Specification E1.5 Fire sprinkler systems
This Specification sets out requirements for the design and installation of fire sprinkler systems.
To state that Specification E1.5 gives the design and installation details for sprinkler systems required by the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions.
Clause 1 deals with the intent.
A number of the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions require the installation of sprinklers in accordance with Specification E1.5. These include:
- Part E2—Smoke Hazard Management;
- C2.3(b)—Large isolated buildings;
- Specification G3.8—Fire and smoke control in buildings containing atriums;
- Clauses 3.9, 4.2 and 5.2 of Specification C1.1 when granting a concession for enclosed carparks;
- Clause 2.9 of Specification C1.1 for residential care buildings; and
- Clauses 3.10 and 4.3 of Specification C1.1 for multi-storey, timber framed, Class 2 buildings.
2. Application of automatic fire sprinkler standards
Subject to this Specification, an automatic fire sprinkler system must comply with—
for all building classifications: AS 2118.1; or
for Class 5, 6, 7, 8, 9a (other than a residential care building) or 9b parts of a building with an effective height not more than 25 m, which also contains Class 2 or 3 parts: a sprinkler system in accordance with Specification E1.5a as for a Class 2 or 3 building and the relevant provisions of this Specification except—
a FPAA101D or FPAA101H sprinkler system cannot be used where the Class 7a part (other than an open-deck carpark) accommodates more than 40 vehicles; or
for a combined sprinkler and fire hydrant system: AS 2118.6; or
for a Class 2, 3 or 9c building: AS 2118.4 as applicable.
To adopt the appropriate technical standards for the design and installation of sprinkler systems.
Specification E1.5 adopts three Parts of AS 2118:
- AS 2118.1—Automatic fire sprinkler systems Part 1: General systems; and
- AS 2118.4—Automatic fire sprinkler systems Part 4: Residential; and
- AS 2118.6—Automatic fire sprinkler systems Part 6: Combined sprinkler and hydrant.
Part 1 of AS 2118 applies to all Classes of building.
These clauses allow the use of Part 4 of AS 2118 for Class 2, 3, 9a and 9c buildings as appropriate. The reason for using the term “as applicable” is that AS 2118.4 applies to low-rise Class 2, 3, 9a and 9c buildings. The scope of AS 2118.4 states that it only applies to those buildings containing no more than four storeys. If the building exceeds this height, it must comply with AS 2118.1. While the scope of AS 2118.4 may not mention Class 9a buildings, this is a case where A4.1 applies and the BCA requirement overrules the limited scope in AS 2118.4.
The sprinkler system specified under AS 2118.4 has been designed for use in low-rise residential buildings. AS 2118.4 also takes into consideration the economic aspects of a sprinkler system.
AS 2118.4 provides the requirements for sprinklers in residential buildings.
A sprinkler system installed in accordance with AS 2118.4 is designed to prevent the fire reaching the stage at which “flashover” occurs (i.e. total involvement of a room’s contents in a fire), thus reducing the risks to occupants.
Smoke detection matters are dealt with in Part E2.
Clause 2(c) allows the installation of a combined sprinkler and hydrant system provided it complies with AS 2118.6.
Specification E1.5 adopts two Technical Specifications developed by FPAA:
- FPAA101D—Automatic fire sprinkler system design and installation — Domestic water supply; and
- FPAA101H—Automatic fire sprinkler system design and installation — Hydrant water supply.
Clause 2(b) references Specification E1.5a providing an option to use automatic fire sprinkler systems complying with FPAA101D or FPAA101H in Class 2 or 3 buildings (excluding residential care buildings) with a rise in storeys of 4 or more and an effective height up to and including 25 metres.
3. Separation of sprinklered and non-sprinklered areas
Where a part of a building is not protected with sprinklers, the sprinklered and non-sprinklered parts must be fire-separated with a wall or floor which must—
comply with any specific requirement of the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions of the BCA; or
where there is no specific requirement, comply with the relevant part of AS 2118, FPAA101D or FPAA101H.
To require the fire separation of sprinklered parts of a building from non-sprinklered parts of the building.
The design of a sprinkler system is based on the size and intensity of an assumed fire in the building. The BCA assumes that fire size is controlled by the sprinkler system.
If a fire starts in a non-sprinklered part of the building, its development will be uncontrolled. It can even reach a size which could over-ride the sprinkler system if it spreads to the sprinklered part of the building (i.e. it could be beyond the design capacity of the system).
Clause 3(a) applies wherever there is a specific Deemed-to-Satisfy Provision.
The fire separation required by AS 2118.1, FPAA101D and FPAA101H may differ from that required by the BCA. Clause 3(b) clarifies that if a difference exists between AS 2118.1, FPAA101D and FPAA101H and the BCA, the BCA takes precedence.
AS 2118.1 generally requires a 120/120/120 FRL separation between the sprinklered and non-sprinklered parts of a building to minimise the risk of fire spread from non-sprinklered parts (where a fire’s development is substantially uncontrolled) to a sprinklered part (where the sprinkler system is designed on the basis of a likely fire in that part of the building).
4. Protection of openings
Any openings, including those for service penetrations, in construction separating sprinklered and non-sprinklered parts of a building, including the construction separating the areas nominated for omitted protection in AS 2118.1, must be protected in accordance with the Deemed-to-Satisfy Provisions of Part C3.
To require the fire separation of sprinklered parts of a building from non-sprinklered parts of the building.
5. Fast response sprinklers
Fast response sprinklers may be installed only if they are suitable for the type of application proposed and it is demonstrated that the sprinkler system is designed to accommodate their use.
To allow the use of fast response sprinkler heads.
Where “fast response” sprinkler heads register a specific external temperature, their reaction time is much shorter than for a “normal” sprinkler head. They also have different discharge characteristics. Where “fast response” sprinkler heads are used, the sprinkler system must be designed specifically for their use.
6. Sprinkler valve enclosures
Sprinkler alarm valves must be located in a secure room or enclosure which has direct egress to a road or open space.
All sprinkler valve rooms and enclosures must be secured with a system suitable for use by the fire brigade.
To require the location of sprinkler valves in a secure, easily accessible area.
Sprinkler control valves must be located in a secure area to prevent unauthorised tampering or vandalism.
Clause 6(a) requires that sprinkler alarm valves be in a room having “direct egress to a road or open space”. The intent is to help fire brigade personnel gain quick access to valves, and, if the need arises, to exit quickly.
When interpreting the expression “direct egress to a road or open space”, it should be noted that D1.10(c) requires that if an exit discharges to open space which is at a different level from the public road to which it is connected, the path of travel to the road must be by a ramp or stairway complying with the BCA.
The aim is to provide quick egress, if the need arises. For this purpose it would be reasonable to limit the stairway to one flight. The landing and stairway must not expose a user to fire or smoke generated by a fire in the building. Care must therefore be taken to make sure windows and other openings are correctly located, and that the external walls of the building have an appropriate FRL.
7. Water supply
A required sprinkler system must be provided with at least one water supply.
A required sprinkler system in a building greater than 25 m in effective height must be provided with dual water supply except that a secondary water supply storage capacity of 25,000 litres may be used if—
the storage tank is located at the topmost storey of the building; and
the building occupancy is classified as no more hazardous than Ordinary Hazard 2 (OH2) under AS 2118.1; and
an operational fire brigade service is available to attend a building fire.
To require an adequate water supply when a sprinkler system has been installed.
A dual water supply is required for buildings greater than 25 metres in effective height, however a concession for the secondary water supply is permitted in certain circumstances (see Clause 7(b)).
At least one water supply is required for buildings with an effective height of 25 m or less (see Clause 7(a)).
8. Building occupant warning system
To maximise the effectiveness of a sprinkler system by alerting the occupants throughout the building of a potential emergency.
Clause 8 requires a sprinkler system (except for FPAA101D systems) to be connected to activate a warning system complying with Specification E2.2a, Clause 7. This is an AS 1670.1 warning system which is to operate throughout the occupied parts of the building.
AS 1670.1 allows the warning system to be:
- a warning system complying with AS 2220;
- electronic sounders generating evacuation tones in accordance with AS 2220; or
- another warning device approved by the appropriate authority.
See AS 2220.
9. Connection to other systems
Where a smoke hazard management system is installed and is actuated by smoke detectors, the sprinkler system must, wherever practicable, be arranged to also activate the smoke hazard management system.
To allow the interconnection of a sprinkler system with other fire safety systems.
Modern fire safety designs allow for the interaction of the various safety systems during a fire. Clause 9 requires that where a smoke hazard management system is activated by a smoke detector, “wherever practicable” it must also be activated by the sprinkler system.
Note this provision only applies “wherever practicable”. In other words, if a building proposal includes a smoke hazard management system which is activated by smoke detectors, but it is proposed that the smoke hazard management system will not be activated by the sprinkler system, the building proponent must satisfy the appropriate authority that it is not practicable to do so.
10. Anti-tamper devices
Where a sprinkler system is installed—
in a space housing lift electrical and control equipment (including machine rooms, secondary floors and sheave rooms), any valves provided to control sprinklers in these spaces must be located adjacent to the space.
Any valves provided to control sprinklers required by (a) must be fitted with anti-tamper monitoring devices connected to a monitoring panel.
To provide for the continued operational effectiveness of sprinkler heads in certain areas.
Stages used for live performances can contain high fire loads due to the scenery and other props used in these productions, and particularly hazardous stage activities, such as pyrotechnics.
Clauses 10(a) and (c) require that sprinkler valves located in an area normally used by the stage manager (for theatres, halls or over a stage area), to be fitted with anti-tamper devices connected to a monitoring panel.
11. Sprinkler systems in carparks
be independent of the sprinkler system protecting any part of the building not used as a carpark; or
if forming part of a sprinkler system protecting a part of the building not used as a carpark, be designed such that the section protecting the non-carpark part can be isolated without interrupting the water supply or otherwise affecting the effective operation of the section protecting the carpark.
To provide for sprinkler systems in certain carparks to operate independently or be isolated from the system in other parts of the building.
Table 3.9 of Specification C1.1 grants concessions for the FRL of structural members within carparks in buildings required to be of Type A construction. Therefore, Clause 11 of Specification E1.5 only applies to such buildings.
If a building required to be of Type A construction contains an enclosed carpark, in order to take advantage of the concession allowed by Table 3.9, it must contain a sprinkler system which is independent or can be separately isolated.
The reason for this requirement is so that the carpark’s protection is available at all times, and is not affected by such factors as maintenance or shutdown in other parts of the building.
12. Residential care buildings
In addition to the provisions of AS 2118.4, a sprinkler system in—
a Class 3 building used as a residential care building; or
a Class 9c building, must—
be provided with a monitored main stop valve in accordance with AS 2118.1; and
be permanently connected with a direct data link or other approved monitoring system to a fire station or fire station dispatch centre.
To ensure greater reliability of sprinkler systems in all buildings used for residential care.
Clause 2 of Specification E1.5 allows a sprinkler system in a Class 2 or 3 building, a Class 9a health care building used for residential care, or a Class 9c building to comply with AS 2118.4 instead of AS 2118.1. Clause 12(d) requires the addition of a monitored main valve and control valve assembly in accordance with AS 2118.1. The reason for the additional requirement is to ensure greater reliability of the sprinkler system.
Clause 12(e) specifies system monitoring requirements to enable a timely and appropriate response by the local fire brigade to emergencies.
Clause 22.214.171.124 of AS 2118.4 sets out the requirements for the installation of sprinklers in roof spaces, etc. Spaces such as roof spaces, crawl spaces, spaces below floor and above ceilings, and other concealed spaces that are not intended, nor used, for living purposes, storage or the installation of equipment such as flexible ductwork, heating and refrigeration equipment, are not required to be protected by sprinklers.
Roof and ceiling spaces that contain only items such as electrical wiring for light fittings and exhaust fans, etc are not required by this provision to be provided with sprinklers.
13. Sprinkler systems in lift installations
Where sprinklers are installed in a space housing lift electrical and control equipment, including machine rooms, secondary floors and sheave rooms, sprinklers in these spaces must—
have heads protected from accidental damage by way of a guard that will not impair the performance of the head; and
be capable of being isolated and drained, either separately or collectively, without isolating any other sprinklers within the building.