Futura Fire's Logo - Fire Protection Services for Newcastle, Sydney and Regional NSW

Fire seals protecting openings in fire-resisting components of the building

Fire seals play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of a building during a fire event. Their primary purpose is to prevent the spread of fire, smoke, and toxic gases through openings in fire-resisting components such as doors, walls, and floors. In the context of Australia, these seals are commonly listed as an essential fire safety measure in the Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) which is required by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.

Fire-resisting components of a building are designed to contain fire within a particular compartment or area for a specific duration, typically referred to as a fire resistance level (FRL). This level is expressed in three values in minutes representing structural adequacy, integrity, and insulation, respectively. The FRLs are set in the National Construction Code (NCC), which sets the minimum requirements for the design, construction, and performance of buildings throughout Australia.

Fire seals are designed to expand with the heat of a fire, effectively sealing the gap around an opening, such as a door or service duct, and maintaining the integrity of the fire-resistant barrier. Without a proper seal, these openings could allow fire, smoke, or gases to pass through, defeating the purpose of the fire-resisting component. Fire seals are rated for their fire resistance performance, with their suitability for different applications determined by the FRL of the component they are installed in.

In terms of regulations, Australian Standard AS1530.4 is commonly used to evaluate the fire resistance of elements of building construction when exposed to heating conditions, which includes testing fire door assemblies. Additionally, Australian Standard AS1905.1 provides details on components of fire-resistant doorsets, including door leaves, grilles, sidelights, and seals.

On an Annual Fire Safety Statement, building owners or their agents are required to declare that essential fire safety measures, including fire seals, have been maintained to operate satisfactorily. This statement is to be given annually to the local council and Fire and Rescue NSW. Failure to provide or false information on an AFSS can result in penalties.

In conclusion, fire seals are a significant aspect of fire safety measures in Australian buildings. They help maintain the fire resistance integrity of various components within the building, and their condition and performance are regularly assessed and reported in the Annual Fire Safety Statement. The importance of their role in fire safety is underscored by their inclusion in Australia's rigorous building and fire safety regulations.