A strata manager is one of the most important people in ensuring the safety and compliance of passive fire protection. One of the most important parts of this fire safety infrastructure is fire doors which helps to contain the spread of flames throughout a building.
Body corporate managers have a lot of responsibilities, one of the most important being the continued fire safety of the buildings that they manage.
According to Part 12 of The Building Act 1993 & Building Regulations 2006 requires that owners of all buildings have a responsibility of ensuring the safety equipment, safety fittings and safety measures (known as “essential safety measures”) are maintained in a state that enables them to fulfil their purpose.
Failure to meet and maintain the correct Australian standards can result in significant fines and legal ramifications, so strata managers should be on top of their building’s fire safety infrastructure at all times.
Here are some of the things that strata managers should know about fire doors.
Fire doors are a system of passive fire protection. While not extinguishing a fire, they provide protection to residents by stopping the spread of fire to other parts of a building. This is a process of compartmentalisation. Compartments within a building are divided to contain one or multiple rooms that by passive fire protection experts. This design limits not only fire, but the spread of smoke to other rooms and evacuation routes. Having a functional fire rated door is essential to this fire protection system.
Strata managers should be aware of different compartments in their building as well as the location of the associated fire doors and emergency exit procedures.
Annual checks are required to ensure that fire doors remain operational, free of obstruction, and compliant. All elements of the fire door must pass a wide range of checks by an accredited professional. This includes the door, hinges, door frames, locks and latches.
According to the Building Code of Australia, fire doors must be inspected in the following intervals:
Any damage that a door takes, no matter how minor, will affect its performance in the event of a fire emergency. That is why checks from a certified professional are essential.
It is also important that strata management acts to ensure that all residents of a building know not to block fire doors and why this is dangerous.
Strata managers must submit an Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS) for all new and altered buildings every year. This must be approved by a certified fire safety official.
Failing to submit an Annual Fire Safety Certificate on time can lead to the issue of building notices and eventually the dwelling can be deemed unfit for human occupancy.
The Building Code of Australia requires that correct signage is displayed at all times.
If signs are damaged or missing, they must be replaced immediately as penalties may apply. Residents must also be made aware of the importance of keeping signage maintained as they may also be eligible for penalties that apply.