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What Are The Fire Safety Requirements For Commercial Buildings?‍


Oct 27, 2022

Understanding the fire safety requirements for commercial buildings can feel like a monumental endeavour, especially if you’re managing a larger, commercial workplace setting. Thankfully, Australian fire safety standards are in place to help all Australian workplaces and their workforces can enjoy hazard-free environments.

Making sure that your workplace is meeting Australian standards naturally begins with investing in your fire safety equipment and maintenance. From fire extinguishers or blankets, to fire hydrants, hose reels, and sprinkler systems, there are many different types of Essential Safety Measures (or ESMs) and tools that can be introduced into the workplace. 

But what fire safety equipment is your workplace required to have on its premises in order to maintain industry compliance? We’ll be exploring standards surrounding the installation and maintenance of fire hydrants, fire hose reels, and fire extinguishers below in order to help business owners make sure that their businesses adhere to Australian standards.

Australian Standard 2419.1 fire hydrant installation

A key measure to combating Class A fires, fire hydrants aren’t just found by your home’s curbside. In fact, booking your fire hydrant installation is paramount when developing any large commercial or industrial workspace. This is in part due to the fact that fire hydrants are amongst the most effective ESMs to be used in larger, commercial environments like industrial plants, storage yards, large commercial buildings, and even wharfs or marinas.

Australian Standard (AS) 2419.1 outlines correct procedures for the placement, installation, testing, and maintenance of commercial fire hydrant systems. Although fire hydrants are used for long-range fire-fighting purposes, they can still have a limited reach due to their higher water pressure, which is precisely why hydrants are placed strategically on residential curbsides to ensure thorough coverage for all nearby residences. 

Similarly, fire hydrants used in commercial settings are also installed in alignment with your workplace’s layout. Your commercial fire hydrants are expected to be placed within proximity to warehouses, plants, or other structures and buildings that pose potential fire risks due to their build materials, contents, size, or other variables. 

Ensuring that your fire hydrant system stays industry compliant is crucial, and a failure to do so may not only result in fire damage to your business premises, but can also result in a penalty or fine issued by your local authorities, or even legal action taken by impacted parties. Organising routine maintenance for your fire hydrant will help your system maintain industry compliance, allowing for easy use in the event that emergency fire services require connections to the hydrant.

Installation & maintenance of fire hose reels under AS 2441-2005

Whilst fire hydrants are designed to only be used by firefighters and emergency services, fire hose reels are considered to be ‘first attack’ pieces of equipment and can thus, be used by all staff and personnel in order to combat the earlier stages of a fire. That being said, if a fire is detected on premises and the fire hose must be used, emergency services should still be alerted immediately in order to assess the site during or after the blaze, and in case the fire grows out of control and cannot be mitigated by the use of the fire hose or other on-site ESMs alone.

Under AS 2441-2005, fire hose reels are required to be positioned about 1400mm to 2400mm above the ground and within 4 metres of a clearly marked exit or emergency exit. This is required in the event that flames or thick smoke inhibit workers on-site from being able to visibly detect exits. In these situations, fire hoses can be followed back to their reels, allowing workers to make their way out of smoke-filled buildings with ease. 

Like fire hydrants, fire hose reels must be tested regularly in order to maintain industry compliance. Fire safety specialists recommend testing water pressure and flow rates provided by the hose reel so that both site workers and supervisors are aware of the limitations of this particular ESM. If the fire is anything over a Class A fire, the fire hose should ideally not be used, as water won’t be an effective suppressant in the event of grease, metallic, or chemical fires. 

Fire extinguisher office and workplace requirements

Like fire hose reels, fire extinguishers are considered to be a ‘first attack’ ESM and as such, are utilised in a wide range of commercial settings, spanning from warehouses to office spaces. Fire extinguishers are also available in a range of sizes, as well as 5 different configurations and spray materials in order to help combat different fire classes.

For this reason, it’s imperative that your business secures fire extinguishers that are suitable for combating the most high-risk fire classes that your business is likely to experience. A risk assessment of your premises will help identify which fire extinguishers will be most suitable for your business premises. 

For example, you wouldn’t want to use a wet chemical fire extinguisher on an electrical fire, as the moisture may cause electric shock or further electrical damage. This is why wet chemical fire extinguishers are most likely to be used in commercial kitchen and food preparation spaces, whilst carbon monoxide (CO2) fire extinguishers are used in high-tech electrical environments like computer server rooms, office environments, or plants that use electrical machinery. 

There are a few Australian Standards relating to the manufacturing, installation and maintenance of fire extinguishers in the workplace. These standards are:

  • AS 1841 - used by fire extinguisher manufacturing companies in order to ensure that fire extinguishers are produced with the correct build and spray materials, manufacturing methods, performance standards, and all required safety and instructional or operational labels and markings
  • AS 2444 - used by fire safety specialists and business owners to determine the optimal placement and installation of fire extinguishers on business premises (also by exits and identified workplace hazards like commercial stovetops, machinery, etc.)
  • AS 1851  - used by fire safety specialists and business owners to ensure the adequate servicing and maintenance of all installed fire extinguishers on a business premises

As per the standards outlined above, the installation and operability of your fire extinguishers around the workplace are going to be dictated by the types of fire extinguishers you’ll likely be using on-site. With regards to maintenance, however, testing your fire extinguishers following the recommended annual servicing schedule or other maintenance timelines as provided by your fire safety specialists is highly recommended. Keeping your fire extinguishers serviced and ready for use will help your business stay compliant with all industry safety standards. 

How to ensure you are complying with the fire safety requirements for commercial buildings

Now that you know what fire safety requirements for your commercial building must be included, all that’s left to do is organise the installation of this equipment and systems, and invest in their ongoing maintenance and servicing. In doing so, you can maintain your business’ industry compliance with regards to Australian fire safety standards, and work to minimise the impact of fires on your company assets as well as on your workforce. 

An investment in the maintenance and servicing of your fire safety equipment is an investment in your workers’ rights to safety in the workplace. As such, business owners simply cannot afford to fall behind on their business’ fire safety equipment maintenance and testing schedules.

Want to book routine maintenance and testing of your business’ ESMs today? Contact our friendly team of fire safety specialists at Jetfire Fire Protection in order to keep your on-site fire safety equipment in good working condition. 

See Also: How Often Should Fire Sprinklers Be Inspected

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How Often Should Fire Sprinklers Be Inspected? A Building Manager’s Guide


Sep 15, 2022

Nowadays, virtually all commercial and residential buildings in the inner city are fitted with their own fire sprinkler system. These automatic systems are considered to be the first line of defence for buildings in the event of a large fire. As the smooth performance of these systems is integral to the efficacy of any modern fire safety plan, fire sprinkler system maintenance is considered to be one of the most important items on your building’s routine maintenance checklist. 

But what exactly goes into the maintenance of your fire sprinkler system? How often should fire sprinklers be inspected? Whether you’re using a wet or dry pipe system, all fire sprinkler systems must adhere to a strict timeline for maintenance and testing. In fact, scheduling routine fire sprinkler system inspections is a requirement under Australian Standards (AS1851). In other words, building owners or managers must make efforts to ensure that their building’s fire sprinkler system is inspected by the correct technicians, these being certified fire safety specialists. 

We’ll be answering some frequently asked questions surrounding the inspection process, so that you can strengthen your own knowledge on the maintenance and care requirements of this key player in the world of fire safety equipment. 

how often should fire sprinklers be inspected?

How often should fire sprinklers be inspected?

Under AS1851, all fire sprinkler systems are expected to adhere to an inspection timeline that spans the entirety of that system’s usable life. Because of this, a fire sprinkler inspection timeline is naturally going to be dictated by the type of sprinkler system that will be installed.

This is a general inspection and maintenance timeline that you can expect when servicing your own fire sprinkler system:

  • Weekly: check gauges for dry, pre-action, and deluge fire sprinkler systems.
  • Monthly: check gauges for wet pipe sprinkler systems
  • Quarterly (every 3 months): inspect control valves, water flow alarm devices, hydraulic nameplates, and connections to alert fire authorities
  • Annually: inspect pipeworks, spare sprinklers, hangars and fittings for pipes, as well as fire emergency and information signage
  • Every five years: conduct inspections of internal pipework to check for obstructions.

All the different components that make up your fire sprinkler system also need to be thoroughly checked for signs of wear with every scheduled sprinkler system inspection. Most commonly, fire safety specialists tend to look for any signs of rust or corrosion, as well as cracks or dents that could potentially cause leaks. Catching these warning signs early could potentially save you thousands in repairs, replacements, or even rectifying structural damage caused by faulty pipework. 

How often should your fire sprinkler system be tested?

Alongside visual inspections of your fire sprinkler system, your system should also be thoroughly tested to ensure that all components are in good working order. Testing your system is a requirement alongside scheduling routine inspections. That being said, the timeline for testing your system can look a little different to the timeline outlined above for inspections.

Here is a typical timeline for testing your fire sprinkler system:

  • Quarterly (every three months): run physical test on all mechanical devices 
  • Biannually (every six months): testing for vane and pressure switch devices
  • Annually: run physical test on complete fire sprinkler system, including water flow, alarms, and trip tests for automatic systems
  • Every five years: testing of fire sprinkler systems exposed to harsh conditions or higher temperatures. Gauges may need to be replaced at this testing interval as well
  • After 10 years initially, then every 20 years: physical tests for early suppression fast response (ESFR) sprinkler systems 
  • After 50 years initially, then every 10 years: physical tests for standard response sprinkler systems.

As you can see, the timeline for testing operates on a far greater span than the timeline for inspections. This is primarily because running physical tests of your fire sprinkler system can be an inconvenience, especially for larger inner-city buildings with hundreds of occupants. The inaccessibility surrounding physical testing of your sprinkler system is yet another of many reasons why sticking to your sprinkler system inspection timetable is of the utmost importance. 

What goes into inspecting different fire sprinkler systems?

Of course, there are different types of fire sprinkler systems, just as there are other methods or tools used for fire protection, including fire hose reels, and fire extinguishers or blankets. So it’s fair to assume that different fire sprinkler systems boast different maintenance and inspection requirements. 

For instance, wet pipe sprinkler systems and most pre-action sprinkler systems, hold water directly in the pipes and use heat-sensitive sprinkler bulbs that are activated by exposure to extreme heat. The breaking of these heat-sensitive bulbs effectively trigger the release of water directly from the pipes and through the sprinkler heads. This differs from dry pipe sprinkler systems, which uses pressurised air or nitrogen to activate sprinkler head valves when a fire is detected. As dry pipes rely on gas or air compression to rapidly guide water flow from a compressed water tank, these sprinkler systems must be checked for gas leaks during inspections.

Similarly, as foam sprinkler systems are fitted with either a foam pump or an additional tank for storing concentrate that is then mixed with sprinkler water to create a foam-based fire suppressant, inspections on these systems require assessing both tanks.

Importance of a technician

With a team of fire safety specialists that have all the right qualifications and experience under their belts, Jetfire’s technicians will be able to provide an in-depth and transparent sprinkler inspection with every appointment you make. 

Our dedicated fire sprinkler system technicians are also accredited and licensed by the Victorian Building Association, meaning that they’re fully aware of necessary safety and maintenance measures required for your building to maintain compliance, as well as the consequences surrounding the failure to do so.

Here at Jetfire, we pride ourselves on offering a thorough fire sprinkler inspection service, alongside being one of your premier local fire protection system suppliers. If you’re already wondering how often should fire sprinklers be inspected, then it is probably time to give us a call. We are dedicated to providing you with full details of the work performed with every callout, and helping you maintain a strong understanding of your sprinkler system’s maintenance requirements and servicing timeline. 

Want to experience the Jetfire difference? Contact us today to book your next inspection or to inquire about any of the other top tier fire safety services we offer.

See Also: What Are The Fire Safety Requirements For Commercial Buildings?

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Making sure you have emergency fire equipment


Feb 27, 2019

At Jetfire, we’re strong believers that businesses shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not their emergency fire equipment will be operational in an emergency. Which is why we offer expert fire equipment services in Melbourne for body corporates, high-density residential buildings, shopping centres and a range of other businesses, giving them peace of mind knowing all of their equipment is functional and compliant with relevant safety standards.

Whether you have a single fire hose reel and a couple of fire sprinklers or dozens of fire alarms, fire pumps and smoke detectors, our team of highly qualified and knowledgeable fire technicians will ensure all of you fire equipment is up to scratch, and if it’s not, we can organise replacements, upgrades or ongoing maintenance.

Penalties are severe for businesses who fail to comply with fire safety regulations, not to mention the potential risk business’s put customers, employees and contractors at by not properly maintaining their fire equipment.

As fire protection specialists, our team have experience working with thousands of businesses across multiple industries, all of which have different safety standards and requirements. This means we have the knowledge and skills to make sure you’re compliant with all relevant standards and procedures.

When it comes to ensuring your businesses is compliant with Essential Safety Measures you need to take into account everything from emergency lighting and signage, to alarms, equipment and fire-related building materials. This is a lot to consider – which is why it substantially benefits businesses to enlist the help of the protection experts at Jetfire to carry this out for them.

Proper fire equipment and fire equipment maintenance and servicing is essential to ensure buildings are safe in the event of an emergency. Contact the team at Jetfire, we provide a range of fire equipment services for Melbourne businesses.

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Jetfire acquires DMR fire protection


Oct 1, 2018

Jetfire is thrilled to announce the acquisition of DMR Fire Protection. Based in Mulgrave, DMR Fire Protection has been trading for more than 25 years, with nearly 3000 sites to maintain across Metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. The acquisition of DMR Fire Protection provides the newly consolidated business more than 25 specialist fire technicians, covering more of Melbourne in a shorter time frame, whilst delivering more integrated one-stop Fire Protection Services to its expanded client base.

Jetfire was purchased by the current owners in 2015 and the last three years has been specifically dedicated to re-building each part of the business with a clear goal to adhere to the following principles:

  • Purpose – “To guarantee the fire prevention systems under our control are always ready for emergency use”.
  • Cause – “To provide peace of mind to building managers, their owners and inhabitants”.
  • Core Competency – “Our ability to respond quickly to varying customer demands”.
  • Values – “Customer Focussed – Technically Competent – Commercially Driven”.
  • Brand Promise – “Remove the need for our clients to worry about fire prevention”.

With recent fire incidents at the Lacrosse building in Melbourne and the Grenfell Tower in London, the Fire Protection Association Australia (FPAA) is pushing for tighter regulations and adherence to compliance standards AS 1851 and others.

Under these standards, fire testing, maintenance and service providers must provide detailed and compliant documentation to Body Corporates, Building Managers and Owners Corporations to ensure compliance with essential service requirements as set out under the building code.

In addition to Australian Standards, fire testing, maintenance and service providers must also comply with essential services regulations set by the Victoria Building Authority (VBA) Building Regulations, Energy Safe Victoria, WorkSafe Victoria, the FPAA, plumbing industry and more.

The recent changes in legislation have put added pressure on fire testing, maintenance and service providers, requiring a higher level of servicing that requires upskilling, certification and training of people and updating technologies that some providers may have difficulty adhering to.

The DMR Fire Protection acquisition is a perfect fit for our existing business, providing the right mix of technically competent staff, reducing the need for our clients to use multiple contractors. With a larger team of technicians and access to additional technologies, Melbourne Fire & Maintenance has the capabilities to service a wider range of residential and commercial sites around Melbourne, including:

  • factories, workshops and warehouses
  • high-density residential and commercial towers
  • shopping centres, hotels and retail hubs
  • aged care facilities, clinics and medical studios.

This acquisition helps us better service Body Corporates, Building Managers and Owners Corporations, ensuring they have maximum peace of mind in their essential services being safe and compliant.

Please contact Jetfire for more information about the merge or to find out more about our services.

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Melbourne Fire and Maintenance attends fundraiser for young diggers


Nov 1, 2017

The team at Melbourne Fire and Maintenance was proud to be involved in the ‘Bowties and Tiaras’ function held by the Body Corporate Strata Group to raise money for the Young Diggers.

Congratulations to the Body Corporate Strata Group for putting on a fantastic evening including door prizes, raffles, silent auctions and hearing from special guest speakers, as well as top-quality food and entertainment.

Two of our directors and six staff attended the event on Saturday 21st October, which we are thrilled to announce raised more than $26 000 – all of which will be donated directly to the Young Diggers.

The Young Diggers runs rehabilitation programs providing support for ex-serving military personnel and their families. The money raised through this fundraiser will help provide specialist training for a post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) companion and assistance dog, to help improve quality of life for returned soldiers living with PTSD and other mental illnesses.

Melbourne Fire and Maintenance is pleased to support important community initiatives. Please contact us for more information.

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Evacuation plans & Melbourne fire protection maintenance services


Sep 20, 2017

As part of our Melbourne fire protection maintenance services, our team can ensure your evacuation plans comply with all relevant laws, standards and regulations – protecting your property and your people.

In light of recent disasters like the Greenfell Tower fire in London, it’s vitally important to have the right fire evacuation procedures in place. It is a responsibility of the building owner to ensure everyone from tenants to employers and visitors all have clear access to vital safety evacuation information in the event of an emergency.

Under Australian Standard AS 3745-2010, Planning for emergencies in facilities, there is an increased emphasis on providing emergency and evacuation information and detailed diagrams and signage as part of the evacuation plan and compliance for all buildings.

The Standard further highlights the importance of having evacuation plans displayed where all occupants and visitors can see them – as well as having the right people trained and aware of what the specific procedures are for each building.

Our fire protection maintenance services help identify and correctly detail the key aspects of your evacuation plan, including:

  • emergency paths and the shortest way to egress
  • exit and emergency lighting
  • exit doors and smoke doors
  • fire fighting equipment, including fire hydrants, hoses and fire pumps.

At Jetfire, we can provide site specific evacuation diagrams, oriented and installed in compliance with AS 3745-2010, Planning for emergencies in facilities, as well as complying with the Building Code of Australia. Important aspects of an emergency plan that are often overlooked include, evacuation training for occupants and how to assist occupants with a disability.

No matter your industry, we can supply and install perspex, laminate and aluminium evacuation plans.

Please contact Jetfire to conduct an audit and deliver evacuation plans in line with all legal requirements.

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