Smoke dampers are vital components of a building's fire safety system, they are crucial elements specified on some Annual Fire Safety Statements (AFSS), which is a legal requirement in NSW.
Smoke dampers are essentially mechanisms integrated into a building's HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system to prevent the spread of smoke and heat during a fire incident. They function by automatically closing off ductwork or other ventilation openings when the system detects smoke.
This is especially important in the case of multi-level buildings, where smoke and heat can quickly travel from one level to another via ductwork and other passageways. By stopping the movement of smoke, these dampers not only protect the physical structure and assets of a building but, more importantly, they also save lives by providing occupants more time to safely evacuate.
The installation and maintenance of smoke dampers are governed by various Australian Standards including AS/NZS 1668.1. This standard establishes the requirements for the design, installation, and maintenance of smoke dampers.
Another important standard is AS 1851, which outlines the routine servicing activities for various fire safety measures, including smoke dampers. It is essential to ensure that smoke dampers are maintained to a high standard and tested regularly to ensure they function correctly when needed. The functioning of these dampers should be confirmed and documented in the AFSS.
Non-compliance with these standards can result in severe penalties, as the regulations are strictly enforced by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), local councils, and Fire and Rescue NSW.
Smoke dampers are critical for fire safety as they limit the spread of smoke in a building during a fire, protecting both people and property. Their presence, installation, and maintenance are strictly regulated by various Australian Standards and must be confirmed as part of an Annual Fire Safety Statement.