Part E1 Fire fighting equipment (DtS)
E1.0 Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions
E1.1 to E1.10; and
for additional requirements for Class 9b buildings, Part H1; and
To clarify that the requirements of EP1.1 to EP1.6 will be satisfied if compliance is achieved with E1.1 to E1.10 in the case of all buildings, Part G3 in the case of buildings with an atrium, Part G4 in the case of buildings in alpine areas, Part G6 in the case of occupiable outdoor areas,Part H1 in the case of theatres, stages and public halls and Part H3 for farm buildings and farm sheds.
E1.1 * * * * *
This clause has deliberately been left blank.
In BCA 1990 this clause contained provisions relating to Class 1 and Class 10. Provisions for Class 1 and Class 10 buildings are now covered in Volume Two. E1.1 has been left blank rather than renumber subsequent clauses.
E1.2 * * * * *
This clause has deliberately been left blank.
In BCA 1990 this clause contained requirements for fire mains and water-supply services. These provisions are now covered by the referenced Standard AS 2419.1. E1.2 has been left blank rather than renumber subsequent clauses.
E1.3 Fire hydrants
The fire hydrant system—
must be installed in accordance with AS 2419.1, except—
a Class 8 electricity network substation need not comply with clause 4.2 of AS 2419.1 if—
it cannot be connected to a town main supply; and
one hour water storage is provided for fire-fighting; and
where a sprinkler system is installed throughout a building in accordance with AS 2118.1, AS 2118.4, AS 2118.6, FPAA101H or FPAA101D the fire hydrant booster protection requirements of clauses 7.3(c)(ii) and 7.3(d)(iii) of AS 2419.1 do not apply; and
a fire hydrant booster assembly may be located between 3.5 m and 10 m of the building, and need not comply with clause 7.3(d)(iii) of AS 2419.1 where the assembly is protected by an adjacent fire-rated freestanding wall that—
achieves an FRL of not less than 90/90/90; and
extends not less than 1 m each side of the outermost fire hydrant booster risers within the assembly and is not less than 3 m wide; and
extends to a height of not less than 2 m above finished ground level; and
in a Class 2 or 3 building or Class 4 part of a building may be served by a single fire hydrant located at the level of egress from that sole-occupancy unit; or
To require the installation of suitable fire hydrant systems to facilitate the fire brigade’s firefighting operations.
Fire hydrants are needed to prevent the spread of fire between buildings and fire compartments. They are basically needed for fire brigade use and are not intended for use by occupants. Properly trained people and special equipment are needed for effective firefighting using a fire hydrant system.
The floor area of 500 m2 referred to in E1.3(a)(i) represents the level of hazard which justifies the installation of a fire hydrant system.
If the building is located a substantial distance from a fire brigade station equipped to utilise fire hydrants, E1.3(a)(ii) allows the building to be constructed without a fire hydrant system. The reasons for this are that the fire hydrants are intended for use only by a fire brigade and the benefit of fire brigade intervention during a building fire is expected to diminish with the passage of time.
Under E1.3(b)(i), the installation of a fire hydrant system, including the associated water supply, pipe work, pumps, and so on, must be in accordance with AS 2419.1 subject to concessions granted under and E1.3(b)(i)(C).
Clause 4.2 of AS 2419.1 requires a four hour water storage capacity for firefighting purposes. This clause does not apply to Class 8 electricity network substations where town main water supply cannot be connected and where at least 1 hour storage capacity of water for fire fighting purposes is provided. The reduced capacity is in recognition of the inherent fire mitigation measures such as boundary separation, vegetation removal programs, and perimeter access road protection associated with remotely located Class 8 electricity network substations. The nature of the initial fire response will also always require substation staff involvement prior to any fire brigade response. This removes the need for large water storage capacities usually associated with early intervention by the fire brigade.
If any conflict exists between AS 2419.1 and the BCA, then the BCA takes precedence. Additional information can be obtained by reference to the Standard, including an informative Appendix titled “Guide to the Use of this Standard”.
AS 2419.1 provides the details for determining the number of fire hydrants required and where they should be located.
External fire hydrants are to be located in accordance with the requirements of AS 2419.1. Multiple buildings may be served by a single fire hydrant providing the proximity requirements of AS 2419.1 are met.
E1.3(b)(i)(C) provides a concession from the booster assembly protection requirements of clauses 7.3(c)(ii) and 7.3(d)(iii) of AS 2419.1 where a sprinkler system is installed throughout the building in accordance with AS 2118.1, AS 2118.4, AS 2118.6, FPAA101D or FPAA101H.
E1.3(b)(i)(C) allows a smaller booster assembly protection wall than that required by clause 7.3(d)(iii) of AS 2419.1 where requirements set out in the provision are met.
For internal fire hydrants, E1.3(b)(ii) generally requires the installation of internal fire hydrants on the storey they are to service. The reason for this is to eliminate running a fire hydrant hose up or down a stairway. Also, if the sole-occupancy units are in different ownership or leasehold, access between them may be difficult.
E1.3(b)(ii) grants a concession when a sole-occupancy unit occupies more than one storey. The concession is conditional on the fire hydrant being located at the level of egress from the sole-occupancy unit.
In the case of a Class 2 or Class 3 building or a Class 4 part, there is no limitation on the size or number of storeys within the sole-occupancy unit which can be served by the fire hydrant.
For Class 5 to Class 9 buildings the concession is limited to sole-occupancy units with only two storeys, where the fire hydrant at the entrance level provides total hose coverage. AS 2419.1 provides details of the required coverage.
Requirements for pumpsets, including the location of pumprooms, etc., is contained in AS 2419.1.
The requirements for the water supply and source, and the required flows and pressure for the fire hydrant system to operate effectively are contained in AS 2419.1.
E1.4 Fire hose reels
The fire hose reel system must—
have fire hose reels installed in accordance with AS 2441; and
provide fire hose reels to serve only the storey at which they are located, except a sole-occupancy unit of not more than 2 storeys in a Class 6, 7, 8 or 9 building may be served by a single fire hose reel located at the level of egress from that sole-occupancy unit provided the fire hose reel can provide coverage to the whole of the sole-occupancy unit.
Fire hose reels must be located internally, externally or in combination, to achieve the system coverage specified in AS 2441.
In achieving system coverage, one or a combination of the following criteria for individual internally located fire hose reels must be met in determining the layout of any fire hose reel system:
Fire hose reels must be located adjacent to an internal fire hydrant (other than one within a fire-isolated exit), except that a fire hose reel need not be located adjacent to every fire hydrant, provided system coverage can be achieved.
Fire hose reels must be located so that the fire hose will not need to pass through doorways fitted with fire or smoke doors, except—
Where the normal water supply cannot achieve the flow and pressures required by AS 2441, or is unreliable—
a pump; or
water storage facility; or
both a pump and water storage facility,
must be installed to provide the minimum flow and pressures required by clause 6.1 of AS 2441.
To require the installation of suitable fire hose reel systems to enable, where appropriate, a building’s occupants to undertake initial attack on a fire.
Refer to EP1.1 for the reasons why the BCA requires the installation of fire hose reels in buildings.
E1.4(a)(i) provides an exemption to the installation of fire hose reels in a Class 2, 3 or 5 building or Class 4 part of a building. However, it should be noted that portable fire extinguishers must be installed to cover Class A fire risks in accordance with E1.6.
E1.4(a)(ii) provides an exemption to the installation of fire hose reels in Class 8 electricity network substations. The use of water as an extinguishing medium in electricity network substations can cause extensive damage to the electricity assets and create increased hazards for firefighters. The initial staff response to fire will always be through the more appropriate usage of portable fire extinguishers followed by evacuation.
E1.4(a)(iii) does not require the installation of fire hose reels in a Class 9c building. It is recognised that occupants close to the point of ignition often provide the most effective means of extinguishing a small fire before it grows. In this case staff and visitors, if not some residents, can be effective in performing this function. To do so, they require appropriate means of extinguishment.
It is considered that the provision of portable extinguishers in a residential care building provides adequate means for staff and visitors to attack the fire. The additional level of fire safety associated with the provision of fire hose reels is not considered necessary.
It is not expected that the number of staff available in a residential care building will be adequate to both fight a growing fire with fire hose reels and evacuate residents. This is particularly the case when it is noted that the BCA provisions for residential care buildings are based on minimum staffing levels. When a fire becomes too large to be attacked with portable extinguishers, staff will be fully involved in closing doors and evacuating residents rather than fighting the fire.
E1.4(a)(iv) does not require the installation of fire hose reels in classrooms and associated corridors of primary and secondary schools. However, it should be noted that where fire hose reels are not installed in these buildings, portable fire extinguishers must be installed in accordance with E1.6.
The concession not requiring the installation of fire hose reels in classrooms, etc is based on normal school use when teachers or school staff could be expected to be in control of students for the purpose of evacuation. Fire hose reels are required in other areas of the school such as halls, gymnasiums, etc where activities take place outside normal school hours and with outside organisations that are not under the control of teachers or school staff.
E1.4(b)(i) requires the installation of fire hose reels where internal fire hydrants are provided.
The 500 m2 floor area referred to in E1.4(b)(ii) represents the level of hazard which justifies the installation of fire hose reels to allow occupants the opportunity to attempt an initial attack on a fire.
E1.4(c)(ii) generally requires the installation of fire hose reels on the storey they are to service. This eliminates the need to run a fire hose up or down a stairway. Also, if the sole-occupancy units are in different ownership or leasehold, access between them may be difficult. It means that anyone using the fire hose will be able to get away quickly if the fire gets out of control.
E1.4(c)(ii) grants a concession when a sole-occupancy unit in a Class 6–9 building occupies two storeys provided the fire hose reel can provide total hose coverage. The fire hose reel must also be located at the level of egress from the sole-occupancy unit.
E1.4(d), (e) and (f) relates to the positioning of fire hose reels to help occupants attack a fire in its early stages. These provisions emphasise the importance of the location of fire hose reels to ensure safety.
E1.4(d) ensures that fire hose reels are located to achieve the system coverage required by AS 2441. The fire hose reels can be located internally, externally or in any combination to achieve this coverage as set out in E1.4(e).
Fire hose reels are not permitted to be installed within a fire-isolated exit, thereby avoiding having the hose pass through the door to access the fire. Such an arrangement would require the exit to be open, and therefore cause a significant risk of smoke entering.
The same concerns do not apply to the other Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions listed in E1.4(f). In the cases listed below, the door may remain open for the hose to pass through.
- C2.5(a)(v) deals with walls in Class 9a buildings which are required to separate ancillary areas located within a patient care area and containing equipment or materials that are a high potential fire hazard.
- Likewise, C2.5(b)(iv) deals with similar walls in Class 9c buildings.
- C2.12 deals with the fire isolation of specified hazards and equipment such as lift motors, lift control panels, emergency generators, central smoke control plant, boilers and batteries.
- C2.13 deals with doors to electricity substations, and the like.
- C3.13 deals with openings in shafts. C2.12 deals with the fire isolation of specified hazards and equipment.
E1.4(e) is applicable to individual fire hose reels, such that the choices offered in E1.4(e)(i), (ii) or (iii) are applied to the location of each hose reel in turn, to assure that coverage is achieved. However E1.4(e)(iii) is only applicable when the application of E1.4(e)(i) or (ii) does not achieve coverage.
The individual application means that when each hose reel is located adjacent to a hydrant or an exit, a check for coverage should be done before the next location is chosen.
Once coverage has been achieved, it is not necessary to install any more hose reels, even if additional exits or hydrants are provided for the storey.
Alternatively, if hose reels have been located adjacent to all relevant hydrants or exits without achieving coverage, E1.4(e)(iii) permits the additional hose reels needed to achieve coverage to be located in a path of travel to an exit.
A sprinkler system must—
Where sprinklers are required
Throughout the whole building if any part of the building has an effective height of more than 25 m.
Class 2 or 3 building (excluding a building used as a residential care building) and any other class of building (excluding a building used as a residential care building) containing a Class 2 or 3 part.
Class 3 building used as a residential care building
Throughout the building and in any fire compartment containing a Class 3 part used for residential care.
In fire compartments where either of the following apply:
Class 7a, other than open-deck carparks
In fire compartments where more than 40 vehicles are accommodated.
Throughout the building and in any fire compartment containing a Class 9a part used for residential care.
Class 9c building
Throughout the building and any fire compartment containing a Class 9c part.
see Part H1
see Part G3
Large isolated buildings
see Clause C2.3
Occupancies of excessive hazard Note 4
In fire compartments where either of the following apply:
Notes to Table E1.5 :
- See Specification C1.1 for use of sprinklers in Class 2 buildings and carparks generally.
- See Part E2 for use of sprinklers to satisfy Smoke Hazard Management provisions.
- See C1.13 and Specification C1.1 for use of sprinklers in Class 2, 3 and 5 buildings containing fire-protected timber.
- For the purposes of this Table, occupancies of excessive fire hazard comprise buildings which contain—
- hazardous processes or storage including the following:
- Aircraft hangars.
- Cane furnishing manufacture, processing and storage.
- Fire-lighter and fireworks manufacture and warehousing.
- Foam plastic and foam plastic goods manufacture, processing and warehousing e.g. furniture factory.
- Hydrocarbon based sheet product, manufacture, processing and warehousing e.g. vinyl floor coverings.
- Woodwool and other flammable loose fibrous material manufacture.
- combustible goods with an aggregate volume exceeding 1000 m3 and stored to a height greater than 4 m including the following:
- Aerosol packs with flammable contents.
- Carpets and clothing.
- Electrical appliances.
- Combustible compressed fibreboards (low and high density) and plywoods.
- Combustible cartons, irrespective of content
- Esparto and other fibrous combustible material.
- Furniture including timber, cane and composite, where foamed rubber or plastics are incorporated.
- Paper storage (all forms of new or waste) e.g. bales, sheet, horizontal or vertical rolls, waxed coated or processed.
- Textiles raw and finished, e.g., rolled cloth, clothing and manchester
- Timber storage including sheets, planks, boards, joists and cut sizes.
- Vinyl, plastic, foamed plastic, rubber and other combustible sheets, offcuts and random pieces and rolled material storage, e.g. carpet, tar paper, linoleum, wood veneer and foam mattresses.
- All materials having wrappings or preformed containers of foamed plastics.
- hazardous processes or storage including the following:
To require the installation of suitable fire sprinkler systems where necessary to address specific hazards.
Refer to the comment on EP1.4 for the reasons why the BCA requires the installation of sprinkler systems in buildings.
Table E1.5 sets out when sprinklers are required in a building, while Specification E1.5 sets out the type of sprinkler required and other technical details. The notes to Table E1.5 also contain useful information on other Parts of the NCC requiring the installation of sprinklers within a building.
Specification E1.5 allows the use of a residential sprinkler system in certain Class 2, 3, 9a and 9c buildings.
Table E1.5 specifies when sprinklers are required in a building and which parts of the building must be sprinkler protected. Unless a fire wall or other construction with the appropriate FRLs separates parts of a building required to have sprinklers from a part of a building not required to have sprinklers, then the sprinkler requirements must be applied to the whole building.
Table E1.5 requires all buildings with an effective height of more than 25 metres, except those which only contain an open-deck carpark, to be sprinkler protected. An exemption is also granted to smaller Class 8 electricity network substations within a multi-classified building as they are provided with additional fire protection measures to compensate for the removal of sprinklers. The provision regarding an effective height of 25 metres recognises the effective operating height for fire brigade ladders and other firefighting and rescue equipment.
Table E1.5 requires sprinkler protection to Class 2 or 3 buildings (excluding a residential care building — see other table items for residential care buildings) where the rise in storeys is 4 or more and the effective height is not more than 25 m. The requirements for these sprinkler systems are contained within Specification E1.5 and Specification E1.5a.
The reference in Table E1.5 to a Class 9a health care building used as a residential care building makes it clear that where a Class 9a building is used as a residential care building as defined in Schedule 3, it must be fitted with a sprinkler system installed in accordance with AS 2118.1 or AS 2118.4.
To provide further clarification, a Class 9a health care building used as a residential care building must meet the BCA provisions that apply for a Class 9a health care building.
The definition of a health care building means a building whose occupants or patients undergoing medical treatment need physical assistance to evacuate the building during an emergency and includes a nursing home or similar facility for sick or disabled persons needing full-time care. Therefore, a health care building could include a residential aged care building in which occupants are provided with some level of medication, and need assistance to evacuate.
Notes 1, 2 and 3 to Table E1.5 contain useful references to other BCA provisions that may require the installation of a sprinkler system.
E1.6 Portable fire extinguishers
Portable fire extinguishers must be—
provided as listed in Table E1.6; and
for a Class 2, 3 or 5 building or Class 4 part of a building, provided—
to serve the whole Class 2, 3 or 5 building or Class 4 part of a building where one or more internal fire hydrants are installed; or
subject to (b), selected, located and distributed in accordance with Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of AS 2444.
Portable fire extinguishers provided in a Class 2 or 3 building or Class 4 part of a building must be—
an ABE type fire extinguisher; and
a minimum size of 2.5 kg; and
|Occupancy class||Risk class (as defined in AS 2444)|
|General provisions—Class 2 to 9 buildings (except within of a Class 9c building).||
Specific provisions (in addition to general provisions)—
||To cover Class A and E fire risks.Note 2|
Notes to Table E1.6:
- For the purposes of this Table, an emergency services switchboard is one which sustains emergency equipment operating in the emergency mode.
- A Class E fire extinguisher need only be located at each nurses' station, supervisors' station or the like.
- Additional extinguishers may be required to cover fire risks in relation to special hazards provided for in E1.10.
- The fire risks in a Class 2 or 3 building or Class 4 part of a building must include risks within any sole-occupancy unts, however portable fire extinguishers are not required to be located within a sole-occupancy unit unless the sole-occupancy unit has a floor area greater than 500 m2.
To require the installation of suitable portable fire extinguishers, where necessary, to address specific hazards.
Refer to the comment on EP1.2 for the reasons why the NCC requires the installation of portable fire extinguishers in buildings.
For a Class 2, 3 or 5 building or Class 4 part of a building, E1.6(a)(ii) requires portable fire extinguishers to only be provided—
- E1.6(a)(ii)(A)—to serve the whole Class 2, 3 or 5 building or Class 4 part of a building where internal fire hydrants are installed; or
- E1.6(a)(ii)(B)—where internal fire hydrants are not installed, to serve any fire compartment with a floor area greater 500 m2. For the purpose of this clause, a sole-occupancy unit in a Class 2 or 3 building or Class 4 part of a building is considered a fire compartment. The 500 m2 floor area represents the level of hazard which justifies the installation of portable fire extinguishers to allow occupants the opportunity to attempt an initial attack on a fire.
Subject to E1.6(b), E1.6(a)(iii) requires portable fire extinguishers to be installed in accordance with Sections 1, 2, 3 and 4 of AS 2444. The other sections of AS 2444 deal with “Selection and distribution of portable fire extinguishers in vehicles and small craft” and “Selection and location of fire blankets”, neither of which are applicable to the BCA. If any conflict exists between AS 2444 and the BCA, then the BCA takes precedence. Additional information can be obtained by reference to the Standard.
E1.6(b) details specific requirements about the type, size and installation of portable fire extinguishers provided in a Class 2 or 3 building or Class 4 part of a building.
Table E1.6 sets out when portable fire extinguishers are required in a building and the class of extinguisher to be used.
It should be noted that Table E1.6 requires the installation of fire extinguishers in classrooms and associated corridors in primary and secondary schools not provided with fire hose reels. The reason for this requirement is that E1.4(a)(iv) does not require the installation of fire hose reels in these buildings, even if the floor area of a fire compartment exceeds 500 m2.
E1.7 * * * * *
E1.8 Fire control centres
A fire control centre facility in accordance with Specification E1.8 must be provided for—
a building with an effective height of more than 25 m; and
a Class 6, 7, 8 or 9 building with a total floor area of more than 18 000 m2.
To require the provision of suitable fire control centres to facilitate fire brigade operations.
Refer to the comment on EP1.6 for the reasons why the BCA requires the installation of fire control centres in buildings.
E1.8(a) requires all buildings with an effective height of more than 25 metres to be provided with a fire control centre. Because of their height these buildings require special co-ordination of fire brigade operations. The E1.8(a) reference to an effective height of 25 metres recognises the operating height for fire brigade ladders and other firefighting and rescue equipment.
E1.8(b) requires a fire control centre for Class 6–9 buildings with a total floor area of more than 18 000 m2.
The measurement concerned is of the total building floor area, not the area of an individual sole-occupancy unit or fire compartment.
Class 6 and Class 9 buildings have been included because of their high potential fire load, and the likelihood of large populations unfamiliar with their layout or evacuation procedures.
Class 7 and Class 8 buildings have been included because of the potential size and severity of fires in such buildings.
Specification E1.8 sets out the construction details of such a centre and the facilities it must contain.
E1.9 Fire precautions during construction
In a building under construction—
after the building has reached an effective height of 12 m—
any required booster connections must be installed.
To require adequate firefighting equipment within a building during its construction.
Refer to the comment on EP1.5 for the reasons why the BCA requires the installation of firefighting equipment in buildings during their construction.
E1.9(a) requires the installation of suitable fire extinguishers in all buildings under construction. They are to be placed adjacent to exits on each storey so that they can be easily found by workers if a fire occurs.
Once a building reaches a height of about 12 metres, firefighting in a building under construction becomes increasingly difficult. The installation of fire hydrants, fire hose reels and booster connections (required under E1.9(b)) assist in overcoming such difficulties.
The fire hydrants and fire hose reels are not required on the two upper floors because services such as water supply may not be installed. Also, if a fire occurred on these floors, it could be fought from the floors below.
E1.10 Provision for special hazards
Suitable additional provision must be made if special problems of fighting fire could arise because of—
the nature or quantity of materials stored, displayed or used in a building or on the allotment; or
the location of the building in relation to a water supply for fire-fighting purposes.
Explanatory information: Cross-volume considerations
Part B4 of NCC Volume Three sets out the requirements for access for maintenance to fire-fighting water services.
To require the installation of additional fire safety measures where special hazards exist.
The other Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions of Part E1 set out the required firefighting equipment and co-ordination facilities required in a building to deal with “expected” or “usual” hazards. However, it is not possible to take account of every possible hazard. E1.10 may even require additional provision for special hazards where Part E1 does not otherwise apply.
Additional provision for special hazards must be made to allow for effective firefighting operations taking into consideration:
- the nature of the materials stored, displayed or used in the building or on the allotment; or
- inadequate water supply for firefighting.
Special fire hazards may exist for hazards under E1.10(a) in a warehouse used to store highly volatile or combustible materials, and also, at a site where highly combustible chemicals are manufactured.
Hazards under E1.10(b) may include sites where little or no water is available for firefighting.
The BCA Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions do not specify what the special provisions must be. Each case must be assessed on its own merits.